Hatching vs. buying live chicks

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by marcym, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. marcym

    marcym Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2009
    Husband and I are debating the pros and cons of hatching vs. buying live chicks for spring. So far, we've come up with the following short list. Please add your ideas on the subject. I want to make an informed decision before purchasing an incubator or placing a chick order. We currently have 25 birds, a mixture of BO's, BR's, Red Stars, Wyondettes and a couple of EE's. At this point, eggs are used by us or given to family and neighbors. Extra roo's have gone to freezer camp at the cost of $2.50 a bird.

    Hatching eggs: Pro
    The joy of watching the entire process
    Possibly using your own eggs, thus eliminating the cost factor
    You can hatch full blood breeds if purchased, as opposed to crosses I would get from penning birds together
    Can keep a closed flock by using your own eggs

    Hatching eggs: Con
    21 days of worrying
    Fertile eggs can cost as much as a live chick
    50/50 chance of male/female

    Buying chicks: Pro
    Can purchase them sexed
    Most have a guarantee of some type

    Buying chicks: Con
    Shipping charges
    Introducing new strain/disease to your flock

    Thoughts? Ideas?
  2. k2chickens

    k2chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    New Castle, Indiana
    there is one big thing with me when i thought about this same thing...quality, quality, quailty! There is NOTHING like watching your first hatch as well. With the quality thing, it just makes me me feel good when i know that im spending my money on feed and other things to make sure my birds are comfortable when i know my birds are good quality. Who want's to poor their money into bad quality birds? I know i don't. There is a reason why people call buying live chicks from a hatchery..."hatchery quality". Sure you can breed them and hatch your own babies...but your babies will be no better quality then what you got. Now if your only after eggs and just enjoying your pet's then there is no problem with buying live chicks. But to me tho, there's nothing like knowing that YOU hatched that baby, and the bond that comes after that while you watch your birds grow is something i think you cant experience if you buy live chicks. It's all up to you and what your future plans are for your birds.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2010
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    One of the cons (as I see it) of hatching - and keep in mind this is from someone who has never done it, so that take it for what its worth - is that if you spend any time at all on the Incubating and Hatching Eggs forum, you'll see a ton of posts from people for whom something went wrong and most, if not all, of the eggs just did not hatch. Worse, in some cases is where one solitary chick hatches, and they then have to deal with raising an only chick. As long as everything works fine, I think it would be a great experience, but there seem to be so many things that can go wrong - temp, humidity, power outages, etc etc., so I'm not game to try it.

    The other problem with hatching is that even if it is a "closed flock", you will still have to integrate the chicks to the main flock at some point and will have all of the same integration issues with hatched chicks as with chicks purchased as day olds.

    Another option to consider, would be waiting until you have a hen go broody and then buy fertile eggs to put under her. You eliminate the need to purchase an incubator or integrate, but retain the option to buy full blood eggs of a breed you have always wanted. Just a thought....
  4. dickies chics

    dickies chics Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2009
    Baldwinville MA
    nothing like seeing your chicks hatch and i've only seen it one time
  5. Ban seabhag

    Ban seabhag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    Glenn HWY Alaska
    Some of the breeds I want to try I need to do my own eggs for. Also, after mailing eggs, I cringe at the thought of mailing poor little peeps that way. That has got to be traumatic. And nothing beats the experience of having your own incubated eggs hatch. It is addicting I am afraid. [​IMG]
  6. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

    Feb 27, 2008
    Elizabethtown, NC
    Quote:Yes, yes, yes! [​IMG]
  7. Eagle2026

    Eagle2026 HIGH FLYER

    Mar 10, 2009
    Snohomish, WA.
    If you hatch your own eggs you know FOR SURE that your getting nice good healthy birds.
    Not all will hatch, but it is a learning curve.
    You must have an incubator at all cost and get eggs later to hatch too.
    Maybe even some chicks, But.....and I STRESS........YOU MUST HAVE THE INCUBATOR!!!
  8. farmin'chick

    farmin'chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    Rocky Mount VA
    It's addicting

    Yep -- that would be either a pro, or a con....If you're looking for a new hobby, you'll have it in hatching chicks! If you can convince yourself to only hatch your own eggs or those you trade for, you'll not have to buy eggs to hatch...and I like having roos in my flock. If you can convince yourself to stop hatching and turn the incubator off at some point in the year, you're doing great. If you can stand to sell your babies as day old chicks, you can soon break even on the cost of your incubator.​
  9. topeka

    topeka Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2008
    Northeast Missouri
    I am in the middle of my first hatch. I did the math for a long time and it seemed simpler to purchase live chicks. Then I decided that I just wanted to see if I could do it! It might be something I could use if things turned south.
  10. americana-chick

    americana-chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    I would go with hatching myself unless you wanted some sort of new breed added to your flock. I know you think a con of hatching eggs is waiting 21 days but when they hatch you know it is all worth while [​IMG]

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