Hatching vs purchasing chicks

Hey y’all.
I’m new to chickens, though my husband is not. He has incubated eggs as a child, as well as raising chickens. This will be a family activity, but primarily my “project”

I’m looking for opinions on hatching vs buying chicks. To get the breeds I’m really looking for, odds are I’ll have to order online. I’d love to incubate/hatch primarily for the kids to experience it. (They are 13 and a very well behaved 6) Any advice? I’m completely on woth you telling me I’m nuts for starting off with hatching and I should get chicks instead. :) But if I do hatch I have these questions:

Anyone have recommendations for where to order the eggs?
Taking into consideration the survival rate and the fact that I really don’t want roosters, how many of each breed (I want 2 different breeds) should I order if I’m aiming towards 3 females of each breed? (I’m flexible on that though)

I’m open to any other advice, and I’ll be pouring through the thread to see what I find


Oh, and I’m in SC if that makes a difference


Feb 25, 2017
New Market, VA
Day-old chicks have 100% odds of hatching versus eggs. :) For higher quality birds that are acclimated to your local climate, have you checked to see if any nearby NPIP breeders have some of the breeds you want? It can be fun to visit the farm and see the adult chickens (although for biosecurity reasons, you may not be able to see some of them).


6 Years
Aug 6, 2013
Las Vegas, NV
I hatch what I want. I did the hatchery route ONE time. Not happy with the birds I received. I ended up giving them away. When you hatch you get to talk to the breeder see how their birds are, see if the lines are what you want. Chicks hatched are calmer most of the time maybe because you talk to them while their incubating. You learn ALOT when you hatch. Yes it's a risk but when they hatch, your reward is greater. You can always cull the roo babies. Buy from a breeder whose birds you can sex when the chicks feather out or have dots on the head.


Jul 1, 2018
My Coop
My Coop
Both ways run the risk of addiction! So why nit do both?!?! Order from a hatchery so you can get the breeds and the gender you want, or atleast have way better odds. Then why not find a locale farmer and buy some fertilized eggs to hatch. It sure is something else watching your baby chicks develops and then eventually coming into the world. My first time i had no sleep the first night. Had to check the incubator ever 30 minutes. I felt like a parent waiting for their first child


Nov 12, 2017
Western Ohio
If you and kids want a doable project, build an incubator. Many resources..of course may be a learning curve. I built one to hatch quail eggs and got a very respectable hatch rate!

Eggs should be available locally. NPIP website can be searched by state, so you can find someone within driving distance. The NPIP site uses stock codes for breeds. These stock codes are on their website.

Hatchery chicks may still result in a random male ... so you can buy started pullets close to POL, but would miss the chick phase.

Unwanted males: butcher or give away/sell. We found a livestock auction near us and sold our unwanted males for cash. We just googled “livestock auction near me”.


7 Years
Apr 9, 2012
I think hatching would be amazing for the kids to watch!

Check facebook for local places to buy eggs. My area has several active hobby farmers and chicken pages that always have lots of breeds available from local breeders. These groups are also going to be extremely helpful when you have to rehome the roosters.
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