Help! How do I decide where to buy from?

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by LilyandSparrow, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. LilyandSparrow

    LilyandSparrow Out Of The Brooder

    51
    4
    23
    Jun 29, 2016
    Centralia, WA
    Hi!

    I am brand new to all things chickens and have been spending hours researching breeds and coops and hatcheries. Our coop is almost finished (hooray!!) and I have almost everything for a brooder, I think. So, I've been trying to figure out who to order chicks from.

    We live in Western Washington in a rural community. I have two girls, ages 6 and 9, so I have narrowed down egg laying breeds that are friendly. At this point, we are planning of having chickens for eggs & enjoyment, but not planning on showing them. However, I won't rule that out as something girls may gain interest in after a bit. I understand from reading lots of threads here at BYC that hatcheries aren't ideal, but I don't know how to go about finding breeders that are trustworthy and local. I feel like it may be easier to get birds from a reputable hatchery so I have a better chance of getting disease free birds.

    I'd love to buy from someone/somewhere that treats their stock well, where the birds are heritage bred and have not been artificially inseminated. I'd love to buy from somewhere that has a little higher quality birds. I can't afford Greenfire farm's prices, but I don't mind spending a little more than standard hatchery prices to get a better quality. If one of the bigger hatcheries fits this description, I'd be interested in buying from them.

    I haven't decided yet if I'd like a flock of all one breed or an assortment. The breeds I am most interested in are:

    Speckled Sussex
    Silver Laced Wyandotte
    Barred Plymouth Rock
    Brahma
    Buff Orpington.

    If you have any input, I would be so grateful if you'd share with me!
    Thank you!!!
     
  2. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

    5,362
    364
    263
    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    There is an organization that is called the Heritage Breeds Concervancy or something like that. If you Google it you will get the correct name. They keep a breeder list i think. Good luck.
     
  3. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    533
    193
    156
    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I have a one-breed flock, because that works best for me considering my priorities. You might want a mixed flock since you're interested in layers and have no plans to breed or show. I realize that you might decide to breed and/or show in future, but honestly, if you're new to chickens, that's a ways off. I'd cut my teeth on a mixed bag. I also don't see a problem getting chicks from a hatchery. It doesn't fit my plan, but you have different priorities, so don't ignore that avenue.

    Can you have roosters? and if you end up with more roosters than you can handle, do you have a plan for the extras? Folks have decent success getting sexed chicks, but nothing is guaranteed. If you must have hens only, consider getting started pullets. You'll miss the cute, fuzzy phase, but at least you'll be reasonably sure you have only hens and you'll start getting eggs sooner. It can be heartbreaking to raise chicks and your kids get invested in them, only to find out their favorite one is a rooster and it has to go. You don't have to get started pullets; it's just something to think about.

    Without knowing anything more about your situation, I'd say look for a local breeder. Ask at your local feed store. They know who in the area breeds chickens. If you don't have luck locally, check into getting some hatchery chicks. It's not all gloom and doom. There are some very well-run hatcheries. It's summer. I don't know who is shipping chicks this time of year, but a little investigating will give you that info.
     
  4. LilyandSparrow

    LilyandSparrow Out Of The Brooder

    51
    4
    23
    Jun 29, 2016
    Centralia, WA
    Yes! You are right, I have gone through the list, but am having trouble finding somewhere close me. I may have to reach out and see if some of them ship.
     
  5. LilyandSparrow

    LilyandSparrow Out Of The Brooder

    51
    4
    23
    Jun 29, 2016
    Centralia, WA
    Thank you, that's helpful to know that having a mixed bag as you put it, is an okay way to start in with chickens. My littlest just requested having a "rainbow" of egg colors ;)

    We can have roosters, but I don't know that we will want to keep them. We do live in an area that has a LOT of chickens, so I think that we would be able to rehome roosters if we needed to, although I'm hoping not to have to do that with too many. Can you recommend hatcheries that are better run? I've found a few that are shipping, so if I can't find a local breeder we may go that route.

    Appreciate you taking the time share your advice!
     
  6. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

    5,362
    364
    263
    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    If you locate the local co-op or feed store they might have some chicks although it is late in the season. Sexed birds will cost more but generally they guarantee girls. Coop and feed stores might also know local breeders as well.
     
  7. LilyandSparrow

    LilyandSparrow Out Of The Brooder

    51
    4
    23
    Jun 29, 2016
    Centralia, WA
    Thank you :) Our local feed store got their last round of chickens in about 3 weeks ago. I was able to find a local poultry swap page on Facebook way too late last night, and found out when the next show is. So, hopefully that will be a good resource!
     
  8. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

    5,362
    364
    263
    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    Poultry swaps can be good but REALLY look at the birds, the conditions they arrive in and the way the seller handles them. You can get good birds there and you can get sick ones if you aren't careful. Don't let anyone "talk you into" a bird. If you are uncomfortable for what ever reason, trust your instincts and walk away. I don't want to scare you off from them but they are definatly a buyer beware situation. Hope you find something good, inexpensive and close. :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. LilyandSparrow

    LilyandSparrow Out Of The Brooder

    51
    4
    23
    Jun 29, 2016
    Centralia, WA
    AH! This is why buying from a reputable hatchery for my first poultry purchase feels easier--I'm so new to it all, I am afraid I won't know what to look for or ask about! And, I have a terrible time saying no to people so I could easily get talked into something :\

    I found Papa's Poultry last night; they are located in California so at least if they are shipped, they wouldn't be in transit terribly long. I just need to find out more about them and why their price point is so much higher than other commercial places. If it's because they are more of a breeder and less of a commercial hatchery, then I don't mind paying more for better quality.

    I thought choosing the breeds I wanted was going to be the hard part--I didn't realize how hard it would be (for me!) to pick where to buy them. LOL
     
  10. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

    5,362
    364
    263
    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    I have heard that Papa's is very good and yes they are more along the lines of a breeder and not a mass hatchery from my understanding. I have heard good things about them.

    Choosing is one reason I have a rainbow flock. I just enjoy the differences and variety. We started with 4H Poultry Chain sex-link birds. My daughter wanted them, and then I got hooked. Mostly since then we have hatched eggs from local breeders and I have introduced a new bird or two on occasion.

    Let me see, currently we have:
    2 - 4 year old Salmon Favorelles
    1 - 4 year old Mottled Houdan
    1 - 3 year old Dorking
    1 Black Bantam Cochin
    1 White Phoenix
    3 Phoenix over Cochin mix
    1 Phoenix over Salmon Favorelle mix
    1 Phoenix over Dorking mix
    8 - 8 week old Cochins - 4 Large fowl and 4 Bantam (variety of colors)
    6 - 1 week old Cochins - Lage Fowl variety of colors.

    You too shall learn about "Chicken Math"! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by