Mail order hatcheries?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chrism, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. chrism

    chrism Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    5
    128
    Jan 17, 2009
    Zone 7A Central Va.
    I would much rather use a local breeder but their understandable necessity to sell straight run and the cost charged by the local boutique breeders are prohibitive.
    There are many mail order operations but what are the few that seem to be most accepted by this community?
    I'm hoping for a hatchery that strikes a good balance between the bottom line and humane treatment of their inventory.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,139
    3,347
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/16/chicken-breeders-hatcheries

    There are some reviews of hatcheries in the stickies at the top of this section. With all the major hatcheries, you will find some good reviews and some bad reviews. If they are hatching 80.000 to 100,000 chicks a week during the season, some things will occasionally go wrong, but by reading those reviews carefully many of the problems were not due to the hatchery. It was either during the shipping phase or with the people that received them not knowing how to handle them. The vast majority of the time the chicks arrive fine.

    The only major hatchery I’d have any problems with is Mt. Healthy. Over the past few years they have had a salmonella problem. They need to go a couple of seasons without a recurrence before I’d trust them.

    Each hatchery is different with different people running different operations. You might go through the reviews and see if you get a good or bad feel for the different hatcheries, but the way I do it is to decide which chicks I want, then price them with several different hatcheries to make sure they can deliver what I want when I want. Then look at price. But equally important is shipping. To break a tie, I look at which ones are closer to me so the chicks don’t have to travel as far. A proper analysis would be looking at shipping routes, not just “as the crow flies” to see which is less likely to stress the chicks. If one is close enough you may be able to drive there and pick up the chicks without shipping them.

    I’m not going to get into the humane treatment issue. They are businesses that have no use for any excess chicks they hatch. They can’t save them and ship them next week. They can’t afford to feed them so they have to dispose of them to stay in business. How they do that does not make anyone happy, including them.
     
  3. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

    801
    49
    141
    Jul 18, 2013
    Hixson, TN
    X2

    I ordered 40 from Welp hatchery and everyone of them arrived safe and sound. It was at the beginning of February and it was below 20 degrees out and they still made it.

    Murray McMurray is a VERY popular one too. (but the most expensive)
    Meyer hatchery is also very popular.
     
  4. SimplyLogan

    SimplyLogan Chillin' With My Peeps

    340
    34
    121
    Jan 12, 2012
    Cajun Country
    It also depends what type you are looking for. Most hatcheries (at least most large scale ones) sell mostly hatchery stock. Breeds that have been crossed for production, or breeds that are not bread for standard. If you want heritage or pure breeds you need to check into what each place is actually selling (usually have to go to small hatcheries or small breeders). For example, I just discovered recently, my RIR are not pure. They tend to cross them with production reds (or similar bird) to make them more productive, however they somewhat keep their appearance. I have only had chickens for three years and I am learning about the breeds. My first chickens I just picked for dual purpose birds, not really with any other intensions than eggs and meat for myself. I didn't mind a barn yard mix. This year I have ordered some Heritage breeds I am excited to get and try breeding some.

    So over all, it really depends what your current goal is. I wanted chickens for food and I sell eggs when I get extras. I'm currently not looking for making money, just making me happy. If I build on that as I learn then yay!

    BYC has lots of people who know where to find what you are looking for.
     
  5. chrism

    chrism Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    5
    128
    Jan 17, 2009
    Zone 7A Central Va.
    Thank you all for the good info.
    I will checkout the reviews.

    I live in Central Va. and am looking for a standard breed, cold hardy, dual purpose brown egg layer.
    Black Australorps and Orpingtons seem to be real popular around here.
    My plan is to start small with a flock of no more than 25 pullet chicks.
    I will free range them on 1 acre of lightly wooded land.
    If we are successful, we will consider broadening out to a local source for fresh eggs and roasters.
     
  6. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

    901
    165
    181
    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I've had good luck with Meyer Hatchery in Ohio and Ideal Hatchery in Texas.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,139
    3,347
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Those two are good choices, but then there are a lot of good choices. That’s part of the problem, there are so many good choices. You hit one of my favorites with the Black Australorp, but a lot of people on here really like their Buff Orps.

    I’m probably going to make your life harder but maybe you’ll enjoy it. You can go through these breed selector tools to determine which breeds might suit you best, then go to Henderson’s Breed Chart to check out certain traits, then go to Feathersite to see what they look like. You can go through all this and still have trouble making up your mind. There are just so many good ones out there.

    Breed Selector Tools
    http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/which-breed-is-right-for-me.aspx
    http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/chick_selector.html
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/316042/new-feature-breed-selection-tool-search-tool

    Henderson’s Breed Chart
    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    Feathersite
    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html#Chickens
     
  8. chrism

    chrism Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    5
    128
    Jan 17, 2009
    Zone 7A Central Va.
    Thank you!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by