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Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by johndeere36, Dec 22, 2016.
Are the hatcheries that sell show quality chicks
Hatcheries sell basic quality chickens. If you want show quality, then you seek out such breeders. They are not the high volume hatcheries. If you get good enough at breeding, you can become such a select breeder, provided that you know the Standards Of Perfection for particular breed. Visiting chicken shows is one way to get you in contact with such breeders.
WISHING YOU BEST....
Actually, there truly is no such thing as a "show quality chick". Even two parents who are absolute perfection do not always produce chicks that grow up to be the same quality as they are.
But, I do know what you're asking. Pretty much, you can forget all the major hatcheries for anything of breeder quality. Sandhill Preservation is a hatchery that I'd say is better than average at producing decent quality birds, but then, they have quite a waiting list. What the best thing to do is would be get chicks or hatching eggs from a breeder of truly good stock, not a propagator of hatchery stock. You'd then grow them out and, after learning about the Standard of Perfection for your breed, what to look for, you choose from what you get that matches the Standard as close as possible. Breeders themselves hatch out hundreds of chicks to choose just a few for breeders and cull the rest. Hope this helps. I'm not sure what your goals are.
In the past, I've had birds from Ideal, McMurray and Mt. Healthy. None were to standard, none anywhere near breeder quality. I have no more hatchery stock other than one lone bantam Cochin rooster. He has side sprigs on his comb, though he does have really nice foot feathering.
But you have a higher chance at show quality chickens if they come from show quality stock.
But, breeder quality stock is not always show quality. It depends on a lot of factors. Breeder quality birds will most likely produce better stock, yes, but no one can truly say a bird is "show" quality unless it's been shown. And, not to get too involved, if you have a breed where you need two lines to get properly colored males and females, the breeder stock birds may not be show quality themselves yet have the right traits to produce fine chicks. A case in point would be the Delaware where the sexes are colored differently-certain types of males produce better pullets and a certain type of hen will produce a better male, but neither parent may be truly show quality, though they are breeder quality.
But, I understand what you're saying. It's just that the folks who say they are selling "show quality chicks" are full of chicken poop. They cannot know that. I have a Barred Plymouth Rock hen from a rare heritage line who is impressive; well, she and her sisters all are. BUT, most of her daughters with the current breeding male are not up to size, not what you'd expect from a tank of a hen like she is. So, though she herself is awesome, her sister produces better daughters. I'd have to hatch more than fifty chicks to choose maybe five or six spectacular birds (after they all grow out and develop, that is).
Of course, not all hatcheries are equal. The big ones are not going to give you the quality the original poster is looking for. Some of the smaller ones where the birds are more expensive may be better options, like Sand Hill Preservation. But, private breeders who have high standards would be the better option if you want true quality birds.
Yes that is true. Private breeders will probably have way better standards than hatcheries. I do have a few beautiful birds I just don't want to inbreed them you know what I mean? I'm trying to get stock from at least three different places that way I can keep changing them out and not inbreed them I think it makes for an inferior chicken.
Actually, some of the best birds in the country are line bred, father to granddaughter, etc. But, one must know how to do it well and when and if new blood is needed. I have been doing a form of line breeding myself here in my Stukel line of Barred Plymouth Rocks, though I do have plans to cross some of those with one line I acquired this past year from another breeder. My young breeding male from that line is an example. His father is also his half brother, his mother is his grandmother. He is fabulous and an improvement on his father in several areas. Actually, I think that Marvin Stukel, who produces what I feel are the very best Barred Rocks in the country, line breeds, but don't quote me on that. The term "50 year pure line" is tossed around in reference to his birds. That sounds like line breeding to me.
As far as hatcheries go, I've had chickens from three hatcheries. Not one was what I'd call "quality". Not to mention, almost all the hens died of reproductive malfunctions. In wanting to avoid that, I quit buying hatchery stock, period. Now, I have 8-10 year old hens, some of those who still lay. Only one or two hens that came from good quality breeder stock ever died from a reproductive malfunction compared to 15 or so hatchery hens. If you want to show, forget hatcheries. If you want hens to live a long, long life, forget hatcheries (yes, some hens are exceptions, but overall, hatcheries are not where you want to get birds for longevity). If you just want layers, hatcheries are fine. Even birds who are not to standard can be nice to look at.
Thank you very much! You're so knowledgeable!
You're welcome, but just experience is all that is. Anyone can get that, right? Just takes awhile, with some sadness and frustration along the way. I used to say my hatchery hens were hatched with "kill switches" that started getting them just after they turned 2-3 years old. And in consulting someone I knew with a PhD in poultry science about all the internal laying and egg yolk peritonitis that was killing my hens, his main suggestion was to get better stock from a different source, i.e., not a hatchery. That sure did help. Even the hens who were daughters of hatchery hens lived longer, healthier lives just being one generation removed from their mothers/fathers and having been managed so as to boost their overall health and immune systems (which still won't overcome terrible genetics). One died in November at almost 10 yrs old. Her same age sister is crippled from arthritis, but my DH just brought in an egg from her, the second one this month. She's produced 11 eggs since the first part of November when her sister passed away. Of course, neither is/was show quality, coming from McMurray hatchery parents, but good hens nonetheless.
So, if you want to show, that's entirely different than just wanting hens to live a long life. Me, I do not show, though I do have a few that I would consider show quality in several breeds, that could have won at an APA-sanctioned show, all from good breeders (which is different than a propagator of hatchery birds). But, showing is not my focus. Simply having birds with potential to live a healthy life and ones that are reasonably nice examples of the breed they represent is what I want. I like eye candy as much as the next person.
ETA: A few years ago, I decided to give another hatchery a chance and got a couple each Buff Orpingtons and New Hampshires from a shipment from Mt. Healthy hatchery in Ohio. Mistake. None were good examples of the breed, but the Orps were positively skinny. I sold mine. The ones my friend took back to KY with her, one died of some internal issue, can't recall what happened with the other, but that is one of the slightly smaller hatcheries, not like Ideal or McMurray. That cemented my resolve to stay away from them. I have one bantam Cochin rooster who comes from Ideal, bought as a companion to a single hatchling. He has nice foot feathering, however, he has a side sprig on each side of his comb at the back. He's with large fowl hens because he's just too cute and a fixture around here now, but he is not breeding material because of that genetic comb flaw.