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Question about heritage/pure chickens

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by sommrluv, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

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    Is there such a thing as a Hatchery that sells true heritage or purebred chickens that meet the standards? I'm concerned about someone selling...
     

  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

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    Occasionally, someone will receive a chick that is show quality. It's very rare and can't be pinned down to one breed or one hatchery.

    I suspect what happens is this:

    There was a note at one time from someone whose father sold hatching eggs to one of the big names. The OP raised the same breed of chicken, but in exhibition quality. Every now and again, he would have excess eggs and send them off with his father's shipment to the hatchery.

    So occasionally, someone who ordered that breed from a hatchery would receive an exhibition quality chick. Then they would come around bragging about how hatchery chicks could win big at the shows.

    But no. If you want exhibition quality, you will save money in the long run by simply starting out with exhibition quality from a breeder who breeds from show stock and breeds to the SOP.

    A person who buys chicks from a hatchery and breeds them and sells them is only technically a breeder. That is not what we are talking about when we advise to purchase stock from a breeder. We mean a serious hobby breeder who breeds to the SOP.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    I don't know what you mean by true heritage or purebred chickens? There have been threads on here where different people would give their ideas on what they mean, but it seems that there are a whole lot of different interpretations.

    Some people would have you belive that all hatcheries are identical. They are not. They are managed by different people with different expertise with different goals, other than just to make a profit, of course. I'd consider profit a common goal. Some hatcheries have their own flocks and select their own breeders, some rely on outside contractors to provide hatching eggs, and some drop ship, which means they get their chicks from different hatcheries instead of hatching their own.

    In general, the hatcheries use the pen breeding method, which is a way to mass produce chicks and keep the genetic diversity up. Think of this as a pen with 20 roosters and 200 hens randomly mating. You have no control over which specific rooster mates with which specific hen, so you don't have as much conformity in the chicks. When you understand that breeders of show birds that very carefully mate a specific rooster with a specific hen still get a whole lot of chicks that don't meet the Standards of Perfection, you can see that a pen breeding situaton has very little chance of producing chicks that will meet those standards. I don't know of any hatchery that even comes close to to regularly producing birds that meet the Standards of Perfection. Some are better than others, but the pen breeding method is going to make sure you don't get many that will not have some disqualification. Their prices also reflect that they are breeding for the mass market, not show quality chickens. Sort of like getting a pup from a pet store versus getting one from a championship breeder.

    Each flock that has been inbred becomes its own strain. The skill and goals of the person selecting the birds will determine the traits in those birds. I recently read an article where someone had split a flock of purebred birds. From one of these flocks, he started selecting the large birds as breeders. In the other flock, he selected the smaller birds. I don't know how many generations it took, but he would up with two purebred flocks with the same ancestors where one flock member averaged weighing 9 times as much as the birds in other flock.

    I can tell a clear difference in the Speckled Sussex from Cackle and Meyer. They have different people selecting the breeders and there is a clear difference in the results. But I have not gotten any from either that I would take to a show.

    Some breeders are only looking to win a grand champion ribbon. They breed strictly for the traits that you see in a show. Others do that but also breed for the traits or characteristics that to me make the breed "heritage". These include things that are not judged like egg shell color, rate of laying, rate of growth for a meat type bird, things like that.

    You really need to know what you want. What traits or characteristics are you after? If you want a chicken that is eye candy, looks pretty much what the breed is supposed to look like but has some flaws, will lay well for the breed, or is a good pet, then the cheaper hatchery chickens may very well suit your purposes. If you want a show chicken, then you need to find someone breeding for show chickens. If you want a chicken that could be for show but also has certain "non-show" traits or characteristics, then you need to find a breeder that is breeding for those characteristics. The key is to know what you want first, then the challenge is finding someone that produces that.

    I'm not sure if this answers your question or not, but I'll get off my soap box.
     
  4. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

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    No, those are both very great useful answers. I appreciate it!

    I'm trying to be cautious because I don't want to offend the seller if they happen to be here and reading.

    But from my (extremely extremely limited knowledge) of show chickens, it's that commercial hatcheries are not producers of 'pure bred' chickens to a breed standard, and often do not carry 'true' heritage breeds...i.e. it's something crossed with something else to look like a heritage.

    That if you want a pure chicken with good conformation to the breed standard, you need to go to a reliable private breeder. That was basically what I've been told/read.

    I'm interested in some chickens someone has, and I get the impression they are valuing them at a particular price because they believe they are high quality blood lines and rare breeds. But from pictures and their own description, they got them from a hatchery. But supposedly a 'very exclusive' hatchery that does not use commercial lines.

    But of course they didn't disclose the name.
     
  5. In general, I wouldn't count on it. I got some very nice Sicilian Buttercups from Mcmurray's last summer, though. Maybe not SQ but close to it.
     
  6. Goose and Fig

    Goose and Fig Grateful Geese

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    Your best bet- if you are going to buy- is look into Sandhill Preservation, or get a breeder of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's list.
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Mt Healthy hatchery has a lot of fans. They claim on their website and on the phone that some of their strains are very old, dating back to the 1930's. Testimonial offerings have been made by some folks here on BYC supporting that.

    With a hatchery, it is a bit of roll of the dice. Some of the hatchery birds shown here on BYC are fairly remarkable in their beauty and conformation while others are rather poor examples of breed. With a breeder, you'd be able to see the parent stock (at least in photos) and make your own judgement.
     

  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

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    There is an exception. If you buy top show quality from Holderead, you will get very nice birds that you can show and win with. However, I don't really consider Holderread a hatchery. More of a show breeder with a strong Internet presence.

    Greenfire is probably considered a hatchery, but they sell really expensive imported birds.

    Sandhill Preserrvation makes no claim at all of selling show stock or birds that comply with the SOP. Not where I would start if I wanted exhibition quality.
     
  9. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

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    I think this is just a lay-person that got too many chickens and they are trying to re-coup their cost.

    My suspicion is that they came from McMurray all the descriptions are word for word from the website. They just are asking quite a bit..in some cases $30 a bird, for really just a pretty egg-layer.

    I have a feeling it's not going to be worth my time to push the issue that what they have are not rare breed birds. [​IMG]

    Thank you so much for all of the replies.
     
  10. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

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    Urch-Turnland has show quality birds. He is a "hatchery" but breeds toward the standard.
     

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