Regarding hatchery stock


11 Years
Dec 11, 2008
I personally prefer to get my chicks/eggs from breeders; however, this is becoming difficult with certain breeds that are more rare. My question is if I were to order 50-100 chicks from a hatchery, would my chances of getting some birds that would be high enough quality to begin breeding be worth doing so? I have been trying to get hatching eggs from breeders and all of a sudden the eggs have come in nearly scrambled. I have had really good hatch rates in the past, even with shipped eggs so I do not believe that is the problem. I candle the eggs before putting them in the incubator and recently all eggs coming in have air bubbles in the egg and the air cell is either completely broken up or at least not attached to the egg. It has also been hard finding breeders willing to sell chicks. I am also looking to smaller hatcheries not the mega hatcheries.
Good question. Any my answer is I would consider the hatchery. McMurray sold me some cuckoo Marans (5), the eggs were large, but by no means dark brown, infact the brown is about the color of any other brown egg..light brown. I have gotten some D'Uccles from them and everything I have read and all the pictures I have seen this bird looks true to the breed. I even had a friend come here that had judged chickens and said they were of good quality..same with my Partridge there you have it. once you got the eggs shipped, did you allow them to sit for a couple of days before incubating them?
I'm looking for Delawares and Buckeyes.

I do let the eggs set for at least 8 hours. I usually pick them up in the morning aroun 7 AM then set them between 7 and 9 PM that evening. This used to never be a problem.
Here's my opinion on getting started in a particular breed if you want good quality and want to breed to a standard and have a successful breeding program. Buy the best STOCK birds you can. Even with eggs from proven show birds, there's no guarantee that those chicks hatched will be as good or better than their parents, which is the goal when breeding for show birds from show birds. With eggs, you've got all that time invested in raising those birds to adulthood to see if they are going to be good enough. By buying 50-100 chicks from a hatchery, spending the time to raise them, cull them and then it's a gamble on what you come up with after it's all said and done, that IMHO is even riskier. I would expect you'd have 4-5 times the money into this gamble rather than going out and buying a good pair or trio of the breed you are interested in. When you say "good enough" to start a breeding program from, that to me still implies several generations of breeding and culling out faults, if it can be done with what you've managed to start with from that group of 50-100 chicks. I started with one breed in the making back in 2003. I started with cull birds, not hatching eggs and it was still a long road to travel. If I had to do it again, I would probably go with the proven show stock. I would highly advise getting the best birds your money can buy instead of having to go with hatching eggs or someone else's discards. I reached where I wanted to be within a few years, but it was still a longer process and a more expensive venture than the alternative road would have offered me.
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this is what i'm doing right now; i'm ordering quite a few birds from a hatchery and breeding the best quality together and if it lacks something and another bird doesn't then i breed the bird that doesnt lack that particular thing and then i just keep going and going and going until i have a quality bird. And the reason that i dont like to buy form a breeder is that i can have the satisfaction of doing it my self. Plus a breeder has to start somewhere, if they started with quality birds then they would have no reason to breed them.
Good Luck,
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Maybe Cyn (speckledhen) will see this thread and respond. I know her experience with hatchery Delawares was horrible. Not ony did they not meet the SOP criteria, they were mean and aggressive, as well. An excellent breeder talked her into trying out her Delawares, and Cyn saw and experienced the major difference. I would never buy Delawares from a hatchery (or Buckeyes).
I would go with eggs or started stock from a breeder over chicks from a hatchery any day. For the amount of feed and time you will have invested in that many birds from a hatchery you could buy a nice trio of started birds from a breeder. Honestly the odds of getting any birds worth breeding from hatchery stock are next to nothing.

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