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Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by CityKidChickens, Feb 16, 2016.
Answer the poll. Where is the best place to get baby chicks?
A good breeder is ideal. Breeder birds may cost more and be harder to locate but they are frequently of better health and vigor, and will actually match te appearance the breed in question is supposed to display. Birds obtained from breeders, if classed as dual purpose, will also be a genuine dual purpose with value as a meat bird in addition to a layer. The only real con is that they may lay fewer eggs - a hybridized, cross-bred, "upgraded" hatchery version of one breed might produce another 50 or 100 eggs per year beyond what its heritage, real deal, breeder stock cousin might produce.
The second best option is to order direct from the hatchery. That way you know exactly what you are paying for and 99% of the time, barring the occasional mistake, that's what you will get. It won't be a perfect representative of the breed and indeed might be quite incorrect in terms of plumage color and body type, but it is likely to be a good layer and pet of relatively good vigor.
Feed stores are not all that ideal. They work, but they would never be my first choice. All feed stores - but TSC in particular - are notorious for A. Buying straight run (unsexed) chicks and selling them as sexed pullets, and B. Having no idea what they are actually selling and so mislabeling breeds quite frequently. TSC in particular has a terrible standard of care, although at most feed stores you will see in the bins at least some dead or dying or pasted-up chicks which no employee has the knowledge or time to deal with properly.
Backyard and hobby breeders are iffy. You have no factual or definite information about the breed, sex, age, quality, origins, or health of the birds except what the seller has told you and what is visually obvious. You might get some good birds, but you also might get some real lemons.
We order from McMurray Hatcheries. Not only do they have excellent stock but when I started out and called on more than one occasion, the people there knew what they were talking about, double-checked what they said to make sure I was being correct info and were exceptionally pleasant. You can check them out online (their catalogue is also online).