Where to find Delawares?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by anob89, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. anob89

    anob89 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 2, 2015
    Where is a good hatchery to buy Delaware chicks? The old breed Delaware chicks from a good breeder. Going to give these a try as a self sustaining meat bird in the spring.
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
  3. lindalouly

    lindalouly Grd Ctrl 2 Major Tom

    I have pure breed fertilized Delaware eggs but I don't hatch... Just eat. Wish you lived near I could give you some to try and hatch.. But I'm not breeding for perfection.
  4. Ifish

    Ifish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2015
    Not sure where you are located, but Whitmore Farm has a decent meat flock. They are in Maryland, just south of the Mason Dixon Line. http://www.whitmorefarm.com/delaware

    Luanne (cpartist on this site) has some nice all around Delawares. She is in Florida, Her website is http://eightacresfarm.weebly.com/delawares.html

    Both will ship chicks.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    In the first half of the 1900’s, Delaware, White Rock, and New Hampshire were the go to meat birds. Hatchery flocks were developed and maintained to enhance their meat qualities. I saw an ad from the 1930’s where a hatchery was bragging that their Delaware could reach 4 pounds at 10 weeks. That was worth bragging about.

    But in the middle of that century the Cornish Cross was developed and replaced the meat breeds. With chickens if you don’t continually selectively breed for certain traits the flock quickly lose those traits. That happened to the Delaware, White Rock, and New Hampshire flocks. The meat bird hatcheries for these flocks couldn’t compete with the Cornish Cross. Different hatcheries we use have different people selecting which birds go into the breeding pens and each has their own criteria for that selection. You can get different quality chicks from the major hatcheries but don’t expect any of them to perform like the old ones did when they were specifically bred to be meat birds. Hatchery Delaware can be raised for meat and many people do, but don’t expect them to perform like the old meaties. But they are mass produced so the price per chick is pretty low.

    I’m not familiar with either of the people in those links. Some people are trying to breed and maintain the meat qualities of the old time meat birds. Many more people are breeding to the SOP for show. That’s not quite the same thing. Part of the meat bird qualities are how fast they put on weight and how efficiently they convert feed to meat. Some show quality aspects are not all that important. Some people breeding for show just concentrate on the qualities the judges will see. They may put more emphasis on eye color than how well the birds convert feed to meat. There are very very few that breed for both. You can find people that just take hatchery chicks, breed them with no knowledge of the SOP or the meat qualities, so you have to take a few precautions.

    With any of the breeders that are breeding according to the SOP or the enhanced meat qualities you can expect the price to be a higher than the major hatcheries. The quality chicks are not mass produced. The work involved in breeding them to achieve and maintain quality is high. Their costs are high. Expect to pay more. But even with the ones bred purely for show, also expect to be a lot more satisfied with the quality you get compared to the general hatchery birds.

    If you are going to be breeding your own, you could be much better off buying good quality birds to start with. But unless you learn some of the techniques to breed and maintain your flock in a few generations you will have lost a lot of that advantage. It’s more than just eating the birds you don’t want to eat and breeding the ones you do want to eat, but that is a start.

    Good luck however you go forward.
  6. varidgerunner

    varidgerunner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2013
    Everybody is looking for the magic bullet, the self sustaining high performance backyard meat bird. Somewhere it is written that the Delaware, among others, was this bird. But the new ones from the hatchery won't work, you have to get the "old timey" lines. To put things in perspective, the "Old Timey" Delawares are not all that old timey. They were made in 1940, fell out of favor in 1960. They were made from crossing two breeds that weren't really all that old themselves. In a lot of these cases, the newly made "breeds" were still riding the hybrid vigor train, being that they were barely stabilized composite breeds. Then someone wrote about them and so it is gospel, until this day.

    I'm not detracting from anyone who has worked hard to build performance traits into birds through the years. I'm just pointing out that hybrid vigor is a powerful thing. The beauty of the Cornish X is not that it is some magical cross. If that were the case, you could cross any hatchery Cornish with any Plymouth Rock and get outstanding meat birds, which doesn't seem to be the case. The secret to their success is that they have two very carefully selected lines, that have been maintained pure for a very long time, with no outcrosses. Their performance is gauged by how they perform as a cross.

    In a backyard set-up, it might work better to focus on a cross that you can make, rather than try to keep one breed that does it all, according to evidence that was documented when that breed was still riding the coat-tails of hybrid vigor itself. Unless of course you want to work with preserving a breed, which will be quite more involved than just raising a few for the freezer.

    With some of the new genetics that breeders have available a click away on the internet, it is possible that someone could come up with a composite breed that could outperform the "old timey" Delawares, or maybe even the most famous of all composite breeds, the pure Cornish itself, born of simple people just randomly crossing a bunch of radically different stuff together.

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