Where to find TOP Quality BIrds?

THomeStead

Hatching
Jun 8, 2020
2
0
3
We've been raising chickens for over 5 years now, they don't "free range" but are on about 1\2 acre of their own fenced land with over sized coop.

We've had anywhere from 8 to 26 birds at once at varying times, and we've ordered from a couple online hatcheries and purchased local from a couple feed stores (that also order from an online hatchery). Aside from those orders our first batch of birds were from a local breeder.

We monitor our birds closely and pay attention to the flock as a whole. We've noticed in the last year our recent acquisitions are not fully the breed we were told, and their laying tendency is NOTHING like our original 8 we acquired locally. Paying for feed for hens that are mix breeds, and don't lay isn't something we want to do, we need productive egg layers and quality birds.

My question is aside from the huge online hatcheries are there well regarded breeders of SPECIFIC chickens that are "go to" breeders we can buy from that breed to better their stock, etc, vs cranking out as many chicks as they can\sell. Specifically we're looking for white leghorn, brown leghorn and buff orpington's at this time.

As I know I'll likely be asked these questions here's some answers:
- The hens get free access to high quality non-gmo feed.
- The hens can come\go as they want into the goat run which some do, and they pick\scratch at the goat feed for seeds\bugs\etc.
- The hens get quality scratch 2-3 a week
- The hens get (organic) veggie scraps and (organic) garden leftovers almost daily
- The hens get free access to oyster shells
- The hens water is cleaned\filled daily and never runs out
- The hens shelter\coop is more than enough (made to handle 40-50)
- No one has diarrhea or any health issue indicators
- Feathers are shiny and nice looking
- Combs are nice and bright


To summarize:

Who breeds best-in-breed birds that follow the breed standards, and are productive layers as their breed should be.
(IE: I don't expect an americauna breeder to sell hens that lay like a leghorn)
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,990
37,602
1,096
southern Michigan
If you really want SQ birds, check with the breed clubs for breeder lists, and talk to them. Handsome looks and great egg production aren't the same thing, and so it depends on what the breeder actually considers important and selects for.
Hatcheries are interested in egg production primarily, because producing more chicks is most important to them. In flock mating without trap nesting, the hens who produce the most eggs will produce the most chicks!
Mary
 
Feb 4, 2020
237
314
83
Indiana
I would check out poultryshowcentral.com All you would need to do is look up the specific breed that you are looking for and a list of breeders comes up. I've gotten in touch with breeders through this website twice before and they were both breeding to the sop. I was pleased with the birds I purchased. When contacting them, I would let them know exactly what you are looking for. If they don't have it, they may be able to steer you in the right direction. That has also happened to me before. If one breeder doesn't have what you are looking for, they may be able to suggest other breeders who do. Good luck with your search :thumbsup
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,990
37,602
1,096
southern Michigan
Also, the very best breeding stock will not produce mostly top quality SQ offspring! There will be a range in any hatch, and many experts recommend buying a trio of good mature birds from a mentor if SQ is your goal.
I've never done it, being satisfied enough with hatchery birds, and having no plans to show.
Mary
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,056
17,435
817
Western Ohio
Good to great egg layers are easy to find.

show quality are less easy to find, andoften egg laying isn’t bred as a must-have trait.

So, if you intend to show birds in APA shows, that is a specific goal and you’d do your search with that in mind.

if you just want a good looking bird of a certain breed that lays well, then you can really buy from the big hatcheries just fine: you’ll get the breed/not a mix and you’ll get good egg production. You will get variability in the looks to some degree, for example all combs won’t look SOP perfect, there will be varying overall size of bird within a breed, any lacing will likely be quite variable as that is a difficult trait to get uniform and picture perfect. Etc.

You can see if there are local hatcheries near you. We googled on maps and found a long standing, but smaller hatchery with a very basic website that we buy most of our birds from. However, we have 2 larger hatcheries also within driving distance, and have purchased from one of them.
 

THomeStead

Hatching
Jun 8, 2020
2
0
3
I'm not sure why anyone thinks I want show birds, or birds that are not for laying when that's what I specifically asked for. If you re-read my post it says "productive layers" as their breed should be, and I clarify that if it wasn't already clear enough. Also pointing out I want purebred, QUALITY birds.

I didn't think there could have been any confusion in my post, but clearly there was.

I'm sorry that I don't want a RiR with white feathers, or a leghorn with a few australorp feathers.
To me, no those are not pure-bred top quality egg layers, they're mixed breed, no matter if its 1% mixed or not.

I never said I wanted Show Quality chickens. I want purebred, quality chickens that lay like they're supposed too.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,056
17,435
817
Western Ohio
I'm not sure why anyone thinks I want show birds, or birds that are not for laying when that's what I specifically asked for. If you re-read my post it says "productive layers" as their breed should be, and I clarify that if it wasn't already clear enough. Also pointing out I want purebred, QUALITY birds.

I didn't think there could have been any confusion in my post, but clearly there was.

I'm sorry that I don't want a RiR with white feathers, or a leghorn with a few australorp feathers.
To me, no those are not pure-bred top quality egg layers, they're mixed breed, no matter if its 1% mixed or not.

I never said I wanted Show Quality chickens. I want purebred, quality chickens that lay like they're supposed too.

you mentioned “breeders”, which are often associated with show birds or exhibition birds. Too bad you felt the need to reprimand posters on here that took the time to try to answer your questions. You did, after all, post in a public forum, so allowed yourself to be subjected to the wide variety of perceptions inherent in a public forum.
 

JacinLarkwell

Free Ranging
Mar 19, 2020
11,503
20,510
681
South-Eastern Montana
To summarize:

Who breeds best-in-breed birds that follow the breed standards, and are productive layers as their breed should be.
(IE: I don't expect an americauna breeder to sell hens that lay like a leghorn)

This is pretty much saying you want show breeders. They are either productive layers or best in breed. Rarely both and rarely for anything affordable for a while flock
 

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