Where to get NOT hatchery birds.


6 Years
Jun 18, 2013
Denver, CO
I live in Littleton, CO. It doesn't need to be this time of year, spring is fine. Just wondering, how do you guys find a place to get cheap (like 5-10 dollar) pullets of not hatchery quality?

Second question that has little to do with baby chicks, so sorry for going off topic. If I wanted to be able to go to the county fair and show people my chickens and all, would they need to be show chickens of good quality?
your a little farther than i like to ship, but I'm sure you can find someone like me closer to you. i run a small breeder farm, some people call it a hatchery, but its a tad different.

a hatchery raises some of their chickens, and usually contracts out the majority of the eggs they hatch. they are set up to sell you 100 at a time of most breeds. the breeders that work for them will throw in crosses to increase hybrid vigor and make overall healthier chickens, but it really messes with the qualities that we look for in show chickens. most hatcheries wont care if an OEGB has white earlobes, they will breed it anyways. overall Ive ordered from most of the common hatcheries murray mcmurray, mount healthy, cackle, meyers (ohio), eagle's nest, myers (PA i think), and Ideal (i haven't ordered directly but have some that came from them) overall i like eagle's nest but they dont have many breeds. for large fowl, murray mcmurray, and for bantams i have the best luck with cackle. if your looking for show birds, order several and pick your best few.

a breeder's farm will only have a few breeding trios or pairs of each breed, usually selected from several of the same breed. this does not guarantee show quality, but overall the chickens will be a lot closer. i cant talk about other breeder farms, we all use our own policies. in our case we never select more than a trio from 40 chickens. if we can we will buy from other breeders who show their chickens, to obtain better stock. each year we work to improve our stock, and it is of varying quality. but most breeders will tell you where they feel the faults are in a specific line if you ask. hatcheries usually wont know.

in my mind, the main thing to look for is a farm that has health certificates on their chickens, or a farm who is a member of NPIP. these farms are checked for at least some illness. if you buy from craigslist, you never know what you will bring onto your farm.

if you cant find anyone local, PM me with the breeds you have in mind. i will let you know what ones i have, and their quality.
I am not nessecarily looking for show birds, more like just good quality, not inbred birds. I would show them, but more for fun than to win. I'd just not like my birds to be a complete embarassment
Choose a breed. Let's say one the Plymouth Rocks. Then, go to the Rock Fancier's Club of America. Click on breeders, and you'll find a list of breeders by state.

Repeat and rinse of just about any breed you are interested in.

Also, there are lots and lots of good, no, terrific breeders here on BYC. If you'd tell us the breed or breeds you are looking for, we can probably point you a thread where if you're willing to invest a little time reading and a few posts chatting up those who hang out on that thread, you'll find the information you're looking for.

Chicks are hard to come by from breeders, or even most hatcheries this time of year. Fall it the time rest and moult and re-charge and the breeders will soon be making their matchups for the next breeding season which begins in late January for most folks.

A great, great way to get juveniles of great stock, at this time of year, is to make the effort to attend a poultry show near you. Fall is show season. There will be lots of folks there who intentionally bring along a lot of stock to sell. Most breeders pare down this time of year and you'll find very nice birds being sold at a poultry show near you.
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I am not nessecarily looking for show birds, more like just good quality, not inbred birds. I would show them, but more for fun than to win. I'd just not like my birds to be a complete embarassment

Is there a specific breed that you would like to get?
Araucana/Americauan (so easter eggers).
Blue andalusian.
Some type of rooster. I don't quite know, but I'm leaning towards Welsummer, Maran, or BLRW.
I've ordered some of those breeds from hatcheries (Cochins, EEs, Orps). I've found that if you stick with more common colors they're more true to type. For example, I ordered LF Cochins from McMurray and Ideal. The whites, black and blue/black/splashes I got were pretty good. The reds, buff and partridge, not so much.
My "Ameracanas", aka Easter Eggers, were great layers and nice birds, but they wouldn't have gone anywhere in a show.
If you want nice quality birds, definitely go with a breeder. Honestly, after you pay shipping costs and deal with a 20 chick minimum order (or whatever the number may be, the less you order, the more you pay in shipping) the cost is really about the same. The difference though, is with a local breeder you can go and pick out your chicks/pullets/whatever.
Good luck :)

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