Which (if any) of the National Hatchery's Sell Show Quality Chicks?

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by Bantam Lover 2020, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

    Nov 12, 2017
    Western Ohio

    mmmm....Super Roasters! We actually got some of those and the White Mountain Broilers. Didn't keep up with keeping them labelled, so can't say we preferred one over the other, but the males got really huge, even for butcher age of 7.5 weeks - and they were still walking, semi-running, and awake/aware/interactive despite their size. The females were big, but definitely smaller than the males.

    I know some hatcheries restrict employees from owning their own chickens due to bio-security. But, don't know about that one.

    We purchased a bantam for a broody hen. We didn't try to pick a bantam, just did from the extra chick bin. It was really cute, very pretty, an EE I think. But, we aren't very interested in having bantams right now... maybe in the future, who knows!
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    You can only obtain quality birds from breeders. That's not to say all breeder stock is quality. Generally if a breeder has a vast number of breeds to sell they are not going to be quality. And conversely those asking the highest prices are usually not the best quality.

    When you get into looking for stock and talking with breeders. Most wont sell to you unless you have a little knowledge about the breed and let them know your focusing on that one breed. It's not worth their time or nor do they want their stock in the hands of someone they are certain won't maintain it let alone keep working it to the standard of perfection. Most of the old timers wont ship eggs. If you're able to drive to them they may hold a few dozen for you. Your best bet is the national shows. Find one near you and attend it. Talk with the people showing the breed your interested in. Make contacts and yes, you will get birds from the show or have contact to get birds later. These will be somewhat local to you so not impossible to drive a state or two away and pick up a breeding pair or trio from a person you made contact with through the show.

    I've obtain birds from two different old time breeders. Both were extremely reasonable (cheap if you will) with price. I picked up 18 hatching eggs from Bob Murphy for $20. He does not sell eggs, I was lucky. I picked up two birds at the Northeast Congress few weeks ago. Paid $20 per bird. Were they show quality? no. Good specimens of old stock being worked back to perfection. The few show quality he had he was showing. Again, I got lucky to even get those. It's about showing your own interest and knowledge of the breed, standard and showing you're desire to try and maintain and work the flock. Be humble as these guys have forgotten more than I'll likely ever know. Listen to what they have to say, it's usually golden nuggets of wisdom to help you avoid pitfalls with the breed/variety.

    To put it in a nutshell, find a show near you, one in Modesto California Feb 1-3 this year. Was one in Springfield MA two weeks ago and the others are coming....find one near you and attend. Try to locate breeders of the bird you want that will be attending the show. They sometimes will bring a breeding pair or trio if you contact before hand so you can pick them up at the show. Make contacts and enjoy the friendly and very open sharing of information you'll get from these people. They will usually test you some first as they get contacted by many people and have their own system of weeding out those they don't want to waste their time.
  3. Alexandra33

    Alexandra33 Chook Snuggler

    Quite nice. If we ever try meat breeds, that's certainly something to consider. I personally dislike CX for their immobility....seems like a terrible quality of life. :hmm

    Very true. I mentioned owning poultry to Kay during a brief meeting, and she didn't bat an eye. We shall see what happens. ;)

    Lovely! :love Eagle Nest doesn't offer bantam EEs as far as my knowledge reaches, but they do have stunning Wheaten Ameraucana bantams. :)

    ButtonquailGirl14 and Acre4Me like this.
  4. GaryDean26

    GaryDean26 Chicken Czar

    Dec 22, 2011
    McAlester, OK
    My Coop
    They way I get show quality chickens is I hatch about 100 chicks and grow them out. As they grow I make notes of physical defects that would disqualify a birds from being shown at a Poultry show (i.e. split wings, squire tails, wry tail, knocked knees, etc.) Then I look for good health (any sickness even if they get better put them on the outs), good weight (the breed standard list the show weights for each breed typically my birds are under weight so I only keep birds in the top 50% of the flock on weight and favor the ones in the top 10% of the flock) , high activities (the birds that are out foraging all day, that are the first off the roost in the morning and last into the coop at night are what I am looking for), etc. Then I look at the breed standard and any bird that has the wrong shape to their back, breast, tail are the next to go. Other features like cresting, feathered shanks, comb type, skin color, etc are also evaluated. Finally I look at the color standard for the variety I have to see who would be disqualified for color defects. Out of 100 birds I may get 10-20 that would be "Show Quality" and I may only breed the best 5-6 birds out of 100.

    When people say they have "show quality" chicks what it means from the best breeders is that they have spend a minimum of 3-6 years developing a breeding line and that the brood stock that they are currently breeding has produced show quality offspring that have won ribbons at competitive APA shows. It does NOT mean that 100% of the offspring from their brood stock are show quality.

    What "show quality" means from the good breeders is that their brood stock is all show quality and that they don't breed any birds that are not themself show quality. Again it does not mean that their offspring is 100% show quality. These good breeders may not even have show winners from what they have bred.

    For the average breeder "show quality" means that they purchased stock from a good or excellent breeder. It does not mean that all of their breeding stock are show quality, it does not mean that all of the offspring from their brood stock are show quality, and it doesn't mean that they have bred any show winners.

    Your hatcheries with "Show Quality" birds are going to be your average breeder category. Some of the hatcheries get their stock from reputable breeders. After they get it they are not showing birds from their flock, they are not growing out 100 birds just to breed breed 5-6 birds, etc.

    The Hatcheries that do not sell "Show Quality" birds may out cross their birds with production birds of other breeds to improve utilities, to be able to feather sex birds, to increase habitability, to decrease feed consumption, etc.

    You can get birds from "show quality" lines that fail to be show quality and you can get birds from hatcheries that are show quality. If you are wanted to get into exhibition, hatchery birds could be a good start to learn the breed if you can get some stock that hasn't been out-crossed to commercial production breeds. If you get serious about exhibition you will find yourself seeking out the best breeders after a few years (or becoming a breeder yourself) because it is hard to be successful at exhibition with average stock when you are competing against good and best stock.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  5. GaryDean26

    GaryDean26 Chicken Czar

    Dec 22, 2011
    McAlester, OK
    My Coop
    Greenfire Farm specialize in importing rare breeds. They operate much like the average breeders do. They seek to import stock from the Good and Best breeders but they are average breeders. Much of their breeding stock is NOT show quality and if you ask them directly that are open in stating that they never have advertised show quality birds just rare birds. I did get my Blue Breda and Cream Legbars from them. They were the only farm in this side of the Atlantic Ocean that either of those breeds back in 2011 when I go into the Breda and Legbar. I found a ton of defects in both of the breeds though. I have been working on breeding show quality birds in those breeds for 7 years but am not there yet. Breeding chickens is a slow processes that requires a lot of patients. There is a reason that show quality birds cost more. Lots of show breeders won't sell anything from their line at any price. After they put some much time and money into their flocks they want the satisfaction of knowing that others won't be free load off of their hard work.

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