Why is there such a bias against hatcheries?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Bullitt, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am not sure if this is the right section for this or not.

    Many people who are on this board are very biased against hatcheries.

    From what I have seen, for the most part, is that hatcheries provide good chickens that will lay more eggs than chickens from breeders, on average.

    Most people do not want to show their chickens or care if their chickens can compete in a show. And the APA does not consider the egg-laying abilities of chickens. In other words, those breeding for shows ignore one of the most important reasons people have chickens -- for the eggs. As an example, a Barred Plymouth Rock hen that can't lay an egg could be declared the champion Barred Plymouth Rock. That is ridiculous when Barred Rocks are known for being one of the best dual-purpose (eggs and meat) breeds.

    I got into a discussion in another thread about the Rhode Island Red. The original Rhode Island Red was red, like you get from many hatcheries. (see below) What is being called a "heritage" Rhode Island Red is a reddish brown that has barely any red in the feathers. I was told this is the case because the red Rhode Island Red will not have as even color after the first molt. Breeders have focused on color and have, in many cases, ignored the ability of the hens to lay eggs. So now a brown Rhode Island Red is considered "heritage" when it has little to do with how they appeared when accepted into the APA in 1904. I will take a good Rhode Island Red from a good hatchery any day over one of those brown Rhode Island Reds.

    These are Rhode Island Reds from Cackle Hatchery. I use this hatchery as an example because they have pictures of actual chickens on their website.

    [​IMG]

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    This is what breeders think is a Rhode Island Red or a "heritage" Rhode Island Red. It is brown with a little red color in the feathers.


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    Those breeding for show do not care if a chicken can lay an egg and they may change the appearance of a breed to something they think is more attractive. Well, I like my Rhode Island Reds to be red.

    As I mentioned, many on this board are biased against hatcheries. But the average person is probably better off buying chickens from hatcheries.

    Just like with dog showing, some breeds, such as the Irish Setter, have been ruined for its intended purpose because breeders have paid attention to appearance while ignoring the utility of the breed.

    Just so you know.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
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  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I couldn't agree more.

    Hatchery birds do tend to be more productive, primarily because the more productive their birds are, the more money they can make.
    Breeder birds tend to conform more closely to SOP but also bigger because judges seem to go for size even if it is bigger than SOP.

    I fall in between. Breeding a bird for it's original characteristics, which often was for quality meat and eggs - not just feather color, shape and size.
    In a word. Functionality.
    People have bred Barnevelders for color and lost the egg color.

    The one thing I've noticed about breeder birds though is that they are way more robust than hatchery stock.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You raise some valid points about hatchery birds vs. SQ birds. IMO, the predjudice against hatchery birds lies somewhat in the fact that the quality of hatchery birds is decreased compared to that of a heritage bird of the same breed. Case of point was a breeding project done with Delawares, where it took just 3 generations to make considerable improvement in bird quality, bringing it back to the DP standard of the past. The birds who were purposefully bred, were much larger, provided a better table presentation, and I believe were better layers than hatchery birds. IMO, a GOOD breeder, in addition to SOP also breeds for egg production, temperament, and disease resistance. There is also the issue of disposal of male chicks in the hatchery setting. Also, hatchery chicks are often transported long distances through the mail system. Many arrive in good condition, but there are plenty of horror stories out there. I'd love to see poultry keeping increase to the point where there are local breeders of most breeds in every state!

    I'm pleased with the hatchery EE that I bought this spring. After trying in vain to get Ameraucanas, I settled for EE, and honestly, I think they are a better layer than the SQ Ameraucanas. Your pics of hatchery vs breeder produced RIR was interesting. I've seen pics of SQ heritage RIR that were so very red that they were almost black. Truly beautiful birds, and I'm not at all fond of RIR, but these were eye candy. I will get hatchery birds again, but, if I had a valid choice, I'd pick up eggs of my chosen breeds locally and incubate them myself.
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree. You can't focus on certain aspects of a breed and ignore others.

    But I understand there is no penalty for breeding chickens that are poor layers. Why should a breeder care if they are trying to win shows?
     
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, a breeder should do what you suggest. But what if a breeder ignores egg production, temperament, and disease resistance? What is the penalty in the show world?

    Breeders also have to get rid of chickens that are not wanted, and this often includes killing them. As long as it is done humanely I do not have a problem with it.

    Each person has their own tastes. My point about Rhode Island Reds is that they have become darker in the last century and that is now what is called "heritage" Rhode Island Reds. The color has been changed to make them darker, and from what I understand, egg production has decreased. Rhode Island Reds were originally bred for eggs and meat.

    You are buying chicks from hatcheries, and they probably lay eggs better than chickens from breeders. Surprise! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  6. jerryse

    jerryse Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree also. Utility should not be ignored by breeders. Hatcheries provide chicks to the masses and do a good job for the most part. The problem starts when people want to show them. I hunt with beagles and can tell you hunting beagles and show beagles are totally different. I prefer my animals to be true to their intended purpose.
     
  7. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try to find an Irish Setter to hunt with. :)
     
  8. DCchicken

    DCchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You make the assumption that all breeders are breeding for show. I would have to say that all the breeders I know are breeding for hardiness and productivity. I do not kill the males. I give them away for free. The hatcheries don't care about improving the breed. They are a business and profit motivated.
     
  9. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I was referring to breeders who breed for show. I did not mean to say all breeders are ignoring some qualities of a breed.

    I was also not trying to say that hatcheries are perfect. But if a person wants chickens that lay well and is not concerned if their chickens meet the standards, the hatcheries provide what they are looking for.

    If a person is concerned with a breed meeting the standards, then obviously they need to find a good breeder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  10. jerryse

    jerryse Overrun With Chickens

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    Cocker spaniels also. So sad when the original purpose is lost.
     

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