I've seen references about not wanting chickens from hatcheries. This may be a stupid question, but why not? What are the pros/cons of getting chicks from a hatchery?
I would not bet on Meyer hatching heritage birds. I ordered from them last year and not one bird was up to standard. Or at least they were not up to standard according to the American Standards of Perfection book.It depends on the hatchery. There are a few hatcheries that are breeding heritage breeds and sticking to the qualities that made that breed great. I order mine from Meyer Hatchery in Ohio and their chickens are quality and their customer service is quality as well.
When I ordered chickens from the feed store their hatchery is probably a production hatchery. Where chickens are bred for high production and not quality of breed or long life. I might try RIR again from a heritage stock, but they have been the breed on the bottom of my list for quality. Lots of eggs, but the second year the egg quality falls off. I have Americanas that are starting to lay again after taking the winter off and their eggs still have the first year quality, but the RIR that are the same age have watery eggs and paper thin shells AND I still have all of my Americanas (age three) and most of my RIR are gone, most just fizzled and died. Also,the barred rocks that came from the same hatchery the year before are NOT rocks. They are leghorns in barred rock clothes. They have a different disposition than rocks, different shape, are great layers, but they are not rocks.
Stick to a good, quality hatchery and you'll be fine.
I ordered from Mayer and Ideal last year. Neither has heritage quality. This year I ordered from Cackle so we'll see, but I dont expect any to be heritage quality. Ok, so I just went to meyer hatchery web site and I did not see anywhere where they claimed their chickens were heritage so I would assume they will not be heritage quality. But like I said earlier you may get lucky and get 1 that is good quality but it will be luck. If you want goo quality I would find a breeder near you so you can visit and see what the adult chickens look like and compare them to the SOP book to see if they are actual heritage quality. But again this is just my opinion.Our feed store here in Carlsbad NM (read: Tim-Buck-Tu) orders chicks from a hatchery. They won't say which one. They only sell Red Stars and Leg Horns.
I ordered mine from McMurray Hatchery. Their service has been exceptional. I'm curious to see how the baby chicks compare when they are grown. I'm not sure why I didn't choose Meyer. Had good luck with McMurray the first time, so went with them again. What hatcheries are reliable for heritage/good quality chicks? I'd like to add a few Black Australorps to my growing flock.
If a hatchery for example labels their chicken "Heritage Rhode Island Red" then yes they are claiming to have heritage blood in their floock. If it is just called "Rhode Island Red" then no they do not gaurentee that the chicks will be heritage quality ( meaning up to SOP standards ). Basically it just means it would be a good hobby farm chicken but not a show bird or good for breeding as heritage. If you breed the hatchery chicken the relsult will just be more hatchery quality birds. so really your fine with ordering from commercial hatcheries unless you plan to exhibit and win or become a breeding selling heritage birds.When you say "heritage quality," do you mean the hatchery claims to uphold SOP standards?