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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?
 

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Hatchery birds are great for a hobby or as layers. If you want to show birds or breed them to the SOP (Standard of Perfection) then you want a different quality of bird. Otherwise hatcheries are a great place to get affordable chicks.
 

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Yes, above post is correct, hatchery quality is more pet quality and breeders usually have breeder and show quality birds. Hatchery is not breed for the standard of perfection. Some breeds can look quite different if hatchery compared to breeder. I raise silkies and have noticed a difference in appearance in hatchery vrs. Breeder quality. However sometimes hatchery qualities give more eggs than breeder quality. Hatchery quality is much more affordable than breeder quality. Or show quality. Show quality can be very expensive! When I went to purchase I went to look for hatchery, but they didn't have a close hatchery and I didn't want the chicks being shipped that far however I found a breeder closer to where I live. Also hatchery had a large minimum purchase where as breeder didn't. So I went with show quality for my silkies. But if a hatchery wouldn't have had such a large minimum and had been closer, I likely would have used hatchery. But for me the breeder worked out well and I can show if I'd like which is fun! So it all depends on what your looking for. For me I took the location under consideration because I didn't want the chicks I bought shipping for such a long distance. I did end up changing breeders and got my last pullet from a different breeder. I think she had better quality birds. But I love all my birds! I was really thinking of the birds welfare more than show quality. I think a really long shipping trip is tough on the birds. So it's up to you and your situation and what your looking for. Hope this is helpful. Best wishes
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I bought chicks from a hatchery several years ago, and now this year, also. I've been very happy with my hatchery chickens. They seem healthy and happy. This year I have several breeds, some for eggs, and some for foraging bugs. They are almost two weeks old now and I'm loving every minute of it.

It's funny, I would think the hatchery is the perfect place to breed for Standard of Perfection, as they have so many to choose from. Maybe I'm just not thinking the way a hatchery does.

When I initially asked this question, I was thinking there may be health issues and such. I'm glad no one has brought that up.
 

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I luv Polish & Houdans
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The only issue that I can comment on when it comes to hatchery vs breeder is when it comes to rare breeds. Rare breeds bought from hatcheries can have defects. I have bought Houdans from three different hatcheries since 2010. I have yet to get birds that were free of defects of some sort. I have read other people's post and they also report defects like twisted beaks and crooked or curled toes. With more common breeds where there is a large gene pool, you are likely fine. With rare breeds where the gene pool is smaller, finding chicks without defects is more difficult.
 

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A Round American Woman
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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. :)
 

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In my opinion hatcheries breed for quantity not qaulity. I order hatchery birds for my hobby birds. But when I start breed to SOP ( standards of perfection) I will find a breeder that has the goal in mind that they too are breeding to standard. There is nothing wrong with hatchery chicks,they just dont purposely breed to standards. Now you may get lucky and get a show bird from them but its rare. Most hatcheries have fine print that they do not gauruntee show quality birds.
 

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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 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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When you say "heritage quality," do you mean the hatchery claims to uphold SOP standards?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm looking at different hatcheries now and will pay more attention to whether or not they have heritage stock or uphold heritage standards.
 

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When you say "heritage quality," do you mean the hatchery claims to uphold SOP standards?
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.
 

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I ordered from Meyers in Ohio for my April chicks and the ones I just got yesterday were from Ideal in Texas. These chicks seem very healthy and happy. I have no idea what they will end up looking like. I don't show. If I did I expect I would show my Silkies from the breeder.
 
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