hi it really depends on what quality bird your looking for. hatchery is wonderful for pet quality birds! but if your looking to show your birds or want breeder quality birds then you would go to a breeder. going to a breeder does not insure show quality birds either. if your looking for show quality, you will buy from a breeder who sells only show quality birds. in that case your looking at about 85 to 120.dollars per bird depending on quality. breeder show quality chicks are around 20 dollars per chick. so it really depends on you. hatchery birds will not usually meet the standard of perfection for the bird. meaning color could be slightly off, toe number could be incorrect, or crest could be slightly different. or very slight difference. but none of that matters much unless your looking to show your birds! if you're not showing than you need not worry about it! you can get fine pet quality birds that will bring much joy! so it all depends on what your looking for. nothing wrong with going to a hatchery. you will see the chicks will be beautiful and make wonderful pets! hope this helps and congrats on your new chicks! please post lots of picts when they arrive! can't wait to see them!
Hatchery's couldn't stay in business if they didn't provide a good quality product. But if you can afford it and just have to have that Rolls Royce; then you may just have to buy from a breeder. On the other hand, there are some great deals from people selling eggs and chicks out there.
bob has a good point! in my case hatchery was waaay to far from where i live to purchase from them so i went to breeder. it depends on where you live. if you live close enough than it works out perfectly for you. but if you live many states away from hatchery, like myself then breeder might be a better option . it all boils down to you and what you want. if your close enough than its wonderful! if your showing, like some do, than breeder is a option. its really up to you. nothing wrong at all with hatchery! in fact it was my first thought, until i realized how far away they actually we're. we all have to do what's best for birds and the area we live in.
There is nothing wrong with getting chicks from a hatchery. Many hatcheries have been in business for decades and have experience in shipping chicks all over the country. However, seeking out a breeder doesn't necessarily mean you are looking for exhibition quality birds. Both hatcheries and breeders have their advantages and disadvantages.
I have ordered chicks from hatcheries and have even exhibited hatchery birds. Many hatcheries have their own breeding stock and many also out source their rarer varities from private breeders. Hatcheries have the experience knowing how to ship birds. They can also offer replacements for deadstock should any of your chicks die in transit. Some like McMurray and Ideal ship to Canada and will provide the health papers [at buyer's cost] needed to bring chicks into Canada.
For the most part, hatchery chicks are healthy. However, with rarer breeds this may not always be the case. I raise houdans. All of my houdans so far have been from hatcheries as finding private breeders is rarer than the breed itself. I have got houdans from McMurray, Ideal and Performance Poultry [Canadian] and not one order had chicks free of defects. Other houdan fanciers who have got hatchery birds also came across the same defects. Defects are usually with crossed/twisted beaks or curled toes. This I would think is more of an issue with hard to find, rare breeds and is not the norm for the majority of breeds offered by hatcheries. I want to stress, this again is in regards to rare breeds. I don't want anyone to think I was slagging off hatcheries or the three I mentioned. Other breeds I have got from McMurray, Ideal and PP were all fine, free of any defects.
There are benefits to getting chicks from a breeder. For one thing, a breeder generally has a personal interest in the breeds they work on. They are also closely selecting which birds are bred together. Myself, I have the parents of the parents of the offspring. When I do offer any of my birds for sale, I can show people what the parents look like. I can also give more personal service and answer questions about the breed. I have yet to offer show stock as I am not at that level yet. However, birds I have are handled from the time they hatch. Even if they are only going to be scratching in someone's coop, my birds are people friendly making them easier to handle.
The draw back is shipping. In the US, you can ship chicks through the post office. Here in Canada, you can't unless you are a commercial hatchery. If you are in the US, many breeders can arrange to ship you your chicks through the post. In Canada, a private breeder usually has to ship through an airline like West Jet. This is expensive. Last year when I ordered 25 chicks from Performance here in Canada, the air cost was $100 [$100 covers a flat of up to 100 chicks.] While a hatchery can help offset the cost by offering to bundle your chicks with another customer's [which is what I did] a private breeder may not be able to do that. That is if you are in Canada. In the US, as far as I know, private breeders can ship chicks through the USPS just as long as they use approved mailing containers.
Another difference is cost. Hatcheries chicks are mass produced so are cheaper, averaging around $2-3 per chick for popular breeds. Those same breeds may cost double that from a breeder as their stock is not mass produced. However, the quality of a private breeder makes up for the cost, in my opinion.
The big difference for me is simply this. Hatcheries are accessible to anyone who wants chicks. Not all private breeders are. While some breeders will gladly sell you chicks, those who breed exhibition stock as a rule don't sell chicks to the general public. Exhibitors are breeding for lines and SOP, Standards or Perfection, and have much invested in their work. They don't want their culls, birds not up to their standards, to be bought and then offered for sale as being directly from them. It's about reputations.
Those who say hatchery birds are no good are usually breeders of exhibition birds. At least they are the only people I hear it from. Hatchery birds are okay and are just fine for 99% of us.