Do you buy from a Breeder or a Hatchery?
What is the difference?
Every breeder will have a slightly different set-up. Some will allow their hens to hatch the chicks, while others will collect the fertile eggs for hatching in an incubator or to make those fertile eggs available for sale so that others can hatch their own chicks at home.
Owning a rooster will depend on the property size and council regulations. Ideally, breeding should be left to residents of more rural areas or those on the edges of suburbia or towns to minimise noise to neighbours.
- Buy them at the age you prefer
- Natural outdoors rearing of chicks
- Mother hen is able to teach chicks the basics in foraging
- Options of hatching under mother hen or in incubator
- Improving breed standards
- New breeds are always possible
- Continuation of rare breeds
- Health, happiness and well-being of the hens are usually priority
- There is a chance that you may find a true organic breeder, if that is your aim
- Able to discuss with the breeder about the breed and history of their poultry
- If you accidently have a male in your flock, you should be able to arrange for an exchange or return with refund
- Many poultry breeders are very proud of their input to the poultry industry and are members of poultry clubs and shows
- Sexing of chicks is not guaranteed
- Chicks may be only vaccinated for one condition or not vaccinated at all
- Chicks reared by mother may be a little more skitish than those hatched by incubator and hand raised.
- Hatch rates may vary
- Breeds may not always run true
- Crossbreeds are common with some backyard breeders. Many experiment to create a new breed that they would prefer so that you may not be purchasing a true breed type.
- Breeder may not inform you of any diseases that have gone through their poultry in the past. Some hens may still be carriers and pass it on to their offspring.
- Not every breeder keeps breeding. Many come and go.
- Some breeders are new to the game and may not be fully aware of breed standards
- Breeding hybrids with hybrids can cause breed issues or even cause the offspring to never be good layers like their parents.
- Health issues of their offspring due to bad husbandry choices for breeding
WHERE TO FIND BREEDERS
- Australasian Poultry magazine - list of breeders and clubs to contact to locate breeders
- Local Poultry Clubs
- South Australian Poultry Association - list of sale dates and locations
- Facebook - various state and national groups. Good idea to search on clubs, breeds and your state.
- Many breeders have their own website and Facebook site - locate many via Google search or through poultry Forums online.
Poultry can include chickens, turkey, ducks, geese or other bird species needed for large scale production.
Many hatcheries these days receive many enquiries from families so smaller orders are now becoming more common.
If you are only after 2-3 hens then hatcheries are not really the right thing for you.
Hatcheries prefer you to purchase a minimum of 10.
Priority is given to large scale orders first.
Many hatcheries are also connected to a larger production poultry farm rather than as a stand-alone business. So if you are interested in rescuing any older hens from destruction rather than purchasing chicks, a hatchery is the right place to start the process moving.
The hens are artificially inseminated rather than being being left in a breeding pen with a rooster. This may vary between hatcheries as some prefer this method for all layer hens but natural fertilisation method for meat birds.
- Breed is always known
- Professionally vent sexed after hatching
- Only the healthiest birds are bred with to ensure good offspring
- Able to access unwanted/defective or older hens for re-homing rather than being destroyed
- The hatchery can organise transportation of a large order if you are not able to pick them up from the farm
- Biosecurity is very high
- Only hybrid birds
- Not Point-of-Lay - Not always chicks
- Limited egg laying life
- Debeaking is commonly done (many people do not want their beak tips cut off)
- All mass incubator hatched - no contact with mother hen
- No outdoor exposure to learn how to forage
- Males are gassed, frozen or destroyed straight after hatching
- If you accidently have a male in your flock, there might be no exchange or refund*
- Hatcheries give priority to large scale orders first as they exist to serve a commercial purpose
- You will be driving onto a property with high biosecurity regulations (check ahead of time of requirements)
- Call on the day to ensure that your order still stands
There are some poultry farmers that buy chicks in bulk from the hatcheries and raise them up to Point-of-Lay and then sell on to the public. The cost per bird is cheaper than buying them from fodder stores in the city. Your only real cost is transportation and having enough room for all the hens you want.
Try: Laucke Poultry at Eudunda - Ph: 0439 883 781