- Chicken hatcheries can supply you with an endless choice of chicks to raise. Most chicken hatcheries provide catalogues or websites, so that you can look over all the varieties that they have available.
- Experts from chicken hatcheries always advise potential chicken farmers to know their purpose for chicken raising and determine whether they have the capacity to properly take care of their chosen breed.
- Prospective chicken owners can find all the information that they need on any given breed from the Internet or from their local poultry association.
- Commercial poultry producers would much rather get their chicks as day-olds rather than take their chances with natural or artificial incubation.
- When ordering chicks from a hatchery you can specify the exact amount of chicks you would like.
- The number of chicks you order will be the number of live chicks you pick-up – the hatchery will have absorbed the loss of any un-hatched eggs, and a good hatchery will ensure that you have a box of vigorous, healthy little birds.
- In many cases you can also select the sex, as a hatchery can sex the chicks to match your order.
- You can order your chicks for a specific pick-up date, giving you a firm deadline by which to build and prepare the chicken house, buy chick feed and make other preparations.
- Hatchery chicks will probably come with certain vaccinations and defence against common ailments – be sure to ask about a particular condition such as Marek’s Disease or salmonella that’s prevalent in your area.
- Keeping baby chickens alive is hard work – even commercial growers expect to lose anywhere from five to ten percent of their day-olds, and that’s under optimal conditions with expert care. Some hatcheries guarantee replacement of any chicks that die, which is an advantage for the poultry owner starting out on a budget.
- The major downside to ordering hatchery chicks is the limited selection of breeds that are available.
- A hatchery is likely to stock only the most common breeds – one or two that are primarily raised for meat, one or two primarily for eggs, and a few that are considered “dual purpose” breeds that are intended for both egg and meat production.
- But, this limited selection shouldn’t present a huge problem for a first-time chicken farmer – the common breeds are also often the easiest ones to raise.
- First-time chicken farmers needs all the help they can get and a good hatchery will send the chicks with instructions on their feeding, care and general needs.
- Hatchery staff are also quite happy to answer any questions you may have – not just because they want to retain you as a regular yearly customer but also because most do care about the quality of the birds they have hatched.