I am a small scale private breeder in southeast PA (Chester County, near Pottstown). We specialize in sexable chicks and specialized genetics. Preserving heritage breeds is an important aspect of what we do, and we are very interested in helping other breeders around the country to pick up some of the rare breeds and rare color variants that we are preserving.
If you are looking to purchase chicks for egg production, I have 3 unique advantages over the local feed store or TSC:
- Guaranteed female chicks – be careful about buying chicks from a bin marked “pullets”, the way that most chicks are sexed is not 100% accurate. If you read the fine print from the hatchery, they only guarantee 90% accuracy. In practice, most do a little better than that, usually 95%, but that still means that 1 out of 20 pullets in that bin is a cockerel. Can you deal with that? I sex chicks by color, using genetics to accurately predict the way the female chicks will look. I even guarantee that, offering a full refund and will take back any cockerels I sold as pullets. Ask, but the feed stores are not likely to do this for you.
- Marek’s Disease vaccinations – The process of vaccinating adds costs and effort, as chicks have to be vaccinated within 24 hours of hatching to be fully protected. Some chicks in the feed stores are vaccinated, but be sure to ask. If they don’t know, it is a safe bet they are not, as they can save a few cents per chick.
- Unique breeds – every year I try to have new breeds and am always working to improve the older ones. Some of these can not be found anywhere else, and others are more carefully bred for their desirable traits than other sources. For example, I am introducing Isabel Welbars (Lavender gene in my autosexing Welsummers) this year. These are not “finished” yet, but they are very pretty and great layers. The egg color is not fixed, some lay olive eggs, some dark brown, and some a lighter shade of brown or green.
This year (2024) my focus is on helping other poultry breeders get started and learn how to maintain populations of poultry for their own enjoyment and to supply chicks to their local community. I am consciously trying to create more competition for my “side hustle” so that I can scale down my breeding operations over the next few years. If this is the direction you are thinking about, we should talk. While the large hatcheries meet most of the demand for generic chicks, there is always some backyard chicken keepers who are looking for something unique, or a higher quality experience, and working with a serious local breeder can provide that. Maybe you will be one of those local breeders.
The best way to contact me is via email – firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow Pottstown Poultry on Facebook.