Breeding Chickens : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I am thinking about starting to breed a few heavy breed chickens for sale and use in the northeast(Maine). I can't seam to find many chick suppliers in the area and wonder how good for the chicks it is to ship them half way across the U.S. Where is the best place to start and get pure breed stock? Any info would be helpful Thanks

-- Todd Leeman (, May 10, 2000


Try Murray Mcmurray hatcheries. Other people on the forum swears by them and I've had nothing but good luck with them. They have a real good web site at Good luck


-- Jim Tanner (, May 10, 2000.

Murry Mcmurry are real good. They stand by their stock. Have alot of Large cold tolerant chicken breeds. Almost too many to choose from, but so much fun!!!!

-- Bergere (, May 10, 2000.

Murray McMurray is good, but you may be a little too late to order chicks for this year -- you could call them and try. However, they have a couple of times sent the wrong breed, so I can't recommend them without reservation. It doesn't hurt the chicks to be shipped, as long as the weather isn't too hot. The postal service is very good about getting live chicks to you quickly and safely, but really hot weather can cause losses that are out of their control. We had Murray McMurray ship chicks, ducklings, and goslings to us while we were in a rather remote area of Alaska and they came through well. If you want a local breeder, though, wait until the fairs start a little later in the season, and check out the livestock exhibits. That is one good way to find out who is breeding what in your area. Just make sure they are breeding for practical considerations and not just for looks for showing. If you look in the back of the various country mags you will find other mail-order chick suppliers, too.

-- Kathleen (, May 10, 2000.

I bought Dark Cornish (heavy breed) from McMurray last summer on the advice of a friend. He said they were extremely wary of predators while free-ranging (I found that to be true), good mothers for raising your own chicks (inconclusive as yet), efficient foragers (seems true), and hardy enough to subsist in cold climate (true here in Minnesota). In short, a good homesteading bird. My 24 hens give about 14 eggs/day average during their first year of laying. The eggs seems smaller than other homestead eggs I have seen lately.

The one caveat I have is rooster behavior: mine (and another friend who got hers from the same hatch) will harass strangers (and me to a lesser extent) who will not retaliate. My friend butchered all her roosters to prevent problems with her young child.

They are extremely close-feathered and solid as a rock; being deceptively big. The hens are heavier than most roosters that I have handled in my life. They are pretty "wild", secretive, and stand- offish (my understanding is that Cornish are that way). But I got them used to eating stuff out of my hand early and now they still come running. The other day, they refused to approach the apple I was offering until my friend standing behind me left the area. I guess they know who their meal ticket is. Heaven forbid if they ever figure out what I consider my meal ticket -- hehe.

In addition, they are one of McMurray's most popular "purebred" meat breeds. Their catalog considers them a "gourmet" meat bird. When I ordered last summer, all the roosters were sold out -- not a common occurence with hatcheries. They ship air to states other than MN and IA. The yolk sac (which is internalized before they hatch) gives them about 3 days to get to a steady source of sustenance and water. Mine were received great and healthy. I did not lose a single chick.

I added to their water the recommended biotin supplement for heavy breeds. This is essential for the Rock Cornish hybrid meat birds, but just a precaution for mine. I got all mine immunized for Marek's disease before they shipped ($0.11/chick). My friend had one get Marek's (I predict), but it survived; being smaller than the other hens.

-- Mike O (, May 10, 2000.

To add to Kathleen's post, I ordered mine in May last year for June 29th arrival -- they hatch every week. That was the last hatch of the year for Dark Cornish -- although they did add one a week later to handle orders they could not fill.

-- Mike O (, May 10, 2000.

So where in Maine are you, neighbor? We're in Buxton, a few miles west of Portland. Actually, we have several breeders and suppliers in Maine, although they are smaller operations and supply only a small local region. Nothing wrong with MacMurray, or Stromberg or many many others. But you can get what you want closer to home, and generally speaking, substantially cheaper. If you want an unusual or exotic breed, probably not. Is there a Paris Farmer's Union nearby. These guys have the best deals on good stock, in my opinion. I might also suggest that if you have an incubator, a few of us hardy souls (Hi there, Karen!) have shipped eggs to each other. E-mail direct and I'll provide whatever info I can and a phone# if you'd like to jaw about it for a while. Ayuh! GL!

-- Brad (, May 10, 2000.

I agree with the others. I live in Texas, a couple of hours out of Houston. . I received my order from McMurray in one day. They are over a year old and doing great although I quite a way from the hatchery. Hope this helps. Eagle

-- eagle (, May 17, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ