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All About Hatchery

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(All images by HOOVER’S HATCHERY)

Sutherlands is proud to bring our customers a special order program from the renown Hoover’s Rudd Hatchery based in Iowa.  They pride themselves in delivering happy, healthy and vigorous chickens over 75 years.  They hold themselves to a very high standard of excellence.  Their flocks are certified and tested before arriving to your farm or homestead.

So you are ready to start your own farmstead or simply just want to raise your own food.  Where would you start?   First off, not all feathery flocks are created equal, chickens, ducks, guineas and all other varieties.  They have different traits and they serve different purposes, depending on what your goal is.  You might want the birds for eggs, meat or you want to get yourself some fancy chickens!  We will help summarize the basic to help you decide what is right for you.

To start, what kind of space do you have?  What kind of birds do you want to raise, chickens, ducks, geese, guineas, pheasants, churkars, quails or turkeys? Within each type, there are many varieties and they require different habitats and render different outcomes.  Let’s go down the list of each feathery friend:


  1. Meat birds: This is the most popular. Some of them are perfect for bbq. Some of them are a  fry-pan special.  You will have to consider the desired mature size.
  2. Layer breeds: According to our partner, Hoover’s Hatchery, it is recommended a diverse chicken assortment in your flock will keep daily chores and bird watching interesting.  Some breeds produce more eggs like Imported Chicken Collection.  Some like European Collection are more tough and can handle extreme weather conditions.  Some will lay dark, speckled eggs.  Many varieties offer colorful shells to showcase in your egg carton.  Or you simply want a classic white!  You might fancy mixing your flock with fancy breeds with large headdress.  Now that will be the talk of the town!



3. Batams: Good things come in small packages.  Batams eat less, require smaller housing and create less mess.  Rumors have it they are great for kids too! 


Besides meat and eggs, ducks are great for eating waste rice, weed seeds, insects and bugs.  If you have a small space, they might be ideal for you.  Their eggs are packed with omega-3s and have a richer flavor than chicken eggs.  We are going beyond Mallard.  There are many varieties.  Some are known for good meat, certain breeds will lay black eggs.  You need to consider their temperament; do they need more space to roam around, do they make a lot of noise, want a breed that will be easy to pluck, need one that will provide plenty of egg productions?


They are wonderful weeders.  Let’s just call them your new “weed eater”.  They will clean it out in no time.  Step away guard dogs, your geese will hiss and honk when something foreign enters the farm or yard.  They are also a great protector of smaller fowl.  Most can live up to 20 years!   They might not lay golden eggs but some breeds can produce 100 eggs a year. 


Gobble up!  The pride of raising your own food starts right here.  Talk about your hard work pays off the end of the year and you will earn the bragging rights among your family and friends’ at the next Thanksgiving dinner.  There are 2 major types: Heritage and Commercial.  Different ones have their own unique appearance and maturity.  They are also, after all, a very healthy meat.


Game on with these 2 wild birds.  They are perfect for stocking your hunting grounds, establishing wildlife and training hunting dogs.  As for wildlife hobbyists, you need to see Melanistic Mutans beautiful dark teal and blue plumage. 


They are best compared to geese for their protectiveness.  They are very alert with beautiful plumage.


Last, little but not the least.  They are the compact version of raising chicken.  They are easy to raise, take up less space, and lay small eggs practically EVERY DAY!  Talk about instant gratification!


Once you narrow down which type you are interested in, then comes all the fun part of choosing the best looking and the most healty birds for your home as part of your family.  Stop by your local Sutherlands for easy ordering process.


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