The right hatchery can make a big difference in the success of your chicken farming venture. However, there are many chicken hatcheries in Ohio. How can you tell which one is the right one?
Going with a big-name hatchery may seem like the best choice, but you may find that it makes more sense to go with a smaller hatchery that is closer to you.
Other hatcheries may be farther away but may be the only ones offering what you need.
Read on to find out about some of the best chicken hatcheries in Ohio, plus several tips on how you can pick the best hatcheries to serve your chicken needs today.
1. Meyer Hatchery
Meyer Hatchery is undoubtedly the heavyweight on this list. This hatchery was founded in 1985 and it was the brainchild of a young mother based in Polk, Ohio.
Karen Meyer kept a small chicken flock as a hobby but over the years it ballooned into the successful business we know today. Karen Meyer’s hobby has become a major player in the hatchery industry, providing farmers with more than 160 breeds of domestic fowl.
When you order your chicks from Meyer Hatchery, you can enjoy benefits such as:
- Orders as small as 3 chicks
- A 100% gender accuracy guarantee
- Reliable customer service
- Hatching eggs, etc.
Meyer Hatchery is also a member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan(NPIP). This program was established to limit the spread of diseases from hens to their chicks via the eggs.
In addition to chicken, you can also get turkeys, ducklings, and goslings from Meyer Hatchery.
This hatchery is a sponsor of The Livestock Conservancy, an organization that has been helping to preserve heritage breeds of domestic chickens.
2. Country Haven Farm
If you have a taste for rare breeds, Country Haven Farm may be the hatchery for you. This family-owned business is located in Cardington, Ohio, and provides hatching eggs for some of the harder-to-find chicken breeds.
This farm-turned-hatchery started in Delaware, Ohio in 2006 but later moved to Cardington in 2013. One-half of the founding duo, Randee Summers, was brought up in Rural Ohio on a farm that raised chickens, horses, and dairy goats.
Some of the rare hatching eggs you can get are for:
- White Legbar Chickens
- Ayam Cemanis
- Lavender Orpingtons
- Deathlayer Chickens
- Silkied Cochin Bantams
Country Haven Farm is a member of the NPIP and the chickens on their farm have access to outdoor areas.
Country Haven Farm doesn’t offer guarantees with regard to the hatchability of their eggs only that they’ll arrive unbroken. They do take steps to label their packages correctly to minimize the possibility of rough handling during shipping.
3. Ridgway Hatchery
Located in the village of LaRue in Ohio, Ridgway Hatchery is celebrating 100 years of existence in 2023. This family-owned hatchery was formed back in 1923 and is today owned and operated by the 3rd generation of Ridgways.
This hatchery had grown significantly in the 1930s and even had several branches in Central Ohio. Over the years, the business had to survive many challenges including the consolidation of farms which resulted in fewer backyard farms.
Today, its operations are centered in LaRue, and the company is seeing a resurgence thanks to the recent interest in backyard chicken farming.
Breeds you can order from Ridgway Hatchery today include Rhode Island Reds, White Jumbo Cornish Rock Cross Broilers, White Rocks, Araucanas, and ISA Browns.
4. Mt Healthy Hatcheries
This is yet another big name in hatcheries and is one of the most reviewed on Google. Despite this, it has a staggering 4.9 out of 5 rating so you know they have many happy customers in their past.
Mt Healthy Hatcheries is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was founded back in 1924 and they offer everything from regular chickens and rare ones to turkeys and game birds.
Some of the regular breeds you can get from this Ohio hatchery include:
- Rhode Island Red
- Golden Comet
- Cornish Cross
If you’re looking for something that’s harder to come across, you can also get Ayam Cemanis, Blue Australorps, Lavender Wyandottes, and Golden Cuckoo Marans. Note that due to the overwhelming demand, many of these rare breeds will be sold out from time to time.
Mt Healthy Hatcheries is a member of the NPIP.
5. Eagle Nest Poultry
Contrary to what the name says, you can’t actually get any eagle eggs from this hatchery. However, if you’re in the market for chicks or hatching eggs near Oceola, Ohio, Eagle Nest Poultry has you covered.
This business has been in existence for more than 90 years with a policy of breeding rugged chickens for backyard farmers and exhibition birds with excellent qualities. The hatchery is now owned by Bill and Kay Karcher.
You can get both heritage breeds and select high-performance hybrids. The heritage breeds you can get from Eagle Nest Poultry include:
- Dark Brown Leghorn
- Silver Laced Wyandotte
- Light Brahma
- Rhode Island Red
The performance hybrids on offer include the Golden Buff Cross, Black Sex Link, and Super Roaster.
The health of the chicks from Eagle Nest Poultry Hatcheries is addressed through its membership in the NPIP and the Ohio Poultry Association.
6. Chicks by Crystal
In their own words, Chicks by Crystal is a smaller operation compared to other hatcheries. Their target customers are those who only want a small number of chicks from many different breeds.
This hatchery is located in Geneva, Ohio, and mainly provides breeds of chickens that are critically endangered. Some of the breeds that were recently available include:
- Candy Corn Polish
- Tolbunt Polish
- White Face Black Spanish
They also offer a chick breed identification service.
The size of this hatchery’s operation means that availability can be low. They also try to breed for genetic diversity, health, and aesthetics. This can make it harder to fill orders when demand peaks.
You can get both hatching eggs and chicks from Chicks by Crystal. Getting chicks is recommended since the hatch rate of eggs is not guaranteed although the fertility of the eggs is confirmed prior to shipping.
The chicks are all straight run so there is no guarantee you’ll be getting a hen or a rooster.
Chicks by Crystal is owned by Crystal Bradbury. The hatchery is a member of the Ayam Cemani Breeders Association and the NPIP.
7. LW Barnhouse
LW Barnhouse is a small hatchery located in Diamond, Ohio. In the words of the owner, every year they seek to improve the quality of their flock, not the quantity.
The chicken breeds they have to offer include Phoenixes, Silkies, Cochins, and Bantams. This hatchery also offers hatching eggs.
This hatchery has a minimum order size of 3, and they don’t ship during bad weather. They offer no guarantees that eggs will arrive in good shape due to the possibility of shipping-related accidents.
Other Ohio Hatcheries
In addition to the key players above, there are several other hatcheries in Ohio that are a little less known. Some of these are operations that are relatively small, some only recently started, and others have almost no online footprint.
These hatcheries include:
- Beckholt’s Chicken Farm
- Love of Peeps Hatchery
- Willow Creek Poultry
It is important to remember these smaller operations because one may be local to you. Being able to pick up your chicks or hatching eggs right from the farm is an excellent way of avoiding the challenges that come with shipping chicks or hatching eggs over long distances.
Tips For Choosing Chicken Hatcheries in Ohio
Choosing one hatchery over another can make a world of difference. Even based on the list of hatcheries above, it is obvious that hatcheries cannot deliver the same quality of service or provide you with the same breeds.
With this in mind, here are some tips on how you can choose a good hatchery to get your chicks or hatching eggs from.
Shipping may be a stressful process for you as you wait for your order to arrive, but it is more stressful for the chicks being shipped.
The situation is worse for hatching eggs because they may be bumped around during shipping. Hatcheries will make some effort to package the eggs in a manner that minimizes damage, but accidents can still happen.
This is why choosing a hatchery that is close to you might be a better option than one that is far away. In fact, if you have a hatchery that’s close enough that you can pick up the chicks or eggs by yourself, that would be better.
Minimum Order Size
The minimum order size isn’t simply there for the hatchery to make as much money as possible. Chicks being shipped are kept warm by their own body heat. The more chicks are shipped the warmer they’ll be.
Having said that different hatcheries will have smaller or larger minimums depending on the breed and season. If you don’t want a lot of chicks, a hatchery with a smaller minimum order size may serve your needs better.
Be sure to check the shipping costs for any hatchery because they can add up quickly.
You may also notice that shipping a smaller order can cost more than twice the amount of shipping larger orders. From heat packs and specialized packaging, it takes more resources to keep a small number of chicks comfortable during the shipping process.
Some orders, on the other hand, are shipped for free.
It may not seem like much, but having resources that help you as you start your chicken farming journey goes a long way. Many new chicken owners struggle due to a lack of information.
Some hatcheries will provide you with information on how to take the best care of your chicks, and some even have communities that you can turn to for more support.
Any guarantee that a hatchery can offer works in your favor. Whether this is a guarantee that the chicks will arrive alive, or that they will be a specific sex.
Guarantees don’t mean that things won’t go wrong, they simply mean that the hatchery goes to a lot of trouble to ensure you get exactly what you pay for. Keep in mind that even the best hatcheries won’t offer certain guarantees such as hatching rates of eggs.
Ohio has a long history of chicken keeping and it’s no surprise that many top hatcheries are located in this state.
You can get hatcheries that cater to different tastes whether you’re looking for everyday heritage breeds and hybrids or some of the rarest chickens in the world.
You have the option of working with big names in the poultry business or small operations that are just coming up.
Choosing the right hatchery isn’t about going with the most well-known name. Quite often, the best hatchery is simply the one that’s closest to you.