Eatwell Farm member Rachel, from Sacramento, just sent me this article about unwanted male chicks...
She writes...

Terrible!Do you breed your own chickens?


Here's my response...

The hatchery we have used for the last two batches of chicks is Welp http://www.welphatchery.com/

We normally get our chicks from Vega Farms in Davis. Ed Vega supplies the Raptor center at UC Davis with his unwanted male chicks.

I do understand that this discarding of the males is a dirty little secret of the Hatchery business.

Here's what the problem really is...
Egg breeds are lean mean egg laying machines. All they do is lay eggs. The breeds have no breasts so the males are of no use for meat birds.
The meat birds have been bred to have such large breasts they can hardly walk when they are mature.

Here's what we are doing now...
We have a batch of male Turken chicks in chicken tractors to evaluate the breed for meat production. If they produce a bird that people like to eat and will pay for we will get a batch of females to evaluate them as egg layers. We know they lay a good amount of eggs but not as many as the special breeds we use now. Less egg production means higher costs and more expensive eggs. Our eggs are already the most expensive out there. Turkens are what is called a dual purpose breed (eggs and meat)

The next If... Assuming they produce a nice bird that people like to eat and they lay enough eggs to keep us financially viable we will start a breeding flock and hatch our own eggs. The males will go for meat and the females will lay eggs.
This is the best solution that I can see at the present time.

I will post this on the blog and facebook asking people for their comments.

Thanks for the question and I hope you will see that I am already on it... Nigel