Cackle Hatchery

southern_magnolia(8)May 5, 2009

Has anyone ordered from Cackle Hatchery? What was your experience? Six weeks ago I placed an order for chickens, ducks and geese. They were due to arrive yesterday. When the shipment did not come I tried to call the hatchery. The lines were busy the entire day, and I do mean the entire day. I tried going through their website, with no luck. Today after trying the entire day, I got their after hours answering service and received the message to not ask about an order as they were doing their best to fill orders. I could leave a message requesting a catalog only. However, the answering machine was full and no longer taking messages.

So, my credit card has been charged, I did not get my order and have no way other than writing a fax to get in touch with them. I seriously doubt they would read a fax, based on their level of customer service.

Am I ripped off or what? I am so upset. Advice from anyone?

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I live about 25 miles from Cackle Hatchery.I don't think you are ripped off.They were really backed up on orders a month ago.Your order will come,maybe just later.They were backordered on Ameracaunas if that is what you ordered,that could be the reason.Posy Pet

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 7:06PM
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Thanks so much for letting me know. I had to take a day from work to go to the post office and wait for chicks to arrive. When it was a no show I had to take off another day. I can't afford to take the third day, so when the chicks come, they will have to sit at the post office from 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM. I hope all my chicks, ducks and geese will be ok. And thanks again!!! You made me feel better.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 8:57PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Cackle has a great reputation and has been around for many years. I'd suspect that they are just hyper busy getting chicks out so the phones suffer. :) Although it sucks to be taking so much time off work!

I'm sure the PO will call you when the chicks arrive, even if it's 2AM--no one can ignore that peeping box of chicks, Heavens knows! *L*

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 2:39AM
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Just wanted to let everyone know... my box of joy arrived. I am so happy to get them. I have 48 chicks, 6 geese and 6 ducks. They are all absolutely beautiful. One peep was DOA and another seems weak. Other than that, things are just perfect. I have raised chicks for several years and have bought grown geese and baby ducks. Having three species to raise is going to be a hoot. Thanks for your encouraging words. Life is good again!!!!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 5:51PM
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My chicks and geese are dieing. I have lost 4 baby chicks and now a baby goose has died. The chicks, ducks and geese all have their seperate boxes, complete with wood shavings and a heat lamp. They have plenty of food and water. I am constantly checking, but do not handle them except when changing the beding.
The first chick was dead on arrival, 3 more have died and now a goose, all in 4 days. They seemed healthy, so I don't know what went wrong.

This is not my first time to raise poultry, but my first time to have such bad luck. I have tried to get Cackle Hatchery by phone, email and fax. Phone lines are busy, email doesn't go through and the fax # just keeps ringing and does not go through. Does anyone have an idea as to what I should do? I am so heartbroken, as I really love these little guys.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 9:35PM
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Hi southern magnolia, Did you use this e-mail:

I am sorry to hear about all your losses - I had problems this year with a hatchery, not Cackle, I lost nine - but the hatchery replaced. What a sad time for you :( I understand how you feel. You could try sending them a certified letter letting them know of your losses w/a phone# so that they can contact you and also letting them know of the problems that you are having in contacting them by e-mail, fax and phone. They would have to sign for the letter - at least you would know that they had received your letter - no gauarantees, just a thought that I had. I hope this is of some help. Oh and another thought - have you tried to fax or e-mail after hours? Maybe it would go through and then they would contact you the next business day or two?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 11:03PM
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Fantastic idea! I will send a certified letter. Whether they replace or not, who knows!! I am so unimpressed with their customer service. We had always used McMurray, but they required an order of 25 geese. Cackle lets you place small orders and are much cheaper as well. Guess I learned a lesson, stick with what works.

It is amazing how quickly you can become emotionally involved with the little guys. The last two years I bought my chicks at a poultry auction. They were a little older and did great. These chicks, ducks and geese are so tiny and helpless looking. Husband and I will probably be up most of the night checking on them. Hope we don't fall asleep in church tomorrow.

I really appreciate your help. I am so glad I found this forum and am able to connect with such a knowledgable, friendly group.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 11:58PM
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I lost a bunch of birds this spring, I didn't order from cackle though, it was another hatchery. I lost a total of 5 chicks, one duck and one turkey poult. :( They did refund my money on the ones I told them about that were doa or died within 48 hours. I just wish they had used heating packs, because the temperatures got really cold when they had shipped them.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 2:41PM
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So sorry to hear of your bad luck with the baby poultry. It doesn't help now, but in future, you might want to consider Ideal Poultry in Cameron, Texas. We live just down the road a piece from them and got our chicks there--all survived and are laying eggs like crazy! They ship, and I believe they do not have a minimum order, but include a few "freebies" to keep the others warm. They have a good website, and are customer friendly.
Anyone who enjoys and cares for their poultry as you do deserves a good experience!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 8:03AM
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Magnolia, Was just thinking about you - have you heard back from Cackle yet?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Well, no more lost chicks or goslings. I sent Cackle a certified letter Monday morning, but no answer yet. I had hoped for an email, but it could be a little early to get a response. Based on the customer service so far, I doubt I will get a response.

I like the suggestion to try Ideal. My next great adventure will be to try my hand with baby turkeys. I will check out Ideal for that.

After my escapade with Eleanor the goose and convincing a vet to treat her for worms, I am very much indebted to all of you. My vet did not suggest worming Eleanor, but I insisted because of what I had learned on this board. It seemed to solve her problem and she is happily ruling the barnyard with her husband Theodore.

This is my fourth year of farm life and I totally, totally love it. I feel like I've found a secret part of myself that I didn't know existed. One more year till retirement and I will be home at GloryBe Farm, full time. Can't wait!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 9:09PM
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Believe me, retiring to a farm is a wonderful way to spend your golden years (as long as you don't mind hard work, sweating and taking time to wave to passing neighbors!). You will be so happy to be a full-timer.
If you want to see our little farm and what we are doing, including pictures of our hens, our website is and make yourself welcome at Red Gate Farm. We aren't selling anything--just want to share our wonderful experiences!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 8:05AM
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It has been 10 days since I sent Cackle Hatchery a certified letter.No response. Since then another gosling and a chick have died. One of my cuckoos has a leg that sticks straight out. I inspected it and two of its toes are turned the wrong way.
I don't want to run down anyone's business, but wow, this is not a place for customer service. Really, I don't expect to get a refund, or replacements. I am just sad that a hatchery has such poor business practices.

I must be under a dark cloud. Monday something attacked and killed my two toulese geese, Eleanor and Theodore. My pekin ducks were also killed. We have no idea what predator did this. There were no tracks. Whatever it was ate the head of the geese, which might give a clue to the more experienced farmer. We live in an area surrounded by a forest. We have seen bobcats and possums before.
All my hens live in a very large fenced in area that is covered. So far they have been safe.
I am really bummed out about this and have cried my eyes out. Hopefully this new group of geese and ducks will make it. They will live in an enclosed area. No more free ranging for my sweeties.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 6:08PM
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If they only took the heads it could be an owl.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 6:25PM
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lots of things will take just the head. You have to keep them safe at night.

ducks and geese do not want to go indoors at night and tend to get killed at night.

chickens tend to go into a hen house at night and stay safe. It must be a very solid house. no cracks or ability to dig inside etc. Mine had a solid plywood floor. solid all around.

new hatches do not eat so can be shipped however they make a product that holds water so as to get them to take in water after you receive them. If you had the right product you might not have lost any birds. this product is sold exactly for the problem you had.

Texas is just a long delivery. The problem is not the birds. it is the travel and distance. They arrive dehydrated. They must take in a lot of water quick.

Big geese can fight off preditors some. However, when they sit on the nest they will die. the preditor will eat their head on the nest. The goose and duck will not leave the nest and will die. It is terrible. They must be locked up tight at night. and ducks and geese do not want to sleep in a house. They want to be outdoors. A real problem.

Fox will do it and they are extremely hard to stop or catch. You are in big trouble if you have fox, cayotes.

Massachusetts has mountain lions. Try to stop that and you break the laws. Any mountain lion is much more valuable then some chickens ducks and geese.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 3:21AM
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awww I feel so bad for you!! Hopefully you will be able to save and protect the rest of the flocks.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 8:33PM
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I can understand your frustration. I have ordered from the hatchery 2 times this year and each time was a very pleasant experience. It did take a long time to get through but I did. The woman i spoke to was awesome.. she knew so much! She was so happy and cheerful I wish i could remember her name and recommend her to you guys, I asked her about the DOA ( dead on arrival) she said that they offer you a full refund or a reship. And she said that if any of my babies were looking sick to call back fax or email and someone will get back to you and they can help you get them back in good health and if the reps couldn't figure it out that they had a poultry expert who could!! Well i got my order followed my care sheet and everything went great! I faxed in one day when i couldn't reach them to make an order for guineas and they got back to me that day they told me that they had 9 PHONE LINES and they never stopped, I feel for the girls I couldn't do what they do! After getting some information on them I had to think it over and talk to my husband about it. I then placed an order online and got a conformation back in 5 days( I was expecting 10! because of how busy they are). I am really impressed with the service and I will order again! Mongolia as a suggestion you may want to fax them and have them call you and even though it has been awhile Im sure they will understand and help you out.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 9:18PM
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southern_magnolia -

Have you ever heard back from Cackle Hatchery?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:58PM
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I feel bad for you losing your birds to predators, Magnolia! It could have also been a raccoon, I had one sneak in when I was late closing up my birds at night, it had killed a bunch of my guinea poults that had been enclosed behind chicken wire. We are having more problems this year because my husband hasn't gotten the tractor from his dad yet, and our one lawn mower we have (it's a crappy old sears push mower) takes forever to mow, and the grass is super high, we have a lot of area to mow and you gotta be careful when you mow because if it's too tall it'll stall the mower. We have a lot of brush and grass growing up closer to the house than normal, so this gives the predators a lot more cover than usual. I had a fox try to snatch a guinea hen this year, and that has never happened ever! Maybe try to keep everything mowed, and keep the brush down so they don't have many places to hide.

I also do this to get my guineas in at night if they are being a pain in the butt going inside (they would rather roost in the trees). I either don't feed them much or at all in the mornings when I let them out. Then when it's getting late, I rattle the feed bucket and they follow me right inside the coop where they know they'll get fed. Or, to train them to go inside, I get two long sticks, and herd them into the coop. It helps to have feed in there already, so they stay in the coop when you get them in there. I can't let any of my birds stay outside at night, or else they may be gone in the morning, permanently. We have a dog, but he takes off if we let him loose, and he knows how to dig under husband built him a nice big enclosed run, and what does he do, he digs under it, takes off, then eats road kill and returns the next day. Grr!!
Such is farm life, you never know what's gonna happen. There's always something nutty going on, lol! Even though there are some serious disappointments and bad stuff that happens, there is a lot of fun stuff too, I always enjoy watching my birds, and it's so cool to see the hens hatch a new brood. I love being able to sometimes hear a whippoorwill in the distance, and taking a walk in the woods and see everything all lush and green. This spring we even found some morels!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 2:54PM
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I have received several private emails regarding my cackle hatchery experience. So sorry, but my server (netzero) has fire walls galore and I am not able to answer you. So, just to bring everyone up to date, it has been a month since I sent Cackle a letter. No response whatsoever. I tried calling again today and the line was busy. I tried emailing them from work, but it bounced back. So, I wrote another letter and sent it certified. I will be notified when someone signs to receive the letter. This is the second certified letter. First one, husband didn't pay the extra postage to get a return receipt. But, it probably would not have made a difference.
One of the cuckoos and one pekin duck have very bad legs. The duck is splayed, but the cuckoo's leg sticks straight out, no bend in it at all. Imagine the letter "L", thats how it looks. I wish the little guy would go to chicken heaven as he can't stand unless he props himself against something.
Altogether, from this order I have lost 2 geese and 6 chicks. This was a large order ($184) for me, but probably small by most standards.

One other thing, we discovered our dog dug under the fence and went into the barn yard. She was the culprit that killed my geese and ducks. She had killed poultry before. The dog had hip displaysia, and the vet said it was time to put her down. Guess that solves that problem, but I sure miss my dog.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 7:47PM
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I did some investigating for you and sent an e-mail to Cackle Hatchery, this is what I said: I have been to your website and browsed extensively,I like what I see, however I have a farmer friend that ordered from you and she has had many problems with her chick-dying from day one of delivery and so on. She has tried to contact you in several ways, including a certified letter and after 2 months she has still not heard from you and her problem has not been resolved. My concern is that if I order from you, is that the treatment I should expect? I hope that someone will reply to this e-mail in a positive and timely manner-I am wanting to purchase from you, but after hearing about the above problem you can understand my concern.

Six Days later I received this reply(from CackleHatchery): Thank you for taking the time to ask me about this. We have been swamped with orders this year. We appreciate that but makes it hard to give the customer service that we would like to give. I don't remember getting a certified letter but that don't mean that I didn't. Tell them to be patient and if they don't hear in a week or 2, to send an e-mail or have you (me)send one.

This is then signed by: Nancy (from Cacklehatchery)

Sorry that this was so long - but I wanted you to know what was said on both sides. I just wanted to try and help you in anyway that I could. Let me know if I can be of anymore help The e-mail from them (cacklehatchery) was received on June 2.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 10:38PM
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Nelda, You are a love! Thank you so much. I am amazed that someone would do this for a stranger.

We will see if Cackle responds to the second certified letter. I have heard a lot of good things about Cackle and if this problem is resolved I might consider ordering again next spring. I can understand they are flooded with orders, but a business has a responsibility to provide service. Maybe the moral of this story is to not extend yourself to the point that you neglect customers.

Thanks again. I tried to email you directly, but the firewall my server has will not allow it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 12:12AM
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did you guys ever try faxing them? You should get i quick response... it did with me anyway... Im not sure on the number but i am sure it is on their site somewhere.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 12:33AM
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Hey you, no thanks needed -but you are welcome. I am glad to help out - you are not a stranger! You are a fast friend. Just let me know what I can do to help - yes, we will see if they respond to you and if they don't I will e-mail them for you. Why they are e-mailing so quickly? and not you? Who knows - maybe they just want my business - but it does not matter! Actually, It might be a good thing - maybe I really will order from them if they will just do the right thing and fix your problem - I too understand they are swamped - but good business (customer service) has to count, it has to become a priority. I will PM you on a different e-mail if I can, as soon as I figure out how to do that - if not just keep me informed from here-put it on your calendar-2 weeks from now or sooner.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 1:13AM
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Hello all. I ordered from Cackle Hatchery back in Jan. of this year. The Credit Card was charged immediately (of course). Cackle Hatchery advertised blue cochins. I bought and paid for blue cochins. After weeks go by...I tried to call them and I either never got an answer or I always got the run around. It was always some excuse to way they could not send my order. Finally months later I got 6 Blue Cochins with 24 Black Cochins!!! I can not get Cackle Hatchery to respond at all now!
So buyer beware of Cackle Hatchery!!!!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:20AM
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I bought 6 baby chicks from My Pet Chicken hatchery just 1 week ago and they are all doing great, eating and drinking and pooping. Try them next time for small orders, they are in Ct. and they arrived when they said they would...
The postman special delivered them to the house.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 12:35PM
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update.......Garden web is great!!!
Steve with Cackle hatchery contacted me and said that he hand picked 28 blue cochins and were shipped 07/22/10.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:48AM
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I have ordered from a variety of hatcheries, as well as hatched my own chicks over the years. In general, I have found chicks from Murray McMurray to be the most vigorous. Perhaps this is because their breeding stock is so hardy? Sometimes, however, the chicks are not true to breed. If that's not an issue for you, then it doesn't matter. I have ordered specific breeds from Cackle that I could not get elsewhere. I got chicks this spring (2010) from them. Some were actually showable when they matured, but they were not very hardy. I ordered 24, they shipped 28. Three were DOA, 3 more died the first week, one was blind from the start, but I saved him and he's a nice bird, another has a wry tail. Judging by their wing feathers I believe some of the babies may have been older than 2 or 3 days when they were shipped, perhaps to fill my special order, and being in transit just was more stress than they could take. Also, show quality birds are generally more fragile as chicks. I didn't have to contact Cackle, but unless I got a wrong order I probably wouldn't have done so anyway. With the blue Cochins, you do know that only some birds from a blue line are actually blue, right? Some are black and some are white.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 4:42PM
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I know you said you have raised chicks in the past with success. However, you mentioned wood chips. Are the wood chips cedar? Cedar is toxic. Just thought I would ask. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 3:10PM
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We ordered bantams from Cackle this year (first time to try them - we normally order from Murray McMurray or purchase from our farm supply store in town). I have raised chicks for many years and have never had trouble like this. We lost 6 chicks (out of 30) the first 1 1/2 weeks. These little guys were quite weak, failed to gain and thrive - were not active from the start. I used the same vitamin ratio I always use with chicks - normally to great success as I believe it helps get them over the stress of shipping sooner. The failing chicks were frequently pasted up and required much attention.(Pasting is not uncommon, but I have not seen it in my previous chicks past their first couple of days at home). While the rest are now doing quite well, I will not order from this hatchery again. I found the customer service to be friendly when I ordered. I too, found that some of my chicks appeared to be older than advertised as indicated by feathers.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 10:30PM
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i ordered from cackle almost two weeks ago havent heard anthing from them. i order form mcmurray also in the past. i am really worried now about getting my chicks.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:31PM
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So sorry to hear you have not heard back from Cackle Hatchery. My experience was horrible. Most of my geese and ducks died. My Rhode Island Reds were some sort of a bantam mix. After two registered letters, and numerous attempts to reach them by phone, email, etc. I finally got a representative on the line. She said the reason my RIRs looked different was because they sold a commercial breed, not a domestic breed. What hog wash!! I lost most of my order as they were not healthy enough to live.

I have raised a lot of poultry, but that was the worst of the worst. For myself, I could not recommend them to anyone.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 9:03PM
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tammysf(9b/10a or sz15/16)

Ordered from cackle this spring and got my chicks end of April. Ordered 15 bantams and got 17. First time having chickens. No casualties and beautiful birds. Also very friendly and let my 22 month old and 3.5 year old hold them.

They are now 7 weeks old.

I would def. Order from them again.

A lot can happen during shipping..

Here is a link that might be useful: My chicks

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 1:57AM
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I ordered 65 chicks (rare breeds) from Cackle Hatchery and when they arrived they were jam packed into 3 compartments with 30+ chicks smashed/crowded into the 1 compartment of a 4 compartment box for the 65 + chicks. There were 30 of them which were dead on arrival. I contacted the company immediately and they said they would replace them. Today I am waiting for the shipment date of arrival tomorrow or the next day. From the 65+ chicks I have 10 live ones after two months. I have followed all the directions to a "T" and hopefully will not have any more losses. I tried Sulmet, vinegar water,as they suggested,and then put them on antibiotics which seemed to work somewhat. I just read an article where the author had experienced the same problem and he advised to keep the chicks on medicated chick starter mash until adulthood.
I will try this..............time will tell.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 6:54PM
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littledog(z7 OK)

How true Tammy. I've seen boxes of live baby chicks sitting on one of those luggage carts outside on the tarmac waiting to be loaded on the plane for a couple of hours in the hot Oklahoma sun. (we were waiting on a plane to land, so had plenty of time to sit around and watch the airline carelessly abuse baby birds)

There are several causes of bent legs.
Congenital; which isn't likely or they would have been crippled when you first opened the box. It's extremely rare for a hatchery to send out a chick like that, because the condition is so noticeable they're culled at the hatchery.

Poor footing; if the birds are trying to walk on a slick surface, (like newspaper or straw) their legs can slip out from under them stressing their tendons and they'll end up permanently crippled.

Or, most likely, feeding issues: this shows up when the birds are several weeks old. People are advised to use a medicated starter to prevent cocci, but waterfowl especially eat too much and overdose on it. The active ingredient destroys the B vitamins which leads to slipped tendons and weak joints. Baby chicks can end up with curled toes as well as bent legs. If you're giving medicated chick starter do NOT add anything else to the water, and if you have waterfowl, get a bag of Purina Flock Starter which is not medicated. Perfect for guineas, ducks, geese, turkeys (and chicks)

I've been raising chickens for over 25 years now, and I'm sorry to tell you that after the first 72 hours, if you have dying baby birds it's probably your own fault, *maybe* you can blame stress from shipping, but certainly not the hatchery. And for the person who was wondering, no, hatcheries don't hold over chicks from week to week to make up a special order. The chick has about a 72 hour window after hatching that it can be shipped without food or water because it's still digesting the yolk that was absorbed into it's abdomen right before hatching. When you have birds with longer feathers than others in a batch of straight run chicks, they're probably from two different lines, one that is slow feathering, the other fast feathering. They're both useful to keep around because when crossing the males of one line over the females of the other because in many cases you can feather sex the males from the females as soon as they hatch.

And, FWIW, the first chicks I ever ordered came from Cackle, and over the years I've ordered from them several times at different times of the year. Always arrived healthy and lively and spaced correctly in the box. I recommend them to anyone looking to start out in chickens with a breed that isn't available at the local feed store. McMurray is also good, though a tad more pricey. between the two, you can get a start in just about any breed you fancy, and while they won't be top show quality birds, they'll MOL look like what they're supposed to be.
Magnolia, the people at Cackle told you their RIR are "commercial" or "production" stock because they are. That's what ALL hatcheries carry as a RIR. There is no such thing as a "domestic" class of chickens, just commercial (production) and show quality. No hatchery carries show quality RIR because the breed is difficult to get right according to the Standard of Perfection, and it's not worth their trouble selling chicks as cheaply as they do. That doesn't mean they aren't RIR, only that you should expect faults. As they say, You gets what you pays for. ;^) If you're looking for real RIR, contact the RIR club and ask for a breeder's list.

Here is a link that might be useful: Feather sexing chicks

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 6:27PM
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"I've been raising chickens for over 25 years now, and I'm sorry to tell you that after the first 72 hours, if you have dying baby birds it's probably your own fault, *maybe* you can blame stress from shipping, but certainly not the hatchery."

I have to respectfully disagree that the hatchery cannot be blamed. Granted, with many hatcheries that is true, but Cackle has the worst reputation in the nation for sending out sick and infected chicks. There are even necropsy done by vets confirming this - but Cackle continues to ignore the faxed reports, emails, letters, and/or phone calls. What makes this really bad is not only does this result in you waking up and finding yet another one of the chicks you just bought dead every day or so until they are all dead, but that it will also spread to your existing flock and depending on your operation, could end up costing you hundreds of dollars, if not more, to get it all cleaned up. Cackle is super friendly...that is, until they get your hard earned dollars. But as soon as your money hits their hands, their customer service becomes non-existent.

It's sad, because years ago Cackle used to be one of the best in the business, IMHO. Three generations of my family have purchased many a bird from Cackle over the years and customer service was always top-notch even after the sale. But in recent years the company has gone completely down hill, and for the safety of our farm we can no longer risk doing business with them. Unfortunately that's what happens to many a business when the founder is no longer around and those that take over have no ethics. :(

When it comes to buying animals, I can't stress enough to DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BUY. Ask around. Check the BBB. Search the net to see if others who have done business with the business have had any problems, unresolved or otherwise. Ask the business or seller if testing has been done (tests depend on the species), and if so, make sure you get to see the actual lab results (too many a person's word no longer means what it used to) BEFORE you hand over one red cent. This goes for private sales too. Because the last thing you want are sick or diseased animals on your property.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 10:35PM
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