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Cackle Hatchery and purebred

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Here I am asking questions again, sorry if that becomes a bit cumbersome but I want to be sure I am ready before I get my birds as I want to make sure I know what I want and can accommodate them all comfortably. I have already asked questions and been informed about space requirement, breeds, purebred vs mix vs sex link, breeder vs hatchery, what to feed my birds and you name it. 

 

A little background, my chicken craze started when my mother got some chicks from the local feed store "Australorps, RIRs and Barred rocks". Well, she asked me to come over and build a brooder as the rabbit hutch she had from my childhood was not up to par and my father was working. After a few hours we had something that would suffice and my father built her a coop over the next few weeks. I have decided that I don't want to go this route, I want to be ready with oversize brooder and a comfortable coop as well as being equipped with the knowledge necessary to allow my chickens to not only survive but thrive in comfort, at least until they reach the chopping block if that is to be their destiny. My initial goal is to start with 48 chickens of two breeds and expand from there, yes I want a lot of birds and yes I have the room for them, plenty of room. Paying for feed has been estimated thanks to the kind folks on this forum and will not be a problem but I can't wait for egg production and sales as the chickens becoming somewhat more self sufficient and being able to pay for their own feed at least to an extent is something I find exciting. I live in a good hillbilly town where auctions and flea markets are the norm and a great place to sell eggs, chicks, full grown chicks and you name it. I also live close enough to the city for street markets, eco markets, farmers markets and you name it. 

 

Okay, that out of the way lets get down to my questions and why they matter to me. 

 

I have been searching for the right place to buy chickens for my needs and have decided on a hatchery. From my research it is both much easier and a bit cheaper to go this route. It allows for sexing and no long waiting lists. After reading reviews here and checking the web Cackle seems the most logical to me as they have a pretty good reputation, have a decent website, have answered questions for me over the past weeks, have decent pricing and much more. That said, I am a little curious about their stock. From what I understand they get in fertilized eggs and hatch them. These eggs come from different breeders so your chicks may likely come from different bloodlines. However if you read their site they claim that their birds are purebred. Nowhere that I can find do they claim to breed to standard or that they have show birds. The seem to be open about the fact that they breed for production qualities. But this leads me to my question. I have read in other threads that it is likely in the past that many hatcheries add in the bloodline of a very similar but different breed of chicken to up the production qualities of a bird and then breed back for looks. So, by ordering from Cackle am I getting purebred birds or are they likely mixed? 

 

Moving on but staying close to this topic; I have read on other hatchery websites that they offer awards, certificates and even gift cards if the birds you get from them win a show. From my understanding, this shows just how rare it is to get a show quality bird from a hatchery or I don't think they could afford to do that. However I would assume that if the possibility exists this does in fact mean that the birds are at least purebred even if not bred to standard. I am not looking for show birds I am simply curious if my birds will be purebred or not. 

 

The reason I am so interested in making sure that I get purebred birds is that I intend to keep my breeds separate for hatching my own chicks. Their use will be for eggs and meat and possibly if I hatch some extra take a few to the market or auction but that is less likely as I have a lot of family and friends that are into chickens and would love to get some as a gift. That said, I would still like to start my little backyard poultry project to breed the birds that I have to sustain my flock and in doing so try to keep the stock as strong and true as I possibly can with hatchery lineage. I have no illusions that the birds will be anything other than close to their hatchery quality parents and grandparents year after year as I understand that it takes generations to make a difference but for me it is a possibility of a life long project, I am still young and this seems like a way to have fun passing the time while entertaining myself with chickens, filling my belly and maybe selling some eggs on the side. 

 

Anyway, any general information that you can give me or information regarding the heritage of said hatchery birds would be much appreciated. 

 

PS: I didn't add what breeds I am interested in. To start I want some Silver Laced Wayndottes and Buff Orpingtons. I want to add two breeds after each season eventually adding Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Barred rocks, Black Australorps and Dominiques to the mix. 

 

Thank you in advance and I apologize about the lengthy round about way of asking a question. It is just that on other hobbiest forums they always ask to give the most details one can about your desire and why you are asking a question so I thought I would do that here as well. 

post #2 of 9

If you want to raise a quality dual purpose bird for meat and eggs then don't get them from a hatchery. If your goal is more oriented on selling eggs and not having cockerels then go with a hatchery and get sexed pullets or sex link birds. Sex links have many names depending on cross or hatchery but all are 100% accurate sexing by color at hatch. This is a one time thing but guarantees females. Hatchery birds are bred and cross bred for better egg laying. They wont have good carcasses for meat quality but you can eat any chicken. 

 

You'll need to evaluate what your real goal is. A sustainable flock or an egg laying flock or a "pure bred"/standard bred dual purpose flock. Basically ask yourself how much chicken do you want to butcher and if you only want meat that can be broiled or if stew or pot pie type dishes are more to your liking. If your against stew birds then perhaps your should think of a layer flock for high egg production and less feed intake and then raise a batch or two of meat birds (broilers). I mention this as you were keen on having sexed birds which implies you don't want cockerels or very few. The fact of the matter is half of hatched chicks are male. Are you going to cull these birds for eating? Or is purchasing new layers from the feed store or hatchery every few years more akin to your goal. No males and lower feed consuming layers like Leghorn if your market likes extra large/jumbo white eggs or a production red or red sex link if your market likes extra large/jumbo brown eggs. In this scenario you'd have retired layers you'd cull for stew birds- gumbo, pot pie, dumplings. enchiladas, etc. Later you could try a small batch of meat birds that inexpensive straight run and butchered anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks of age. That will be the exact type of chicken you purchase at the store. Dual purpose and layer birds have different portions of white to dark meat, texture of meat and thickness of breast then your used to. Different breeds have different meat texture from fine to coarse. The age of the bird when butchered effects texture and flavor as it's more muscle. 

 

In a nut shell you should really evaluate your goal. Determine what kind of flock you want. Nothing says that has to stay the same forever but to start with. Plain and simple hatcheries do not have standard bred birds unless a conservancy. Hatcheries have the best layers and best hybrid meat birds. If you want a dual purpose breed look for a reputable breeder and do your homework on the breed. For example Plymouth Rock was a corner stone bird in the meat industry but that's as a bird used to cross not as a meat bird in itself. New Hampshire is an excellent choice for dual purpose bird in my opinion. Fine texture meat lovers might go with Dorking, smaller carcass but excellent table bird. Asiatic class birds are course meat texture; Brahma is an example- very large bird bu perhaps not a great choice for meat quality.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Egghead_Jr View Post
 

If you want to raise a quality dual purpose bird for meat and eggs then don't get them from a hatchery. If your goal is more oriented on selling eggs and not having cockerels then go with a hatchery and get sexed pullets or sex link birds. Sex links have many names depending on cross or hatchery but all are 100% accurate sexing by color at hatch. This is a one time thing but guarantees females. Hatchery birds are bred and cross bred for better egg laying. They wont have good carcasses for meat quality but you can eat any chicken. 

 

You'll need to evaluate what your real goal is. A sustainable flock or an egg laying flock or a "pure bred"/standard bred dual purpose flock. Basically ask yourself how much chicken do you want to butcher and if you only want meat that can be broiled or if stew or pot pie type dishes are more to your liking. If your against stew birds then perhaps your should think of a layer flock for high egg production and less feed intake and then raise a batch or two of meat birds (broilers). I mention this as you were keen on having sexed birds which implies you don't want cockerels or very few. The fact of the matter is half of hatched chicks are male. Are you going to cull these birds for eating? Or is purchasing new layers from the feed store or hatchery every few years more akin to your goal. No males and lower feed consuming layers like Leghorn if your market likes extra large/jumbo white eggs or a production red or red sex link if your market likes extra large/jumbo brown eggs. In this scenario you'd have retired layers you'd cull for stew birds- gumbo, pot pie, dumplings. enchiladas, etc. Later you could try a small batch of meat birds that inexpensive straight run and butchered anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks of age. That will be the exact type of chicken you purchase at the store. Dual purpose and layer birds have different portions of white to dark meat, texture of meat and thickness of breast then your used to. Different breeds have different meat texture from fine to coarse. The age of the bird when butchered effects texture and flavor as it's more muscle. 

 

In a nut shell you should really evaluate your goal. Determine what kind of flock you want. Nothing says that has to stay the same forever but to start with. Plain and simple hatcheries do not have standard bred birds unless a conservancy. Hatcheries have the best layers and best hybrid meat birds. If you want a dual purpose breed look for a reputable breeder and do your homework on the breed. For example Plymouth Rock was a corner stone bird in the meat industry but that's as a bird used to cross not as a meat bird in itself. New Hampshire is an excellent choice for dual purpose bird in my opinion. Fine texture meat lovers might go with Dorking, smaller carcass but excellent table bird. Asiatic class birds are course meat texture; Brahma is an example- very large bird bu perhaps not a great choice for meat quality.

My goal is really a mix of things. I want purebred dual-purpose birds for meat and eggs that are self sufficient. My grandfather raised Rhode Island Reds (from the feed store) when I was a child and we ate them at about 16 weeks, both cocks and hens. We fried them, roasted them and put them on the spit. I would like to rejuvenate my stock by hatching rather than buying new every few years. 

 

The problem with buying from a breeder is finding a breeder that is either close or ships sexed chicks for a reasonable price and are of breeds that interest me. Many of the breeders I have found are either highly expensive or have a waiting least over a season long or simply do not have stock.

 

So the problem is that I do want them to truly be dual-purpose as is stated. From what I have read breeder birds lay less and hatchery birds are less meaty. Finding a happy medium is what I would like to do. Basically sufficient farming. 

 

As for how many to butcher my math puts it at just over 200 a year. As for size, that is not a worry as long as they are at least edible. Small like those little things you get from a shop that sells rotisserie chicken is fine by me. Those seem to be a couple pounds at best. The RIRs my grandfather raised were at least bigger than that.

 

Like I said, still taking suggestions and appreciate the advice. Thank you!

 

Edit: I guess I should add that by purebred I mean that I simply want them to resemble the breed rather than meeting the standard. I don't mind if their earlobes are wattles are a little off etc as my belly wont know the difference. In which case, why does it matter if they are purebred? I don't know, just the way my brain works I guess. So in a nutshell I want them to be edible, lay eggs and resemble the breed that they should but they need not be show worth in any way shape or form. 

 

And again, thank you. 


Edited by K813ZRA - 4/14/16 at 4:24am
post #4 of 9
Q

 

Like I said, still taking suggestions and appreciate the advice. Thank you!

 

Edit: I guess I should add that by purebred I mean that I simply want them to resemble the breed rather than meeting the standard. I don't mind if their earlobes are wattles are a little off etc as my belly wont know the difference. In which case, why does it matter if they are purebred? I don't know, just the way my brain works I guess. So in a nutshell I want them to be edible, lay eggs and resemble the breed that they should but they need not be show worth in any way shape or form. 

 

And again, thank you. 

    There is time and so many choices to be made with chickens.  Perhaps it might be best to start with a few of several breeds and see what happens before making any more choices.  I know over the years there are have been breeds I had such high expectations for and we were sorely disappointed and wouldn't get that breed again.,

    There were other breeds I just wanted to try or to fill an order that I am thrilled I got and am breeding now, breeds I almost didn't get.

     So what I'm saying is maybe start one step at a time and see where it leads you.  All choices don't have to be made up front.  Enjoy the journey.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dekel18042 View Post
 

    There is time and so many choices to be made with chickens.  Perhaps it might be best to start with a few of several breeds and see what happens before making any more choices.  I know over the years there are have been breeds I had such high expectations for and we were sorely disappointed and wouldn't get that breed again.,

    There were other breeds I just wanted to try or to fill an order that I am thrilled I got and am breeding now, breeds I almost didn't get.

     So what I'm saying is maybe start one step at a time and see where it leads you.  All choices don't have to be made up front.  Enjoy the journey.

Thank you, I don't disagree as I said I am only looking to start with two breeds at the moment. My mother already has a mixed flock of chickens that we have been raising for about 8 weeks now. Rhodes Island Reds, Barred rock and Black Australorp is what she has in her flock. When it comes to meat the only thing I can vouch for is the RIRs as we ate those all of the time growing up and they were good eating. 

 

I guess I should clarify why I have made choices on specific birds. I like the Buff Orpingtons for their docile nature and the fact that they go broody or at least that is what the general consensus is. The Wyandottes is simply because I find them attractive. But to be more general about it most of the dual purpose birds seem to, at least on paper, lay a somewhat comparable amount of eggs and dress out at the same weight so I guess to that end it wouldn't much matter. Another factor was when I asked about advice on breeds in another thread my list is what I came to because of their nature as well as most of the birds being pretty hardy for my climate. 

 

I guess I over complicate things as I really should have just asked if Hatchery birds are purebred. Again, I know they are NOT bred to standard and I am 100% fine with that. 

 

Thank you for the advice and sharing your experiences. 

post #6 of 9

I think the short answer to your question is, yes, Cackle Hatchery sells purebred poultry.  A big focus of theirs is supplying 4-H kids with the chicks they need/want, with the understanding that these kids are going to show them as examples of purebred birds.  The birds should at the least look like the breed, hopefully carry some of the standard frame of the breed, and hopefully also have some of the production qualities of the breed. 

I bought 20 Ancona ducklings from Cackle last year.  Were they the best quality?  No.  Were they the cheapest and also of decent quality?  Yes! The markings aren't the most desirable and yet aren't bad, I have mostly big, boat-shaped birds that taste great, lay many, many eggs, and forage, forage, forage.  Just what I was looking for.  My neighbor went in with me on that shipment and bought a small assortment of sexed chicks.  Her hens look all right to me, and her pair of Light Brahmas are nice enough that I'm looking to get some fertilized eggs from her.  I think, for your purposes, you'll be happy with an order of purebred chicks from Cackle or another hatchery.  Have fun!  Making plans, especially poultry plans, is one of the great joys of life.  For me, it's almost more fun to plan things than it is to bring them about.  On the other hand, if you've thought carefully about a plan, and then a year later it works out just like you thought, that's pretty awesome too.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sristi View Post
 

I think the short answer to your question is, yes, Cackle Hatchery sells purebred poultry.  A big focus of theirs is supplying 4-H kids with the chicks they need/want, with the understanding that these kids are going to show them as examples of purebred birds.  The birds should at the least look like the breed, hopefully carry some of the standard frame of the breed, and hopefully also have some of the production qualities of the breed. 

I bought 20 Ancona ducklings from Cackle last year.  Were they the best quality?  No.  Were they the cheapest and also of decent quality?  Yes! The markings aren't the most desirable and yet aren't bad, I have mostly big, boat-shaped birds that taste great, lay many, many eggs, and forage, forage, forage.  Just what I was looking for.  My neighbor went in with me on that shipment and bought a small assortment of sexed chicks.  Her hens look all right to me, and her pair of Light Brahmas are nice enough that I'm looking to get some fertilized eggs from her.  I think, for your purposes, you'll be happy with an order of purebred chicks from Cackle or another hatchery.  Have fun!  Making plans, especially poultry plans, is one of the great joys of life.  For me, it's almost more fun to plan things than it is to bring them about.  On the other hand, if you've thought carefully about a plan, and then a year later it works out just like you thought, that's pretty awesome too.

Thank you for the short answer as I tend to over complicate things. What you said is what I am looking for too, lots of eggs and tasty birds that resemble their breed without going overboard on price.

 

As for the making plans, I too think that part is just as fun as carrying out the plans!

 

You mentioned 4-H as an example. When I was younger I had cousins that were into showing their rabbits and doing the social scene, mine were for meat. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I don't even like car shows and I love cars, lol. I guess I am simple that way, pretty car but still transportation is about the same as a pretty bird in my belly as I can't or at least wont eat ribbons. I guess it is about having fun the way you enjoy.

 

Thanks again.

post #8 of 9

A suggestion would be to try the New Hampshire. If you like the Rhode Island Red for meat then a New Hampshire is just that, a RIR that was bred for meat and faster maturing. 

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

Reply

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

Reply
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Egghead_Jr View Post
 

A suggestion would be to try the New Hampshire. If you like the Rhode Island Red for meat then a New Hampshire is just that, a RIR that was bred for meat and faster maturing. 

Hadn't thought of that, thank you.

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