Cackle Hatchery


13 Years
Apr 1, 2011
Southern Maine
I was going to order ducklings from Cackle Hatchery this spring, but I have read that they are having some health issues.
There is quite a bit to this story, so please excuse me if I jump from one thing to the next. It all ties in, I promise!

About 2 years ago, I bought 18 turkeys to raise for Thanksgiving. I have done this for 10+ years and never had a problem. But those turkeys started dying off once they were about 1/2 grown. I asked the feed store about it (I always get them from the same feed store) and they said they hadn't heard any other reports. SO I sent a dead bird to the state to have it tested. It came back positive for black lung (I think that's what its called). They told me that they either get it from being house with chickens, or they hatch with it. I house all of my birds separately for these reasons, so I figured it was something they came with. That Thanksgiving, I only had 2 turkeys left. I figured it was a freak thing and forgot about it.

I also get my chickens and ducks from the same feed store. I only have about 12 chickens. I am more into the ducks now so I just have a few hens for eggs for my family. I've never had a problem with their chickens though.

But I bought 24 ducks from them last spring. All were healthy and are fine and living to this day. I wanted to order more for this year, but started looking into hatcheries just to see if they offered different ducks than the ones my feed store gets.

That's when I found the information about Cackle Hatchery. I read that they have a bad strain of Ecoli (black lung too). People who have ordered from them have birds dying left and right. And any birds they had before they got new chicks are dying too, which means it is easily spread! But it seems like not everyone is having this problem as there are many positive comments about their hatchery as well.

I happened to call my feed store to see where they get their chicks, and they said Cackle! They've been ordering from them for YEARS! (I never knew or thought to ask!) So that explains what happened to my turkeys a few years back!
But here's my main question, I was going to get more ducklings from them this spring. Even though I've never had a problem with their ducks, should I even risk it? The last post I could find about the disease going around at Cackle was posted in August 2011. Even though that was months ago, do you guys think it's worth the risk? I want to get more anconas and possibly some blue swedish. I would order from Metzers because I've always had EXCELLENT service with them, but they don't offer anconas.

Any thoughts on this matter would be great! Sorry for such a long story!
I have been ordering all types of breeds from Cackle for over 40 years. Not once have I ever had a problem with my animals. I don't bank on what other people say because you never know about cross contamination through the feed stores or the travels along the way. We plan the trip down to pick up our birds just for this reason. Luckly we live close enough to make the trip and I believe it makes all the difference in the world. I personally find it hard to believe a hatchery that has been in business for 75 years is riddled with disease. If you do some research you will see how much testing each flock has to go through just at the state level. Just a thought.

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