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Murray McMurray vs Cackle

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by MissouriKid, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. MissouriKid

    MissouriKid Out Of The Brooder

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    I am planning on ordering from Murray this year. Has anyone else had trouble with Cackle chicks? They used to be good but it seems their quality control leaves something to desire. I am planning on 15 black Australorps and 10 Dark Cornish chickens both straight run with maybe 15 White Holland turkeys if I have the money from Murray. I know that Cackle is closer to me here in Missouri, but the last time I ordered Australorps from them they wasn't purebred. When I called they said it was my problem not theirs now.
     
  2. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Coincidently, my last order from McMurray (May 2014) was Australorps and Dark Cornish. Their Australorps are fantastic birds, I can't say enough good things about them. In 2010 I purchased 20-some hens from a lady who gets her birds from McMurray, and the Australorps quickly became my favorites of the bunch. Every time I checked the pelvic measurements to determine which birds were laying, all or most of the Australorps easily passed, even later, at 3 and 4 years old. Definitely the best compared to the other breeds in the group of the same age. They are also beautiful birds, with full rounded bodies, small bright red combs, and beautiful black plumage that shimmers green and purple in the sunlight. I loved the Australorps, and so included 6 of them in my 2013 Ideal Poultry order. I was very disappointed, they were obviously mixed with Production Red, the feathers were rusty-colored in the sunlight, and body type and size and tails were all over the map. Obvious crossbreds, I suspect one was part Jersey Giant and another Black Langshan. Went back to McMurray and got some Aussies, and love them, wish I had ordered more. They are beautiful birds and great layers. I've also never had a McMurray Aussie go broody, which to some is a plus.

    My Dark Cornish I haven't been super impressed with, but I haven't had Dark Cornish from any other hatchery to compare. Right off the bat, 2 out of 6 turned out to be roosters. Which really surprised me, because before this I had ordered over 100 chicks from McMurray of various breeds and genders over the years, with 100% sexing accuracy. So evidently this breed is difficult to sex. I ordered these hoping for an excellent forager, good layer, and excellent broody hens that will fiercely protect their babies. Basically I wanted some Old English Games, but the Dark Cornish were the closest thing McMurray sells. As youngsters, raised with the Aussie chicks and some barnyard mix (Buff Orp/Barred Rock/RIR) chicks that their adopted mother had hatched, the Cornish were definitely the first to find and chase down and get any bugs when I moved their pen to a fresh patch of grass. I kept 1 rooster and 3 pullets. Last summer I did a 100% forage lay test. I weaned the flock off the layer pellets, waited two months, and then checked pelvic measurements to determine which ones were laying. (It is worth mentioning that I live on a grass-fed cattle farm, and so the chickens have lots of space and forage over about 20 acres of pasture. I would not suggest trying 100% forage if someone has more than 2 hens per acre. When I withhold the feed, I have found that my hens don't lose much weight at all, what drops is egg production, and the feed bill.) The Barred Rocks and Australorps aced the test. Half of the Buff Orps were laying, and just 1 of the 3 Dark Cornish were laying. The Dark Cornish also never even went broody, when most of my other hens did, so I can't comment on their mothering. I have heard though that hens do tend to go broody more their 3rd summer than their 2nd, so it could be that all three of them go broody this summer, IDK. I am planning to sell them though, and instead get some real Old English Game chicks this spring.

    I have never ordered from Cackle. However my neighbor always did before he moved south, and so I've seen his birds and have also gotten lots of birds and hatching eggs from him several times. Breeds he has had are Buff Orp, Barred Rock, Golden Laced Wyandottes, and Easter Eggers. I haven't been super impressed. The Buff Orps were nice enough, but I don't think any of them ever went broody (compared to my McMurray Buffs I had at the same time, most of which were constantly going broody, which is definitely supposed to be a trait of the breed). Also when crossed with Barred Rocks the pullets legs were white, yellow, willow green, and blue slate, which I read meant that the rooster (Buff Orp) was impure for leg color, all of his progeny should have had white legs. The Barred Rocks seemed nice enough, I never had any of those as purebreds though, only the Buff Orp/Barred Rock crosses. My neighbor ordered 5 Golden Laced Wyandotte pullets and a rooster, meaning to keep them as a breeding flock, but then decided he didn't want to make an additional coop/run, so gave them to me for my mixed layer flock. They were beautiful, I thought the lacing was fairly good for hatchery stock, but 3 out of 5 pullets had single combs. They were excellent broodies and mothers. My biggest complaint is the Cackle Easter Eggers. The chicks I raised from those EEs are the most retarded chickens I have ever had. I had over 30 of them, straight run, and they were absolutely stupid, you would literally have to be careful not to trip over/step on them, because they wouldn't move. My neighbor also gave some Easter Egger roosters to another neighbor who was collecting up the free roosters in the area to butcher, and this other neighbor said the same thing, that they were extremely stupid. I couldn't tell from outside the pen if the parent stock were the same way or not, so it may have just been the chicks, IDK. I free range my birds but my neighbor couldn't, he was in the woods, so his were always penned up for their own safety.
     
  3. MissouriKid

    MissouriKid Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2016
    Salem, Missouri
    I had the australorps before from Cackle and they were good but my dad wanted dominkers and they were terrible, went back to the australorps and they were terrible, have a barnyard mix and my young stock isn't laying. So I told my dad I was going back to the australorps but I was ordering from Murray. The dark cornish was that we could raise a meat bird without it being a scientific disaster with the crosses that has to be AI.
     
  4. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks

    I have raised many batches of straight run chicks of various breeds and crosses and if I had to pick a favorite breed for butchering roosters it would have to be, surprisingly, the Rhode Island Reds (most of which have been from McMurray or were hatched from McMurray parents). The cockerels grow big quickly (bigger/faster than Australorps, Easter Eggers, Dark Cornish, and GL Wyandottes), are fairly well fleshed at butchering age for a hatchery dual-purpose (the RIR cockerels have been plumper at butchering age than every other breed I've had except the Dark Cornish), and the yellow skin and red feathers make for an attractive plucked bird. And of course, needless to say, the RIR pullets make phenomenal layers. I didn't butcher any of the Dark Cornish, but I did handle them, specifically to evaluate their potential as a meat bird, and was pretty disappointed. Yes, the keel bone was less prominent, but size wise they didn't grow that spectacular. They didn't grow any faster or bigger than the other chicks (Australorp, Buff Orp, Barred Rock, RIR) I raised them with. If anything they were structurally a little smaller, but chunkier. For myself, I didn't think them worthwhile to propagate as a meat flock. That has just been my experience anyway......

    Best of luck to you, whatever you decide! ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  5. MissouriKid

    MissouriKid Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2016
    Salem, Missouri
    I have had bad luck with RIR. The best I had was my first batch of Australorps. It wouldn't hurt to see how well they do for me, its worth a shot.
     
  6. SpringPeeper

    SpringPeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had the opposite experience from others in the thread, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and vigor of Cackle birds, better than I was expecting from any hatchery. McMurray birds seemed weak as chicks and grew up undersized, definitely of lower quality than anything I have from local breeders, Cackle or the few feed store birds I have.
     
  7. MissouriKid

    MissouriKid Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2016
    Salem, Missouri
    I had the same thing until I started raising turkeys then I started using the gamebird starter feed for the chicks. I haven't lost any to feed issues like I have in the past. I am going to see how good the chicks are.
     
  8. SpringPeeper

    SpringPeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern California
    Mine got a lot of game starter, because I could only buy huge bags at the feed store and just had a couple dozen quail chicks I was buying it for, so the chicken chicks always 'helped' get through the bag.
     
  9. tennboy1

    tennboy1 Out Of The Brooder

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    My BO from Murray went broody right around one year of age. Then last year I got a female BO in my cackle mystery box. She actually outgrew the Murray BO at 6 months of age. They are both fantastic birds. I have always swore by Murray. But I like cackle too now
     
  10. MissouriKid

    MissouriKid Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2016
    Salem, Missouri
    I ordered from Murray last week and they will be here the week of 4/24 I ordered 15 Black Australorps and 10 Dark Cornish so I will see how well their chicks are. I wanted to order the White Holland turkeys but I ran out of green paper[​IMG].
     

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