Warning for Poultry Hollow Hatchery Buyers


6 Years
Sep 27, 2013
Hello, I am new to chickens this year, however I have had numerous animals, horses, dogs, birds, etc my entire 48 years of life.

I purchased my first chicks at TSC in late February. Lovely little Speckled Sussex birds that have done wonderful. I decided since I had found a new love in chickens I would add more in June. Received my first order from Poultry Hollow delivered to Knoxville. 3 Easter Eggers (Ameraucana), 3 silkies and 3 polish. About a month ago I lost one polish to what I now suspect was Marek's. I had purchased two gorgeous 6 month old Jersey Giants from an acquaintance and really fell in live with these boys so decided in July I would order a couple of JG pullets to put with my boys. They cancelled delivery in July and August due to vehicle problems. Finally received them on Saturday September 21st. They were completely disgusting looking and smelly birds. Very small for supposedly being 18 week old pullets. One probably did not weigh much more than a pound and the other has very crooked toes and does a face plant every time she attempts to run. The following day I noticed another polish from Poultry Hollow had began showing signs of leg lameness and wing drooping (Signs of Marek's). I came home on Monday afternoon to find him on his back immobile and immediately ended his suffering. This morning, 6 days after receiving the JG pullets I found the low weight girl dead in the coop. I have contacted Poultry Hollow to share my disappointment with their poor business practices and received zero response from them. It is very sad that they would sell birds in such poor condition. I am attaching photos of the supposedly 18 week old Jersey Giant Pullets.
Sorry the above picture is my chicken set up with poultry netting for two pens, two coops. Chicken pics below.
I no longer have to be concerned about the other crippled Black Jersey Giant pullet. When I arrived home yesterday she had been chased out of the poultry netting by the other chickens and layed lifeless so I made the decision to end her suffering. Shame on you Poultry Hollow for selling such poor quality unhealthy birds to folks.
Just a personal experience regarding Marek Disease and Poultry Hollow. Please understand that I am just stating the facts as they happened. What conclusions you come to are up to you.

We purchased eight 12 weekish pullets from Poultry Hollow in June 2013, two each light brahmas, barred rock, black australorp, and red sex link. The visit was as expected for a rural hatchery. One dead chick in with the brahmas, but of course that happens. I understand that there is a fair amount of carnage in poultry, sometimes.

Approximately four weeks after bringing them home to a new coop, one of the brahmas began feeding poorly, hunched over, and began having trouble breathing. Two or so days later it began gasping for air and died rather abruptly. Didn't think much about it at the time.

Three or four weeks after that, the other brahma began to have difficulty swallowing food. We appreciated that there was a cloudiness to the eye and when examining the bird, found a large mass in the neck which was interfering with swallowing. We took a biopsy of this which was consistent with high grade lymphoid malignancy. She was maintained on softened food until she became progressively hunched like the other brahma, and ultimately lost the use of both of her legs and one wing. I euthanized her.

Fast forward several more weeks. One of the rocks began standing on one leg with an enlarged, firm thigh. We treated it conservatively, but soon she also began to hunch over and both legs became paralyzed. She was euthanized and necropsied by the State Vet with a diagnosis of Marek Disease.

I'm not a veterinarian, just a people doc, but the basics of infection are the same. The minimum incubation period for Marek is 6-12 weeks, depending on what you read. Even though it can exist in the environment, the brahmas became symptomatic way to soon (in my opinion) to have been infected by some passing wild bird . The time from placing all of the other birds with the brahmas to the rock becoming ill was well within the incubation period. All three birds had clear signs, symptoms, and pathologic findings of Marek. The rock was a proven diagnosis.

I discussed this with Judy at Poultry Hollow, who chalked the first one up to a respiratory infection. I asked if they were vaccinated for Marek and she said no and also something about the reason why they didn't having to do with the fact they sold many birds to Nashville?

Again, come to your own conclusions. Two birds die of almost certainly the same disease too quickly to have caught it at our farm. A third dies after the correct time delay and is proven to have Marek. The hatchery does not vaccinate for Marek.

Knowing what I know now about Marek I would not have bought unvaccinated pullets from them. This is a rather gruesome disease and is largely preventable with vaccination. Please do yourself a favor and educate yourselves about this common problem before you obtain birds from any source, especially the rammificantions of the highly infectious nature of the virus and the carrier status of infected birds that do survive.
That's so awful you had to go through this! Sounds like that particular hatchery has the mareks virus and they are selling birds that Are infected!! Mareks is everywhere however based on your deductions of the incubation period of Mareks it DOES sound like it came from the hatchery. What a awful thing to sell birds that are infected! I'm so sorry.i usually purchase babies from breeders that keep them inside and separated from adult birds then when they arrive I give them their Mareks vaccine and keep them inside until they have had time to build antibodies against the disease (about 14days) its such a prolific and highly contagious disease! Have you contacted and spoke to the hatchery about this? I am so very very sorry this has happened to you!! And you are correct about trying to educate yourself regarding Mareks because it is everywhere and it is a airborne disease. It can actually travel miles in the wind alone. I try to treat my property as if it is positive for mareks because the disease is everywhere. Most think I'm being over protective but I'm doing my best to reduce the risks to my birds. Also what folks need to realize is that after vaccination the birds are still at risk until they have enough time to develop antibodies to the disease from the vaccine. The vaccine is not 100% protection either but its the best defence we have so far. So I try to get babies that have not yet been outside and then vaccinate and give them time to develop immunity before they are allowed outside. Of course its not fool proof but its the best we can do. We need to try to protect our flocks in the best way we can. My eyes were opened to this terriable disease after a friend of mines flock came down with it.i saw what she had to go through and it was a nightmare. She lives not too far from me. about 50 miles away. It really got me thinking. Now I try and do my best to protect my flock. Like I said nothing is 100% protection but we can do our best and try. Thank you for sharing your story. It just shows how easily mareks can be aquired. Again im very sorry you had this expirence. But by sharing perhaps you can help others. I wish you the best and God Bless.
It is as simple as numbers...

*We sell around 200,000 birds a year. Do some die? Of course! Do we always know why? No. But to say it is mareks or some other disease is way off base!

* We have less than a 1% loss! Mostly being within the first few days of hatching, just being picked on & of course predators.

*Our website clearly indicates we are a All Natural farm. So we do not vaccinate as most people these days don't want vaccines in their food source.

* NO other hatchery will vaccinate for mereks unless you specifically ask for it and pay the cost.

* If we kept sick birds we would not have any birds left. We could not stay in business if this was the case.

* We have thousands of customers and there are only 2 to 4 with these accusations???

*Chickens get stressed, sick, and die just like other animals if not properly taken care of. I could go on for pages of stories I know about the human errors in raising birds. People make mistakes and always want to point blame to someone else.

* The following is cut and pasted from this forum:
We bought chicks from Poultry Hollow last week, and I was very impressed. It was a REAL chicken farm. I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people about chickens before purchasing. One of the things I have found is that no matter where you get your chicks some might die. I recently talked to a farmer who has an established flock who just hatched chicks, and some of them didn't make it -same with the ducks. It seems to me that it's just part of life in the animal world, as I've witnessed the same thing happen to kittens and fish even when you do ALL the right things. Knowledge and experience increase the chances of survivial and make for happier animals, but sometimes things still happen. It's upsetting when a chick dies, but loss is part of raising animals. People die, too, even with all our modern technology and sanitation. It amazes me how some people can get so nitpicky about the smallest of details when it comes to chickens. No, I'm not saying disease is a small detail, but if chickens were as finicky as people they would have gone extinct years ago. If an animal lover is obsessed with getting ALL the smallest details just perfect I suggest they raise fish. They will have plenti of time devoted to pH, temperature, chlorine, etc., levels because you can't be off even the slightest bit or you will have a disease outbreak. I want to raise my backyard flock just like a farmer would, not like a diehard enthusiastic super human hen. I'm going to implement the same philosophy I do with my human children. My children are happy healthy individuals who don't need the latest iphone and don't eat everything organic. Heaven forbid I give them a little soda. No soccer mom here, just happy healthy children. Same goes with chickens (don't worry, I won't give them soda). I want to take care of them, give them what they need, and enjoy them and their eggs without having to stress myself out with every little perfectionistic detail. That is why I went to Poultry Hollow. They have healthy happy chickens raised just like my local small town farmers raise theirs (only on a much larger scale). No, they don't have the latest state of the art buildings with white painted walls, tiled floor, and hospitally sanitized chicken coops. And guess what? It smells like... you guessed it...chickens! Their animals are so happy and quite beautiful, and if you don't believe me, go see for yourself. You will have a lot of very happy dogs (eager to play fetch), donkeys, chickens, goats, and turkeys all wanting your attention.
Cut & Pasted from this forum:
1st, I would like to say I have read almost every review on here about Poultry Hollow before visiting.
I am appalled at some of the down right unfounded and vicious things people have said about this farm.
This is a family run hatchery, who has been in business many years..
There was another elderly man who showed up right after I did and I asked him his opinion on the farm, his exact words were "I come here every year for 15 years now for my Thanksgiving Turkey and monthly for the chicken. You wont find a better tasting bird."

Also, after inspecting the birds and deciding for myself I would be buying from them after all, I decided to interrogate Judy on her side of the story to get a better perspective. So I thank her for tolerating my probing.

I personally believe the proof is in the pudding, and I go by facts not opinions. So, I went into Poultry Hollow with the intent of possibly buying a bird and giving a fair review. I spent almost 2hrs there on 11/15/12.

I am going to highlight the complaints I have read and I will give you my personal take on them.

Poultry hollow is at the end of a scarey long road with trailers along the way:
Really?? The drive is beautiful, and their land could not be in a better location to raise poultry. As for the trailers along the way... Welcome to TN.

Poultry Hollow smells:
Do any of you run a hatchery or own the amount of birds they do?
Yes, I also have a farm, barn, chickens and a slew of other animals so I am accustomed to the smells.. However, Chicken poop is known for being VERY VERY VERY bad smelling. So why would anyone in their right mind think a poultry farm would smell sweet. Most hatcheries will not even let you set foot where they keep the breeding animals.
All of their enclosures are outdoors (aside from the brooders/chicks) and well ventilated, which keeps the birds healthy. That is all that matters to me.
To be honest Poultry Hollow smelled exactly how I expected it to smell, a poultry farm...

Poultry Hollow is dirty and birds are cramped:
The first thing I saw when I pulled up unannounced was Judy and her Grandson cleaning the cages. The farm land itself is exquisite, there is a slew of free range VERY happy birds and other adorable, most importantly HEALTHY farm animals. Mostly the Turkey, Quail, Geese, Peafowl and some Bantam chickens were free range. They have a beautiful running creek with fresh water, I wish I lived there!!
The purebred birds in cages that I saw all had fresh water, they were NOT cramped. Take a look at commercial poultry farming, where birds are crammed in by the thousands in dark dank cages... Poultry Hollow birds are in outdoor pens and well cared for. Again, this is a poultry farm, not a hobby farm. In my opinion the birds were not crammed, not even close.
Some of the enclosures had muddy grounds from the rain but the birds all seemed healthy. I saw two pens with birds who has some feathers missing, but I know from experience that particular feather loss is from hens during mating or from other hens.
The buildings and pens are NOT professional looking (at all), but they are safe and healthy for the birds, which is what matters.

I did see a dead Turkey so I went to check out the body and it was quite obvious another animal killed the bird. That would be my only negative remark, I realize animals die.. Especially poultry, but the bodies should be disposed of out of sight :)

Poultry Hollow has poor business skills and their website is lacking:
Ok, so I agree they are very country and lack the "Customer is always right" mentality and their website is decent compared to some of the other hatcheries listed. With that being said, they are very nice as long as you are not attacking them unfounded.
I asked Judy why they do not post photo's of their own birds and winning birds that she is very proud of and she told me her son runs the website for her. Needless to say the man works and helps his single, elderly mother by running that site for her and she is thankful for the work that he put into it.
As for the "customer is always right" mentality, I will just say its a country respect thing. I have noticed since moving from Chicago that TN probably has the worst customer service skills.. Sure, the people are sweet and friendly but they think nothing of telling you where to go if you do not like the service.

No way any inspector would give Poultry Hollow a NPIP approval and/or is inspected properly:
I saw BOTH the NPIP and Health inspection certificates myself on their office wall.. Both inspections were done on different dates in Aug of 2012. The health inspection was a rating of 98 ...
ALL of poultry hollow's birds that they sell for consumption are sent off to be slaughtered in Georgia at a USDA poultry processing plant.
So, I guess all you naysayer's know better than the inspectors and myself.

The good reviews on Poultry Hollow are made by Poultry Hollow themselves:
I highly doubt this... feel free to look me up on FB www.facebook.com/jillnabors or check out my website at http://www.shangrilatms.com .. I am not Poultry Hollow nor have I ever met them before yesterday. I have been reading their reviews for almost a year now and I have found you either love them or hate them.

I got a chick that became sick and died:
Who hasn't? I avoid young birds for this reason, they are VERY sensitive.
I picked out a beautiful blue slate hen yesterday and Judy told me she could not sell me that bird because it had a leg injury, I did not even notice the slight limp until she pointed it out. So, that tells me Judy would not sell a bird she knows is not in perfect health. What more do you want from her??

Has anyone had their flocks die because they contracted a disease from Poultry Hollow birds?
Not that I have found.

Has anyone gotten sick from eating a Poultry Hollow bird?
Not that I have found.


There you have it, please try to understand that just because YOU do not personally like them based on how YOU think they should run things does not make them a bad Hatchery. Judy loves her birds, clearly, and some of you need to try really hard to see things from her perspective.

Also Cut & pasted from another member in reply to the above:
Very well written. It's so true that Southerners are the sweetest friendliest people, but you better not mess with us. I totally agreed with everything you wrote. Those were also my observations about Poultry Hollow and exactly why I felt the need to defend them in other posts. I had a great experience when I went there.
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