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True Bantam Chicken Breeds

A d'Uccle Hen from Cackle Hatchery

Nearly every chicken breed has a bantam version. But some bantam breeds have no larger counterpart. The latter are true bantams. Cackle Hatchery® offers the following true bantam chicken breeds: Belgian d’Anvers Belgian d’Anvers bantams get their name from the Belgian municipality of Antwerp, which is “Anvers” to the French. The word d’Anvers therefore means […]

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11 Cold Hardy Bantam Breeds

A Wyandotte bantam in winter

Chickens, including bantams, tend to do better in cold weather than in hot weather. However, some bantams tolerate the cold better than others. Certain features — such as dense plumage, leg feathering, beards, and small combs — contribute to a cold hardiness. Often the country of origin provides a clue to a breed’s climate tolerance. […]

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12 Black Chicken Breeds

Australorp Hen sitting in the grass

The definition of black chicken breeds depends on who’s talking. The term might refer to a breed that’s truly all black — feathers, comb and wattles, beak, shanks and feet, skin, and even bones. But some chicken breeds with black skin and other body parts have varieties with alternative plumage colors besides black. Many chickens […]

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How to Tell a Good Egg from a Bad Egg

A chicken walking away from a sign that says "Fresh Eggs"

Homegrown eggs are so tasty they are unlikely to sit around long enough to spoil. However, eggs do occasionally go off. Every chicken keeper should know how to tell a good egg from a bad egg. Why an Egg Goes Bad A bad egg is generally one that has been contaminated, rendering it inedible or […]

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Turkey Mating Ratio for Good Fertility

Three bronze turkeys stand in a backyard.

What is the best turkey mating ratio for good fertility? That’s a question many first-time turkey keepers ask. Often as not, they get many different answers. Here’s why: Turkey Type The first thing to consider is the type of turkeys in question. If they are a broad-breasted type, forget it. These industrial size turkeys are […]

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10 Chicken Breeds with Beards

A Bearded Polish chicken

Chicken breeds with beards came about as a genetic mutation. Chicken keepers liked the appearance, and so they continued to breed more of the same. Other than the cuteness factor, scientists have yet to find any significant advantage or disadvantage to a beard on a chicken. A beard appears as elongated feathers growing beneath a […]

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Chicken Breed Abbreviations

A BBROEGB Chicken

Chicken keepers often use abbreviations and assume their listeners know what they mean. Here are some of the more common chicken breed abbreviations, along with abbreviations for variety features and those used for show that may be puzzling when you see them in poultry publications, forums, and websites. Note that abbreviations may be combined to […]

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Causes of Water Belly in Laying Hens

A chicken suffering from waterbelly

Water belly is a condition in which a chicken’s body cavity fills with fluid, causing the abdomen to bulge. It is not itself a disease, but rather a sign of heart failure. Let’s take a look at the various causes of water belly in laying hens. Heart Failure in Laying Hens As with people, aging […]

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Get Your Chicks On Route 66

A sign that reads "Get Chicks on Route 66"

You probably know you can get your kicks on Route 66, but did you know you also can get your chicks on Route 66? Cackle Hatchery® opened for business in downtown Lebanon, Missouri, in 1936, just ten years after the opening of historic Route 66. Four blocks off Route 66, the hatchery today is one […]

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