A hatchin’ and a cacklin’ since 1936

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Cackle Hatchery sells 193 different types of poultry — and will ship them all the way to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

 LEBANON – Chickens cross the road all the time, even though no one knows why. But here’s another question to ponder: Where exactly are those birds coming from?

In southwest Missouri, there’s a chance that Cackle Hatchery is the answer. “Generally we do 700,000 to 800,000 … eggs in the incubators in the hatchery at all times from January to September,” says Jeff Smith, a third-generation owner who serves as the hatchery’s sales and marketing director.

That number may sound like a lot — but it’s really only a drop in the hatchery’s bucket, which dates back to 1936. The year also testifies to the hatchery’s longevity, which Jeff says is unusual in today’s world. “Back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, every little town in the U.S. had a little hatchery in town,” he says, but notes that most of those places closed up shop long ago. “We’re one of the few small, surviving hobby hatcheries left.”

In this case, one of “the few” equals one of 12 nationwide. (more…)