Murray McMurray Hatchery in Webster city, Iowa was officially started in 1917, that’s 101 years it has been in business. Murray McMurray was a banker who sold baby chicks to area farmers and hobbyists. After the 1st world war the early years of the depression kicked in and the bank went broke that’s when he decided to go into the hatchery and mail order baby chick business full time.
He ran this business for 74 years from an old gray house that had been converted to a hatchery. In the house, next door a former duplex stood one-half of the office. In the next house, east, stood the other half of the office. During the 80s and 90s the catalog was the way to go, along with the main shipping evolving from trains to the advent of airline mail. The average shipping time was cut to 72 hours ours guaranteed shipping to anywhere in the USA.
I visited the new facility which was built in 1991, a 26,000-square foot building. The entire hatching operation is now state-of-the-art. I would describe it as the UBER of hatchery, the building is separated into 5 parts. Egg storage and preparation, setting (incubation), hatching, washing /clean up, and a workroom. Of course, there is a customer service center in the front of the building. Everything is so clean and yes! They do maintain a high level of sanitation. The whole operation is very impressive and I had the pleasure of talking to Tom and Ashley who were both very friendly and went above and beyond to inform about the whole operation.
For being around for 101 years this company operation is evidential in showing how to evolve and grow with technological and industrial times, the orders come in mostly from online and telephone (catalog orders), In the beginning of the year the minimum number of chicks ordered is 25 as the temperatures get warmer they can go as low as 15. They have contracted breeders who deliver the eggs which are placed in custom incubators that are in the facility. The chicks take about 21 days to hatch, I was lucky to be walked through when this just happened, I also had the honor of visiting the “sex room”, this is the room where they separate the male and female chicks, a skill I was informed that is taught in only 2 schools in the entire continent. After they have been separated immunized and ready to be shipped, Part of them are driven to Minneapolis and get flown around the United States the other part of them go to Des Moines to be delivered to Iowa and the surrounding states. With a 92% delivery rate, which is impressive the operation impressed me and with my limited writing skills I can’t do any justice to how cool this company is, with that said you can visit their website and take a Video Tour of our Hatchery because they do not allow public tours for sanitary reasons. So if your looking for rare and unusual breeds of chicks for commercial or personal brooding, if your looking for anything to do with hatchery you should visit www.mcmurrayhatchery.com or give them a call 1-800-456-3280
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