Chicken Help
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We found 97 results for category 'Planning for your flock'

Q: Can you ship chicks to my location?
A: We can ship chicks anywhere within the continental U.S. and to some locations in Hawaii and Alaska. (Check "what's my best minimum order?" in the... read more

Q: My chicks are all available on different dates. Will they ship at different times, or all at once?
A: All at once! All your birds must ship together for their safety. Alternatively, you can choose to place two or more separate orders, but each one... read more

Q: When will my chicks be hatched?
A: Our chicks are hatched in the wee hours on Monday* of each week during the hatching season, and they're sorted, sexed, vaccinated, packaged and... read more

Q: How come you can only ship chicks when they're one day old?
A: Right before chicks hatch, they have just absorbed the last of the yolk. This sustains them during their journey, for up to three days, so that's why... read more

Q: How come you can't ship just one chick?
A: Unlike other hatcheries that may add "males for warmth" to fill out a small order, we will never do that because we understand how important it is... read more

Q: Can I mix and match or do I have to buy all the same breed?
A: There is no minimum number of chicks per breed or size, although your total order must meet the minimum number for your area, so you can mix and... read more

Q: What happens if a bird I purchase from My Pet Chicken is incorrectly sexed?
A: It's always disappointing when a bird isn't sexed correctly, especially if your "girl" ended up being a "boy" and was the family's favorite chick!... read more

Q: I want to sell the eggs from my chicks as "organic". Are your chicks organic?
A: "Certified organic" regulations vary from state to state and region to region, and (thus far) do not have to do with the way chicks are hatched.... read more

Q: Why don't you offer a vaccine against Coccidiosis?
A: Coccidiosos is an infection caused by a protozoan, and it is found in most environments. However, the coccidiosis vaccine administered in the U.S. is... read more

Q: Are your birds "show-quality"?
A: We are an NPIP hatchery and all of our birds are purebred. The exceptions are the Easter Egger, which is by nature a mixed-breed bird, and the Red... read more

Q: Can hens REALLY crow?
A: Yes! It's not even that rare, either! In all-female flocks, or flocks in which the ratio of females to males is greater than 10:1, in many cases one... read more

Q: Is it okay to heat my coop in the winter? I don't want my flock to suffer!
A: We really don't recommend you heat your coop - seriously! Our feeling is this isn't a good idea. Chickens adapt to the cold weather over time. Their... read more

Q: Do you sell older chickens?
A: Yes! We usually have two or three batches of juveniles available each year at various times. They do sell out very quickly, so keep your eyes peeled... read more

Q: Should I get my birds vaccinated?
A: Marek's disease is a deadly, highly contagious "lymphoproliferative" disease affecting chickens. It is the #1 disease-related killer of chickens. It... read more

Q: Do I need to give my hens oyster shell or supplemental calcium?
A: If your hens have a good, "complete" layer feed, they may not ever need read more

Q: Do you have a catalog?
A: Not yet! The best way to peruse our offerings for right now is to browse the category listings on the left hand side of any page on our website.... read more

Q: At what age do hens start laying eggs?
A: On average, pullets, or juvenile hens, start laying eggs at about 6 months of age, depending on the breed. Larger, heavier birds like Wyandottes,... read more

Q: Is there any nutritional difference between white, brown, green and blue eggs?
A: We like them all, Sam-I-Am! No, there is no difference in terms of edibility, health, or nutrition in different-colored egg shells. (See below if you... read more

Q: Are fertilized eggs okay to eat?
A: Fertilized eggs are fine to eat, in fact some people consider them to be healthier than unfertilized eggs. It is impossible to taste the difference,... read more

Q: Can you tell the sex of chicks when they're still in the egg?
A: There is no way to tell the difference between an egg that will hatch a female chick and an egg that will hatch a male chick (excluding, perhaps,... read more

Q: It's time to move my 5 week-old chicks to their outdoor coop, but it's cold outside! Will they be okay?
A: Sudden temperature changes are a real danger to your birds. You will need to make sure their transition outside doesn't shock them. Although chickens... read more

Q: Can I mix different breeds of chicken in my flock--will they all get along?
A: Yes, in most cases you can mix breeds of chicken in your flock. They generally get on very well. You can even include both bantam and large fowl... read more

Q: How much feed should I give my chickens each day?
A: We recommend feeding "free choice"; that is, letting them eat as much layer feed as they want and leaving their feeder out at all times (although you... read more

Q: I'm trying to figure the expenses of keeping chickens, so can you tell me how much I will spend per month on feed?
A: A basic estimate is that chickens will eat 1/4 pound per day per chicken. However, that estimate is based on the conditions commercial layers face in... read more

Q: How large should my nest boxes be, and how high should they be off the ground?
A: Some people put their nests directly on the ground, although this is not ideal since other hens may stick their heads in the nest to see what the... read more

Q: Can I hatch the eggs of my chickens if the rooster and hen are different breeds?
A: There are no problems associated with hatching mixed breed chickens. If you have a rooster in your flock, he will try to breed ALL your hens,... read more

Q: Can I use chicken manure in my garden?
A: Chicken manure makes great compost for fertilizing your garden. However, we recommend you compost it first: don't add it directly in quantity.... read more

Q: What type of bedding or litter should I use for my chickens?
A: Bedding is an important part of keeping your chickens happy and healthy. On the coop floor the bedding will provide a soft surface for your chickens... read more

Q: Do I need to give my shipped chicks vitamins and electrolytes when they arrive?
A: We don't generally think it is a good idea to offer anything but plain, clean water unless your chicks are exceedingly stressed. When chicks are put... read more

Q: Is there a way to tell if my chicken is happy or sad?
A: Chickens that are happy will be active and scratching around in the grass, laying in the sun--yes, they do that, too!--or taking a bath in the dirt.... read more

Q: What is medicated feed all about--do I need it?
A: Medicated feed is formulated for chicks to help them combat coccidiosis, a disease that is found just about everywhere in the environment. Most... read more

Q: Why don't you offer vaccinations for bantams?
A: The reason we don't offer vaccinations for bantams is that the vaccine is often ineffective for them because the birds are so tiny that it is too... read more

Q: How long do hens lay eggs ?
A: Chickens usually don't simply "stop" laying eggs when they get to a certain age, but they will lay fewer as they get older. That said, most laying... read more

Q: Should I let my chickens free range? I'm worried about predators.
A: If you allow your chickens to range freely, you WILL lose some to predators-- make no mistake. It can be devastating, especially to those of us with... read more

Q: How can I help my young children understand the wait to have our baby chicks are delivered?
A: There are a few things you can do together to help ease the frustration of waiting!

One thing you can do with a child when waiting something...
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Q: Do chickens have a language?
A: In many ways they do. Chickens can make a very wide range of sounds, and they communicate amongst each other well.

Roosters can sing...
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Q: When I buy a hatchery choice assortment, will you be able to tell me which birds I received?
A: Assortments are often more available than specific breeds are, and sometimes even bargain priced. However, no record is kept of which birds are used... read more

Q: How many roosters do I need in order that my hens will lay eggs?
A: None. Hens will lay eggs whether there are roosters around or not, just as female humans will ovulate regardless of the sexes of their companions.... read more

Q: How do I get my flock to go into their coop at night so I can shut the door and make sure they're safe?
A: Once they have imprinted on their coop as "home," they will retire on their own at dusk. (Thus the saying: "Chickens always return home to... read more

Q: How can I incubate eggs that will hatch female chicks only?
A: A study in Australia (Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 11(4) 664 - 672) has shown that eggs stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (rather than... read more

Q: Do your chicks come "beak trimmed"?
A: No. Our chicks are not "beak trimmed." We don't even "beak trim" when we sell started pullets like other hatcheries do.

"Beak trimming"...
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Q: How will I know which chick is which breed when I receive my baby chicks?
A: The chicks do not come marked or tagged in any way. However, you can compare your chicks to the photos on our site to try to identify which is which.... read more

Q: How long do chickens live?
A: Naturally, this will depend on the conditions under which they're kept. Factory farms slaughter their egg layers at one or two years old, because... read more

Q: Do I need to clip my chickens' wings?
A: Wing clipping--trimming the primary feathers on your chickens' wings--is not necessary unless your flock is flying into places they shouldn't be.... read more

Q: Why do I need to store my eggs large end up?
A: Storing your eggs large end up will keep them freshest. This is because the air cell in an egg is located at the large end, so less moisture will... read more

Q: How do I cook with bantam eggs?
A: The eggs of bantam chickens are smaller than the eggs we're used to seeing in the grocery store. Just how small? Of course, it really depends on the... read more

Q: Which bantam breeds should I choose if I want them for eggs?
A: Bantam eggs in general are quite small by comparison to what you see in the grocery store, but they taste just as good as the eggs of large fowl, and... read more

Q: We have a medium sized yard enclosed by a four foot fence--will my chickens be able to fly over the fence?
A: Most heavy, docile backyard breeds don't fly very well and aren't particularly inclined to leave a secure, fenced area. Still, if there are large... read more

Q: Why don't you sell chicks year round?
A: We do sell chicks most of the year round, but there are a variety of reasons baby chicks aren't available for purchase at all times. Chickens... read more

Q: What methods of payment do you accept?
A: We only accept credit card payment at this time. We do not accept checks, cashier's checks, money orders, purchase orders, PayPal, cash or any other... read more

Q: My chicks are arriving in the heat of summer, and my brooder is in a hot room. Can I use a fan to cool the brooder down?
A: Baby chicks need it very warm to be comfortable--most people would call it hot. For the first week of their lives, they need temperatures of about 95... read more

Q: I want to breed chickens, so can you tell me how to get my rooster interested in mating and how to tell when the hens go into heat?
A: When a female animal is "in heat," she is ovulating and/or ready to be mated. In some animals mating induces ovulation, but this isn't the case with... read more

Q: Are there any concerns I should have when keeping or caring for chickens while pregnant?
A: You will want to take the same kinds of precautions you would take with any pets: wash your hands after handling them and so forth. Avian and human... read more

Q: How can I help my chickens stay cool in the summer?
A: Chickens don't sweat like humans do to cool down. Much like dogs, they pant to help stay cool. When they are very hot, you will also see them holding... read more

Q: How do we make sure that our older laying hens don't eat our younger chickens' starter feed, and vice versa, since the two age groups are meant to have different feeds?
A: Good question! Typically, you don't want your chicks to eat layer feed since it has too much calcium for them, and you don't want your hens to eat... read more

Q: Some of my chickens will be vaccinated for Marek's Disease, but others are not vaccinated. Can my unvaccinated chickens get Marek's from my chickens who did get vaccinations ?
A: The Marek's Disease vaccination is attenuated, which means, in most cases, it's not even developed using the Marek's virus. Instead, it's developed... read more

Q: Do I need to be worried about bird flu if I keep chickens?
A: Probably not, but it's a good idea to be informed about it, anyway, so you can help to explain the issue to less savvy friends.

Bird...
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Q: What biosecurity should I practice to protect my flock from AI and other illnesses?
A: Good question! Most illnesses or even infestations (such as mites or worms) are contracted when your birds are exposed to other birds, either... read more

Q: What is the Biosecurity for Birds campaign and how can I find more information about it?
A: Biosecurity for Birds is a public awareness campaign started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in... read more

Q: Should I be concerned about lead in the environment when I keep chickens?
A: It's not a common problem, but it is an area of concern. Common sense will tell you not to keep your chickens around peeling or flaking paint, lead... read more

Q: Can I choose what breeds I get when I purchase an assortment?
A: No, we're sorry. If you want specific breeds, you will need to purchase each breed you want and construct your order that way. The assortments are... read more

Q: How large are chickens?
A: Chickens can vary in size greatly by breed! Large fowl chickens can range from 4 pounds for small hens to nearly 15 for the largest roosters. Bantams... read more

Q: I got a terrible hatch. Does that mean most of my eggs were infertile?
A: No, a terrible hatch doesn't mean that most or even any of your eggs were infertile! They may all have been fertile. Remember, just because an egg... read more

Q: I want to order chicks to be delivered to me, but use a broody hen to raise them. Is there anything special I should know, or will the hen take care of everything?
A: When you are having a broody hen raise new baby chicks that have been shipped to you, first remember that your hen has to be currently broody. If she... read more

Q: The website says the breed I want is available for a date I want, so why isn't that a choice when I'm checking out?
A: In most cases, that will be because you are ordering more chicks than are available for your preferred date. When you place virtual chicks in your... read more

Q: I want to get a chick for Easter for my son's basket, and then find a farmer to adopt it when it has grown. How do I do that?
A: No, no, no... you don't want to do that. It's is a bad idea for many reasons. First, one chicken raised alone will often die of loneliness--they are... read more

Q: I keep seeing that coops should be well ventilated but not drafty. What is the difference between ventilation and drafts?
A: Yes, that can be confusing, can't it? Try thinking of it this way: Generally, you might think of drafts as air that will blow directly onto your... read more

Q: Should I choose "no substitutions" and "no hatch day substitutions" when I place my order for chicks?
A: Well, the truth is that it simply depends on how you want us to handle any problems with your order. Some customers will wait many months for just... read more

Q: If I want to add light to my chicken coop during the winter, how much do I need to add?
A: You needn't use a very bright light; studies have shown that laying increases with about as much light as a candle. Even something like a 4 watt... read more

Q: I want to house ducks or turkeys with my chickens--is that possible or wise? What steps should I take?
A: There are challenges associated with mixing fowl varieties, such as making sure each one eats the right food for their needs. Often different fowl... read more

Q: We have both bantam and large size hens. If we want a rooster, should we get a bantam rooster or a large rooster?
A: The answer to that question will depend on exactly how large the hens and roosters in question may be as well as what your personal preference is.... read more

Q: Which breed of chicken has the quietest, tamest roosters? I need a friendly rooster that doesn't crow much.
A: I'm afraid there is no pat answer on this one. Firstly, ALL roosters crow. We happen to love the sound (to us it's far preferable to yapping dogs or... read more

Q: What do I need to know about dogs if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Domestic dog
Canis lupus familiaris

Description:
Many different breeds, sizes, colors and...
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Q: Do you ship eggs or chicks internationally?
A: No. If you want to purchase live birds or eggs, you will need to find a local supplier to help you; we do not ship internationally. (We don't even... read more

Q: What breed of chicken lays double yolked eggs?
A: There is no one special breed that lays double yolkers. Occasionally a hen may lay a double yolker when her ovaries release two yolks at once, rather... read more

Q: At what age do baby chicks began to roost?
A: It really depends on the individual personality of the bird as well as how quickly they develop. Birds that feather out quickly may begin to roost... read more

Q: Will I be notified if my shipment has to be delayed for some reason? I'm asking because I'm going to be taking time off work to look after the chickens at home, so I don't want to ask for the wrong week off!
A: Well, that's a more complex question than you may think. If there should be a problem on hatch day, of course we will contact you just as soon as we... read more

Q: I'm looking at hatchery choice assortments, and I see some breeds listed as possibilities, but they are sold out (if I wanted to order them individually). Does that mean the sold out breeds aren't a possibility to be included in an assortment anymore, or can I still get those breeds in my assortment?
A: Breeds that are not available individually may still be used to fulfill assortments, since the assortments consist of breeds that have hatched better... read more

Q: Will the chicks I buy from you be related to each other? I want to breed my rooster with my hens, so I don't want them to be related.
A: Our breeding flocks are very large. We can't know which chicks hatch from which eggs. Even if we could, we don't keep track of which hen laid which... read more

Q: Last year we had a few ticks on our dogs. Will ticks be a problem with the chickens?
A: Chickens will eat deer ticks, wood ticks and dog ticks (as well as other types), and these are the most common ticks that bother humans and canines.... read more

Q: I have one of the inexpensive styrofoam incubators with no turner or fan, and I'm having trouble keeping the temperature steady inside the incubator. What could be causing the temperature to go up and down so much... is it that I have to open and close the incubator to turn the eggs?
A: Of course we can't know for sure what may be causing the problem in your case, but we can try to mention a few things that might typically cause... read more

Q: How do I figure out whether or not I'm allowed to keep chickens in my area?
A: That can sometimes be a little complex. First, we recommend you contact both your local health and zoning boards to see if there are any regulations... read more

Q: What size egg is best for hatching?
A: There is no special size that is best across all breeds. Think about it: some breeds lay very large eggs because the chicks are comparatively large;... read more

Q: I have a hen that I have been using to breed, but now she's developed wry neck. Is this a genetic weakness that I should be worried about seeing in her offspring?
A: Probably not. Torticollis is the medical/technical term for wry neck; it is an abnormal head position where the bird may not be able to hold her head... read more

Q: I want to end up with five hens, but I don't know how many chickens usually survive to adulthood. Should get extras just in case, and then give away the ones I don't want? Or should I just order five and hope for the best?
A: Normally you will want to order the number of chickens you want to end up with. However, how many you lose over the course of bringing them to laying... read more

Q: Two bantam chicks is all I have room for, but the minimum order for bantams is five in my area. Can I pay for five, but have you only send two?
A: I'm afraid not. The minimums are based on how many chicks are safe to ship, not how many we would like to sell. You can't give us extra money to send... read more

Q: We're planning to build a coop. Should it be designed so that my chickens' feeders and waterers go inside the coop, or should they go the chicken run area? I don't know what's best.
A: That's a good question! Chickens need to have access to their food and water at all times when they're awake. However, once they return to roost at... read more

Q: I want quiet hens. Which breed should I get?
A: Hens of most breeds are rather quiet except for right before and right after they have laid an egg. Then they may make a loud "announcement" about it... read more

Q: How can you send chicks through the mail when they sometimes die? And if there is a risk that some chicks die on the way, then how can you justify staying in business?
A: Of course we hate it when chicks die along the way; every bird is an individual, and every loss is a tragedy. However, when it comes to shipping baby... read more

Q: Why don't you sell Red Star hatching eggs?
A: "Red Stars" are hybrid birds; the rooster is one breed while the hen is another. Because of the genetics of the two breeds, the Red Star chicks are... read more

Q: The breed I want is sold out--is there any hope I can order some?
A: We're sorry the breed you want is currently sold out, but yes--there is hope if you are diligent!

Our website always has up to date... read more

Q: For my laying flock, should I buy fertile eggs to hatch, or should I start with baby chicks?

A: In almost every case, starting a laying flock with baby chicks will be easier and less expensive than starting one by hatching eggs at home.
...
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Q: Are the color of a hen's eggs determined by the color of her earlobes?
A: Not exactly, although ear lobe color seems to be related to (not determined by) egg color most of the time. Breeds with white earlobes lay white... read more

Q: My friend used to keep a chicken breed that she described as "resistant to predators," but she can't remember what it was called. What breed would that have been?
A: What are we talking about here--force fields? Body armor? :-) No breed of chicken is "predator resistant" in the way you seem to mean. The only way... read more

Q: Is it true that modern, purebred chickens can't hatch their own eggs?
A: No, that's not true.

First, broodiness is not tied to whether a chicken is purebred or not. Broodiness depends more on a chicken's breed,... read more

Q: I plan on vaccinating my chickens – is there anything else I can do to prevent my flock from getting Marek’s disease?

A: In order to prevent the symptoms of Marek’s disease from affecting your flock, we highly recommend getting your baby chicks vaccinated at hatch.... read more

Q: Will chickens help eat ticks and mosquitoes and ticks in my yard?
A: Chickens love to eat mosquitoes and ticks--that's great news! But if you keep chickens, will that mean you can dump your other bug protection... read more