Chicken Help

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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: One of my new baby chicks is particularly fresh to the others, pecking their faces. Is this normal and should I do something about it?
A: In most cases you needn't worry. When you first receive them, your little chicks are hungry, and their instincts can tell them to peck at anything to... 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.

read more

Q: What breed do you cross Ameraucanas with to get Easter Eggers?
A: We don't breed our Easter Eggers with anything else, only Easter Eggers. Since you know Easter Eggers are not purebred birds, it's sort of a... read more

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 do I need to know about foxes if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Fox
Vulpes spp.

Description:
*Many different species of reddish or greyish, dog-like mammals with...
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Q: What do I need to know about birds of prey if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Birds of prey, including
Raptors (who hunt in daylight), and Owls (who hunt at night)

Description:
...
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Q: Are there any plants that are poisonous to chickens that I should eliminate from my yard?
A:

Naturally, some plants are poisonous to chickens, just as there are plants that are poisonous to other pets like cats and dogs. It's problematic... read more

Q: I am concerned about importing chicks into my state, because I'm not sure what I need to do. Whom should I contact about this?

A:

Don't worry! My Pet Chicken's hatchery handles all the state-level permits required to get the chicks safe and sound to you. So when you order... read more

Q: I was told to "calibrate" my incubator thermometer so it reads the right temperature. How do I do that?

A: It's definitely best to calibrate any new thermometer you are using for your incubator. You need to make sure your thermometer is reading correctly,... 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 read more

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: I hatch and raise chickens and would like to begin selling baby chicks. What do I need to do to become an actual hatchery?
A: That's a complex question. If you would like to turn your farm into a hatchery and begin selling your birds to other people, we'd first recommend... read more

Q: I’ve heard that a hen can turn into a rooster. Is this true?
A: No, that's not true. It IS true that hens can sometimes crow, and you may have a crowing hen more often if you don't have a rooster. You can read... 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 your breeder stock vaccinated for Marek's Disease?
A: Yes, we do vaccinate our parent stock. They are vaccinated to prevent several different diseases, including Marek's Disease, Newcastle Disease,... read more

Q: Our rooster is pecking the backs and heads of two of our friendliest hens. How can we stop this behavior?
A: Unless your rooster is causing the hens injury, that sort of pecking is no cause for concern. It is courting behavior. He pecks them on their backs... read more

Q: I'm worried about losing power to my brooder lamp during an upcoming storm. Is there anything I can do if that happens?
A: We heard a great idea for someone in this situation from our customer Lee C. in Vermont.

She wrote: "I lost power due to hurricane Irene for... read more

Q: When will my chickens begin laying again in the spring?

A: Some chicken breeds lay year round (save when they go broody). At my latitude, any girls who stop laying during the winter begin again regularly--and... read more

Q: If I order straight run bantams, will I get a 50-50 mix, or do you use your extra cockerels as straight run?
A: We do not use sexed birds as straight run. (No hatchery we know of does that--how dishonest would THAT be?!.) It does not pay us to sex all our baby... read more

Q: Why do chickens lay different colored eggs?
A: Well, we can tell you HOW the different colors are made, but as to WHY the different colors are produced, there are just theories.

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Q: My chicks were delivered a day late by the post office. Will they refund my shipping since they didn't meet the overnight Express Mail guarantees?
A: Unfortunately, no. USPS does NOT guarantee overnight Express delivery for live animals, as much as we would like them to. We agree: it seems a little... read more

Q: One of my baby chicks seems weak and is not eating or drinking; how can I best help her?
A:

Well, do remember that if you hatched these babies at home, chicks don't actually need to eat or drink for the first two or three days...... 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: Is it ever okay to help a chick out of the shell?

A: Generally speaking you will NOT want to intervene in the hatching process when incubating read more

Q: Why do my hens stop or almost stop laying in the late fall and winter months?
A: A chicken's reproductive cycle begins in her eye. Or according to the read more

Q: My hen was vaccinated for Marek's disease as a chick, but I still lost her to this illness. How could this have happened?
A: Marek’s disease is very common and will eventually end up in most backyard flocks, whether or not the flocks have been vaccinated. It's strange but... read more

Q: My chicken cannot walk. Does she have Marek’s disease?
A: Lameness is a very common symptom of Mareks’ disease, but there are many other conditions that can also cause paralysis or lameness in your chicken. ... 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: Coccidiosis Overview
A: Coccidiosis Also called
Cocci

Prevalence-
Very common

Signs
General signs...
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Q: Spraddle leg overview
A: Spraddle leg Also called
Splay leg

Prevalence-
Common

Signs
General signs...
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Q: Crossed beak overview
A: Crossed beak
Also called
Cross beak, scissor beak, scissors beak, crooked beak, lateral beak...
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Q: Coryza Overview
A: Coryza Also called
Cold, Infectious Coryza, IC, Roup

Prevalence-
Common

Signs
...
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Q: Mycoplasma gallisepticum Overview
A: Mycoplasma gallisepticum Also called
MG, Chronic Respiratory Disease, Infectious sinusitis (in turkeys)

Prevalence-...
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Q: Avian Encephalomyelitis Overview
A: Avian encephalomyelitis Also called
AE, epidemic tremor, New England Disease, Star-gazing Syndrome

Prevalence-...
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Q: Heart attack overview
A: Heart attack Also called
Sudden Death Syndrome, SDS, acute death syndrome, flip-over disease, acute heart...
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Q: Omphalitis overview
A: Omphalitis Also called
Navel infection, mushy chick, yolk sac infection

Prevalence-...
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Q: Pullorum Overview
A: Pullorum Disease Also called
PD, Bacillary White Diarrhea, BWD, White Diarrhea

Prevalence-...
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Q: Pasted Vent Overview
A: Pasted Vent Also called
Pasting, vent gleet, pasty butt

Prevalence-
Very common in chicks. Not common in adult...
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Q: Egg Binding Overview
A: Egg binding Also called
Eggbound hen, stuck egg, bound egg, obstructed vent

Prevalence-
Common in some breeds...
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Q: Vent prolapse overview
A: Vent Prolapse Also called
Blowout

Prevalence-
Common in some breeds and crosses, especially those prone to...
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Q: Egg Yolk Peritonitis Overview
A: Egg Yolk Peritonitis Also called
Yolk peritonitis, yolk stroke, abdominal sepsis, abdominal septicemia

Prevalence-...
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Q: What is the nutritional difference between the eggs I can get at a grocery store and eggs my hens lay at home?
A: Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get such good eggs in the grocery store? Until things change, though, most people really can’t.

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Q: Aspergillosis Overview
A: Aspergillosis Also called
Pneumonia, coop or brooder pneumonia, mycotic pneumonia, pneumomycosis

Prevalence-...
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Q: Botulism Overview
A: Botulism Also called
Food poisoning

Prevalence-
Infrequent

Signs
General signs...
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Q: VVD Overview
A: VVD Also called
Varus/Valgus Deformity, Twisted leg, Crooked leg

Prevalence-
Rare in home flocks; common in...
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Q: Myiasis Overview
A: Also called
Flystrike, fly blown

Prevalence-
Infrequent. It is more common in other animals such as sheep or...
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Q: Lymphoid Leucosis Overview
A: Lymphoid Leucosis Also called
Liver cancer, Liver disease, LL

Prevalence-
Common

Signs
...
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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

Q: Salmonella (general) - Overview
A: Salmonella (general) Also called
Various types of Salmonella infection include Pullorum, Typhoid, Paratyphoid, Arizonosis,...
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Q: Are there any special secrets to help my chickens stay warm in the winter?
A:

Secrets? No. Tricks? A few, maybe.

First of all, take a few moments to review read more

Q: How can I tell if my hens' eggs are fertile?

A: Crack a fresh, unincubated egg into a bowl in good light. If you have sharp eyes, you will see that a fertile egg has a faint bullseye, the... read more

Q: What treats taste best to chickens?
A: Chickens LOVE treats, and they have their own individual tastes and preferences, of course. But we hate to break it to you: they have almost no taste... read more

Q: Should I give my hens vegetarian feed?
A: You have probably seen labels on grocery store eggs claiming they have been laid by "vegetarian-fed hens," so is this something you should be looking... read more

Q: Can I give my chickens moldy bread, moldy leftovers or moldy feed?
A: No, your chickens should not eat anything with mold on it. Just as moldy or rotten food can make you sick, it can make them sick. Sharing some... read more

Q: What is the deep litter method of coop bedding management, and how does it work?
A: The traditional way to manage bedding in the coop is to put a light layer of bedding down--for bedding recommendations, see the related questions... read more

Q: Why is it necessary that my chickens have grit?
A: "Scarce as hens' teeth." Have you ever heard that expression before? Of course, chickens don't have teeth... and that's a problem, since their diet... read more

Q: Will a broody hen starve herself to death on the nest?
A: It's unlikely she'll starve, but even so, it's not unheard of for a hen to die on the nest. Remember, even when they're broody, they do get off the... read more

Q: How do I keep my small, enclosed run from becoming muddy?
A: Depending on where you are in the country and how your coop is sited, you may occasionally have problems with mud in the run. There are worse things... read more

Q: What is an apron fence, and why is it helpful?
A: An apron fence is a fence that helps to keep out digging predators. But it isn't normally a special type of fence that you buy; it's more of a... read more

Q: How do I calibrate my hygrometer?
A: Hatching read more

Q: Why do chicken combs look so different from one another, and what is a comb?
A: A comb is the fleshy (usually) red erectile tissue on top of a chicken's head. Different breeds have different combs. There are a few main comb... read more

Q: Can I give my chickens wild birdseed mix?
A: Bird seed mixes are usually too high in fat, too low in vitamins (especially when the mixes are high in millet and cracked corn) to meet the long... read more

Q: Should I treat my chickens with black oil sunflower seeds, or striped sunflower seeds?
A: Sunflower seeds are a good treat for your chickens. They're widely available, chickens typically love them, and for a treat, they're quite read more

Q: How many chicks must I purchase to meet the minimum order during the winter months?
A: We want to make sure your chicks arrive safe and sound.

read more

Q: Ascites Overview
A: Ascites Also called
Pulmonary hypertension syndrome, waterbelly, fluid retained in abdomen

Prevalence-...
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Q: If I'm interested in getting started in keeping backyard chickens, where do I begin?
A: If you're longing to keep pet chickens, sometimes it's hard to even know where to begin your exciting chicken adventure. We're happy to help you get... read more

Q: What's a coop, what's a run, and how much space should they provide my chickens?
A: A coop is really any structure in which your chickens shelter. In most areas of the country, a chicken coop is an enclosed space, but in warmer areas... read more

Q: Can you safely ship chicks to Alaska or Hawaii?
A: We can safely ship chicks to Alaska and Hawaii. However, we can only safely ship to certain zip codes within those states. The post... read more

Q: My chick's toes are all curled up--what's wrong with her?
A: Sometimes a chick will develop or hatch with a condition called curled toes or curly toes in one or both feet.

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Q: Can I keep an indoor pet chicken, or do I need a coop and run outside?
A: Sometimes people get the idea to keep an indoor pet chicken, or a "house chicken." It's not a good idea to keep them permanently indoors, though.... read more

Q: How do I handle a flighty chicken?
A: If the hen you need to handle runs from you every time you get near, what do you do--chase her around the yard and see who gets tired first? Well,... read more

Q: How do I introduce my new chicks to other young chicks in the brooder?
A:

Introducing new hens to an established flock can be tricky (see how to do that in the related questions below)---but luckily it's much easier to... read more

Q: There are so many different terms for chickens--juvenile, cockerel, pullet, chick, hen, rooster, peep, biddy, started pullet, point-of-lay pullet, broody, brood, flock--what do they all mean?

A:

There ARE a lot of different terms for chicken, aren't there? It can be a little confusing, especially when you're just starting out. So let's... read more

Q: How much water do chickens drink per day?

A:

Are you going to need to refill your chicken waterer once a day... or once a week? You might be wanting to plan ahead for what size waterer you'll... read more

Q: What are official details of the BUY A COOP, GET SOME LOOT promotion?

A: