Secrets? No. Tricks? A few, maybe.
First of all, take a few moments to review read more
How can I tell if my hens' eggs are fertile?
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
What treats taste best to chickens?
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
Should I give my hens vegetarian feed?
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
Can I give my chickens moldy bread, moldy leftovers or moldy feed?
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
What is the deep litter method of coop bedding management, and how does it work?
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
Why is it necessary that my chickens have grit?
"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
Will a broody hen starve herself to death on the nest?
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
How do I keep my run from becoming muddy?
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
What is an apron fence, and why is it helpful?
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
How do I calibrate my hygrometer?
Hatching read more
Will all of my blue chicks actually be blue?
It's possible... but in general, no. The color blue just doesn't hatch true in chickens. The genes for "blue" are actually more like diluting genes.... read more
Why do chicken combs look so different from one another, and what is a comb?
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
Can I give my chickens wild birdseed mix?
Birdseed mixes are usually too high in fat and too low in vitamins (especially when the mixes are high in millet and cracked corn) to meet the... read more
Can I feed my chickens black oil or striped sunflower seeds?
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
All about Ascites disease
If your bird has a large, reddish, swollen belly and but otherwise looks bluish, along with having respiratory issues like a cough, it's possible she... read more
If I'm interested in getting started in keeping backyard chickens, where do I begin?
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
How much space should my chickens have inside their coop?
A chicken coop is any structure in which your chickens shelter. In most areas of the country, a chicken coop is an enclosed space, but in warmer... read more
Can you safely ship chicks to Alaska or Hawaii?
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
My chick's toes are all curled up--what's wrong with her?
Sometimes a chick will develop or hatch with a condition called curled toes or curly toes in one or both feet.
Can I keep an indoor pet chicken, or do I need a coop and run outside?
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
How do I handle a flighty chicken?
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
How do I introduce my new chicks to other young chicks in the brooder?
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
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?
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
How much water do chickens drink per day?
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
What do I need to know about bears if I keep chickens?
*Large mammals, most species are omnivorous. (Polar bears are mostly... read more
Can't I just mix my own chicken feed at home?
Yes, you CAN mix your feed at home. But that said, it's not very easy or inexpensive, as people who ask this question often seem to assume. For... read more
How long do I have to keep my chicken quarantined after treating for an illness or infection?
There is not a single answer to that question--it will depend on what your bird has been treated for. For instance, once you've treated for mites and... read more
What are frizzles, sizzles, and frazzles?
Frizzles and sizzles are not breeds of chickens so much as they are words describing three very showy feather types that chickens can exhibit.... read more
What's the difference between Breeds, Designer Chicken Breeds, and Varieties of chicken?
Let's talk about Designer Chicken Breeds, Breeds, and Varieties, so you'll understand the differences in... read more
What is wry tail?
A chicken whose tail always twists to one side has "wry tail." This is a condition that is exactly what it sounds like: your chicken's tail is held... read more
Can I add fall leaves to the run?
Yes, but you probably won't want to add too much, too often.
There may be some entertainment value in adding a few fallen leaves sparingly... read more
Can I feed my chickens garden clippings?
It really depends on what you grow. The leaves of nightshade-family veggies such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and the like are not good... read more
Can I spread grass clippings in the chicken run?
No, grass clippings would be bad for your flock.
Most people will find this advice counter-intuitive, because chickens love to eat grasses,... read more
What is a chicken's crop? What is a gizzard?
A chicken's crop is a part of her digestive system, and is located on her breast. You see it in the illustration below, closest to the front. When it... read more
What are a chicken's hackles?
A chicken's hackle feathers are the feathers around the neck. These feathers can sometimes be showy in roosters. People that "fly tie" (for trout... read more
What does "straight run" mean?
Straight run chicks are an "as hatched" mix of male and female chicks.
What are bantam chickens?
Bantams chickens are miniature chickens. Regular-sized chickens are often called "standards," but in reality the correct term for the larger chickens... read more
What is a chicken's spur?
A spur is a horny growth on a chicken's legs, right above the toes. In most breeds, roosters are the only ones who grow spurs. Roosters use their... read more
What is bedding or litter?
Bedding or litter is the material added to the coop floor and nest box in order to absorb odor and droppings and provide a soft surface for your... read more
What is the "bloom" of an egg?
The bloom, cuticle, or cuticula is a natural protective covering of an that helps keep bacteria from invading the porous shell.
What is candling?
Candling is the process of shining a bright light into an egg to have a look at the contents. It used to be done with a candle in a dark room, but... read more
What is regular chicken body temperature?
Chickens have a much higher body temperature than humans do. Normal chicken body temperature ranges from about 105 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Just as... read more
What is fancy feathering in chickens?
"Fancy feathering" refers to unusual feathering that some varieties of chickens have. There are different types of fancy feathering.... read more
What is a droppings tray?
A droppings tray is a great coop feature, if yo're lucky enough to have it! It's like a shallow drawer in your coop that can be pulled out and dumped... read more
What is a feeder for my pet chickens?
A feeder is the item you use to dispense feed for your flock. Of course, you could always just dispense feed on the ground or in a dish, but there... read more
What is a roost?
A roost is a perch for a chicken---what s/he sleeps on, usually a branch, pole, or board that is elevated. It also refers to the act of resting on... read more
What is incubation?
Incubation is similar to "gestation" in animals that give live birth. It's the process in which the embryo in a fertilized egg develops into a baby... read more
What is a dual-purpose chicken?
In the modern day, factory farm chickens are kept for laying or meat production. Laying breeds, or "layers," tend to produce impressive... read more
What is the difference between different types of chicken feeds like starter, grower, finisher, layer, and developer?
Starter, grower, finisher, layer, and developer are all considered "complete feeds" to offer your chickens, but they come in different... read more
What is a dust bath, and do my chickens need one?
A dust bath is essentially a "bath" your birds will take in dry dirt. They'll flop around looking as if they're dying. But don't be alarmed! They're... read more
What is a fertilized chicken egg?
Fertile eggs are those that contain both ova and sperm, and will develop into a baby chick if incubated. If you have nothing but hens in your flock,... read more
What is the Latin name for chicken?
The Latin name for chicken is Gallus gallus domesticus.
What is a nest box?
A nest box, also called a nesting box, is an enclosed area meant to give chickens a place they feel comfortable laying their eggs.
Chickens... read more
What is a setter and what is a non-setter in chickens?
A setter is a hen who will hatch her eggs. A non-setter is a hen who will not hatch eggs.
The vast majority of chicken breeds will... read more
What is pecking order?
"Pecking order" is the social hierarchy of the chicken flock. Those at the top of the pecking order get the best nesting spots and roosting spots,... read more
What is a poultry show?
A Poultry Show or exhibition is very much like a dog show. Breeders and fanciers---often 4-Hers---bring their best chickens to show them at the... read more
What are wattles? Are they they same thing as earlobes?
Wattles are the red flaps of tissue that hang down beneath a chicken's throat.
What are shanks and spurs?
A chicken's shank is the bottom part of her leg, above the foot, but below the hock. The spur is the chicken's chief weapon, and grows out of the... read more
What is a chicken coop?
The word "coop" simply refers to the structure that your chickens live in. A run refers to the enclosed part of the chickens' area that is outside,... read more
What is sexing, autosexing, and sex-linked?
The word "sexing" simply refers to the process by which chicks are sorted into males and females. Chicks are not easy to tell apart because they... read more
What is a chicken's vent? Fluff? Wheezer? Cloaca?
Prepare yourself for this: a chicken's vent is the opening where she expels waste AND the opening from which she lays her eggs. It's all one... read more
What are hackles, sickles, and saddles?
Hackles, sickles, saddles: these are all terms referring to different types of chicken feathers.
"Hackles" are the feathers around the... read more
What is a wormer?
A "wormer" is a medication used to help rid your chickens of infestations of internal parasites like round worms or other worms, the same way you... read more
What is a waterer?
A waterer is simply the vessel or system you use to provide water for your birds. Waterers may be basic and made from plastic or metal.
What is a Showgirl CHICKEN?
A Showgirl is a type of chicken that combines the features of two of the weirdest-looking chicken breeds, Silkies and... read more
How do I raise show quality chickens?
Well, it helps to start with good stock. Have a look at our special read more
What does BBS stand for with chickens?
BBS stands for "Blue-Black-Splash." But that doesn't tell you a whole lot, either, if you don't know how the genetics of blue plumage colors works!... read more
What is the best brand of chicken feed?
That's a little like asking for the best brand of jeans. In other words, most major brands are going to be fine, and what's "best" will depend on you... read more
Will my chickens be bothered by mice?
Well, it's true that if you leave chicken feed out where mice can get to it, it's possible that some may show up to eat the feed, just as they would... read more
What is wire gauge, and why should I care about it?
When you're looking at fencing... read more
Can I cancel or change my order for fertile hatching eggs?
Yes, we're happy to cancel or change an order of fertile hatching eggs provided you let us know by the week before your scheduled ship week.... read more
Can I cancel or change my order for juvenile 6 week old chickens (started pullets)?
Yes, we're happy to cancel or change an order of juvenile chickens provided you let us know by the week before your scheduled ship week. For... read more
What should I consider when choosing a waterer for my flock?
As you probably know by now, it's not a good idea -- at all -- to simply give chickens a bowl of water like you would a dog or a cat. They'll dirty... read more
What is NPIP and why should I purchase only from NPIP breeders?
NPIP stands for National Poultry Improvement Plan, and it's a voluntary certification system that poultry breeders and hatcheries can participate in.... read more
All about Avian Infectious Bronchitis disease
Avian Infectious Bronchitis is a respiratory illness that results in death in about 5% of the birds that contract it, and may cause a permanent... read more
All about Domestic Newcastle disease
Newcastle Disease, Avian Distemper, Pseudofowl, ND, Parainfluenza, Fake Flu... read more
All about Virulent Newcastle Disease
Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) is no joke. It is easily spread among birds (wild and domestic), and once it is contracted, even birds that survive... read more
What is quarantine and when should I quarantine my flock?
In your backyard flock, quarantine is the act of isolating a chicken or chickens who has been potentially or actually exposed to contagious illness... read more
How can I cope with the loss of my chicken?
First, we're so sorry to hear about the loss of your chicken. Losing any pet is hard, but there's something about having a bird who begs for pets and... read more
Can bed bugs bother my chickens?
Ew, yuck! But yes: just as bed bugs can feed on dogs and cats, they can feed on chickens, too. It's a particular problem with chickens in factory... read more
What is an overhatch and why do you advertise it?
Well, let's start with the idea that we literally count our chickens before they've hatched. :) The exhortation against doing that is pretty good... read more
All about Salpingitis disease
If your hen lays a read more
What is a lash egg?
A lash egg is less of an egg than it is a roughly egg- or sausage-shaped exudate, consisting of thickened pus and other materials. It is probably read more
Will my lawn be safe for my pet chickens at the same time it's safe for dogs or cats, after I've had it treated?
No, even if the lawn treatment may be safe for dogs and cats, it won't necessarily be safe for your pet chickens. Remember, dogs and cats are not... read more
How do I break my hen of broodiness?
If your hen has gone broody, that means she wants to hatch eggs. She'll puff up and stay in the nest---even if the eggs in there aren't fertile (she... read more
All about Infectious Laryngotracheitis disease
"Laryngotracheitis" simply means inflammation of the larynx and trachea--in this case caused by a highly-contagious virus. The virus cannot be spread... read more
All about Fowl Pox (Wet) disease
Imagine having chicken pox in your mouth and throat! Though the virus that causes wet fowl pox is different from the one that causes chicken pox in... read more
All about Fowl Pox (Dry) disease
Chickens with advanced stages of dry fowl pox look completely miserable (scroll down and you'll see some potentially upsetting pictures!), but... read more
All about Infectious Synovitis disease
Harmful bacteria are the cause of many chicken (and human) diseases. In the case of Infectious Synovitis, the most recognizable sign of the disease... read more
All about Mycotoxicosis disease
When feed gets wet, it can grow mold or other fungi that can produce toxins that are dangerous or even deadly for chickens. When a bird ingests those... read more
All about Nutritional Myopathy disease
Nutritional Myopathy--which can cause chickens to have muscular degeneration or slowed growth--is caused by a lack of vitamin E, along with a... read more
All about Perosis disease
Perosis is a nutritional deficiency that can cause swollen, twisted, broken, or bowed legs, or loss of color in feathers, the comb, or the roof of... read more
All about Polyneuritis disease
If one of your bird's neck muscles seems to have "frozen" in a position that leaves them staring at the sky, it's possible they have polyneuritis, or... read more
All about Encephalomalacia disease
Unlike most diseases, Encephalomalacia (try saying that three times quickly!), is not caused by a virus, bacterium, or fungus. Also known as "crazy... read more
All about Marek's Disease
Marek's disease is a dreaded illness that can be contracted by chickens nearly anywhere in the world. It is almost always fatal, and even birds that... read more
All about Infectious Bursal Disease
It's always a good idea for chicks to have a lot of protein in their diet, right? Not necessarily! Infectious Bursal Disease is more prevalent in... read more
All about Blackhead disease
Blackhead disease isn't likely to actually turn your chickens' heads black (thankfully!). In fact, it is much more likely to affect turkeys (wild or... read more
How much space should my chickens have in their run?
The "run" is a fenced or enclosed yard space you give your flock outdoors, where they can forage, sunbathe and generally engage in all the chicken-y... read more
What is a chicken run?
A chicken run is the fenced or enclosed outdoor space you provide for your chickens. The coop is the indoor space---where they go to sleep on their... read more
All about Fowl Spirochetosis (Borrelia) disease
Spirochetosis is a tick-born bacterial disease that is rare in the United States (thankfully!). Spirochetosis can be caused by the Brachyspira or the... read more
All about Fowl Spirochetosis (Brachyspira) disease
Giving your flock plenty of space and a clean, dry, coop and run area with little stress is more than just a luxury for your birds; it's also a great... read more
How do I train my chickens to drink from nipples?
Many chicken keepers prefer nipple drinkers over conventional style drinkers for reasons of convenience and cleanliness. read more
How long are roosters fertile?
Like with any animal, this can depend on the particular bird. That said, roosters are sort of like human males: they will probably be fertile most of... read more
How do I find an avian veterinarian?
It's always a good idea to seek out an avian veterinarian BEFORE you get chickens, so you'll know where to turn in case of any emergency or health... read more
Why your chickens are not laying eggs (overview)
There are a number of possible reasons your chickens are not laying eggs. Let's look at a brief overview of reasons to give you some ideas, and you... read more
Chicken illnesses with neurological symptoms (overview)
When your chicken is showing neurological symptoms, there are a number of chicken illnesses that could be causing the problem. We know how worrisome... read more
All about Avian Influenza disease
The idea of "Bird Flu" (Avian Influenza) may strike fear in the minds of many chicken keepers because of past outbreaks in Asia. When fear is... read more
What is the best location for my chicken coop?
There are many considerations to take into account when determining the placement of your chicken coop. Here are 10 tips that can help you find... read more
Chicken illnesses with respiratory symptoms (overview)
When your chicken is showing respiratory symptoms, there are a number of chicken illnesses that could be causing the problem. We know how worrisome... read more
Chick illnesses and issues (overview)
When you're worried your new baby chicks are ill, there are a number of things that could be responsible!
What are "reportable diseases" when it comes to chickens?
Reportable diseases are chicken illnesses that are serious and communicable enough that in the U.S., you (and your vet) are required to report... read more
Do ducks and geese make good pets?
Yes, they do!--but it's important to remember that they are not dogs or cats - or even chickens! And that's some of the fun of keeping them--learning... read more
I'm a teacher. How can I have a successful classroom hatching project?
Hatching eggs at school can be a rewarding and enlightening school project! In fact, the owner of My Pet Chicken was first charmed by chickens during... read more
At what age do ducks and geese start laying eggs?
Assuming that they have had proper care, lighter-weight duck breeds mature sexually at 17-24 weeks of age and begin laying eggs at that time.
... read more
Is the floor surface important with ducks and geese?
Yes!--it is very important. As babies, ducklings and goslings need a surface they can grip until their leg muscles and hips are strong, just as with... read more
What are mule ducks?
A "mule" duck is a sterile hybrid cross between a Muscovy and a Pekin.Because these two breeds have been genetically isolated for 50 million years,... read more
Can ducks and geese survive on a pond?
Yes--potentially! But before you release a few ducks or geese onto your backyard pond, here are some things to consider: ... read more
Do ducks and geese have to have swimming water?
While ducks and geese DO need fresh, clean drinking water, and ideally have ready access to a shallow area with "dipping" water (enough for them to... read more
How do I introduce new ducks into my flock?
With ducks, the process is usually simpler than when introducing chickens to each other. Normally, you can simply put ducks together and within a few... read more
Can ducks and geese be outside during the winter?
Yes! Ducks and geese have a wonderful fluffy undercoating beneath their feathers called "down" that is generally considered by outdoorsy-people to be... read more
What is the life expectancy of ducks and geese?
If cared for properly, ducks can live to 7-10 years, and some exceptional birds may live longer than that. Geese normally live 10-15 years, but there... read more
Can different waterfowl breeds cross-breed?
Yes, it is genetically possible for any breed of duck to cross with any other breed of duck, and any goose breed can also cross with other breeds of... read more
Can I keep just one duck or goose?
Having a cute duck follow you around the house or a goose fly along beside your car as you run errands--it's a fun idea, right? After all, it's not... read more
What causes the black spots on my duck's bill?
Well...melanin and xanthophyll, of course!
In most cases, black spots on a duck's bill and legs are simply melanin skin pigment, which is... read more
Will ducks attack children?
It is extremely rare for a duck to attack a person. As prey animals, their main defense is to run or fly away. There is a much greater chance... read more
How can I keep ducks out of my swimming pool? Can my ducks and geese drink and swim in chlorinated water?
First--no worries about chlorinated water and your waterfowl flock; it will not harm them. So if your personal pet flock finds your pool, you don't... read more
My chicken has frostbite. How do I help them?
Frostbite occurs when the body becomes very cold and sends a signal to constrict blood vessels in the extremities in order to direct more blood to... read more
How can I tell if my chicken has frostbite?
Frostbite occurs when the body becomes very cold and sends a signal to constrict blood vessels in the extremities in order to direct more blood to... read more
How do I introduce new geese into my flock?
While geese generally get along well with one another, adding a new goose or gander to your gaggle can be a stressful time for them--and for you!--as... read more
How do you ship waterfowl?
We ship all of our waterfowl by USPS Priority Mail. Our desire is for every duckling and gosling to arrive safely, so we specialize our packaging... read more
How can I track my waterfowl shipment? Do you provide a tracking number?
No worries! We do our best to make sure that you're "in the loop" throughout the process.
Unless the date falls on a holiday, birds are... read more
What is the minimum order for ducklings and goslings?
Since shipping little ones can be so expensive, our minimum order for waterfowl is usually 10. However, if you are ok higher shipping costs, we can... read more
Do ducks, geese, and chickens get along with each other?
Yes! Generally speaking, ducks, geese, and chickens (and most other types of fowl) get along really well with one another without too many issues,... read more
How do I care for ducklings and goslings?
Baby ducks and geese are EXTREMELY cute, and they are generally easier to raise than chicks. Nevertheless, if you decide to add geese or ducks to... read more
How do I tell male and female waterfowl apart?
What exactly do you have--drakes or ducks? Geese or ganders? Great question! The answer may be relatively easy or hard to tell, depending on the age... read more
How will I know which breeds are which on my waterfowl order?
Congratulations! You've received your order of waterfowl from My Pet Chicken and now you want to know which breed is which. No problem! Using the leg... read more
Why don't you offer a vaccination for ducklings and goslings?
Thankfully, ducks and geese are less prone to most common poultry diseases and parasites, so they don't need to be vaccinated. Chickens and turkeys... read more
Why don't you ship waterfowl to Hawaii?
Unfortunately, ducklings cannot be sent to Hawaii because the state government is afraid that domestic ducks will cross with Hawaii's native Koloa... read more
How do I pick up a goose?
In a word--carefully! Geese are very strong animals, and you will want to learn to catch and hold them properly to avoid getting pummeled by their... read more
How can I handle an aggressive goose?
Geese can make great pets, and thankfully, most geese do not exhibit aggressive behavior. Among those that do, it is usually confined to the breeding... read more
Do geese make good pets? Can't they be mean or aggressive?
You may be surprised to find that the answer to both questions is...yes! Geese can make great pets, and yes, they can sometimes be aggressive. Before... read more
Do you ship to Canada?
We cannot ship any of our products to Canada, Mexico, or any other country. We also cannot ship to American territories, including Puerto Rico,... read more
What is a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD)?
Livestock Guardians are animals that protect livestock on the farm. They can be llamas or donkeys, but in most cases, they are dogs that have been... read more
What's the right ratio of males to females for ducks and geese?
Duck male-to-female ratios
In flocks, the general recommendation is one drake for every 4-6 ducks. During breeding season, that may be... read more
How can I track my baby chick package? Do you provide a tracking number?
We will send you an email with the tracking number for your order when your chicks "fly the coop," and you can use that to follow their progress. We... read more
What happens if a duckling or gosling is incorrectly sexed?
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 bird!... read more
What is vent gleet and how can I treat my chickens that have it?
In baby chicks, read more
What are the best ways to prevent impacted crop, impacted gizzard, and sour crop in my chickens?
Impacted crop occurs when there is a blockage in your chicken's digestive tract, preventing food from traversing her system.
How do I care for guinea keets?
For tick control and flock protection, there's nothing like guinea fowl! If you choose to raise guineas, the basic instructions for caring for baby... read more
Which chicken breeds may need extra heat in winter?
Chickens are incredibly adaptable! They are kept all over the world in all kinds of extreme climates. But it's no secret that some breeds are hardier... read more
When should I take my pet chicken to the vet?
As keepers of pet chickens, we've all been there. You notice one of your birds exhibiting some unusual behaviors or symptoms, and you're faced with a... read more
Can you ship chicks and waterfowl together?
Our chicks and waterfowl are hatched in different facilities and therefore, cannot be shipped together.
If you would like for your waterfowl... read more
What is a "heritage" chicken breed?
The definition of "heritage" in relation to chicken breeds is a bit flexible, but when we use the word, we're referring to breeds that have been... read more
Can I keep just one chicken?
Yes - you can keep just one chicken, but the question is, should you? Keeping one chicken may sound like a great idea to us humans, but is it a good... read more