Chicken Help

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Q: How can so few chicks arrive at their location safely?
A: Most hatcheries require 15 or 25 baby chicks per order because the chicks need one another's body heat to survive their 2-day journey. This is a big... read more

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. Please check "Can you safely ship chicks to... 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: I live in Hawaii and I'm ordering chicks. What do I need to know?
A: First and foremost: we cannot safely ship to every zip code in your beautiful state. Only some zip codes are safe to ship to. Please read "Can... read more

Q: How will I know that my chicks have arrived at the post office?
A:

Good question! First of all, don't forget that our chicks can arrive any day from Tuesday through Thursday of the week they are shipped--it just... read more

Q: Can I have two phone numbers printed on my box?

A: Yes! During the checkout process you will have the opportunity to give us two different phone numbers. If you give us two, we'll make sure both... 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: Can I schedule delivery of my baby chicks on a specific day of the week?
A: Unfortunately, no! You do have some control, though. Chicks are hatched Mondays and Wednesdays. Smaller orders automatically ship Express, while you... read more

Q: Can I choose Rushed or Next Day shipping to get my baby chicks faster?
A: Neither Fed Ex nor UPS will ship live baby chicks, so all orders of fewer than 15 chicks and orders that ship in the colder months (December 1... read more

Q: How old will my chicks be when I get them?
A: They'll be less than 72 hours old. They ship Mondays and Tuesdays as soon as they're hatched and the birds you've reserved have been packed into your... 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: I already placed my order for baby chicks. Can I change it?
A: Yes, in most cases you can call us at 888-460-1529 to have your order changed, but before you do, read on because there are three important things... read more

Q: Can I cancel my order for baby chicks?
A: Yes, we're happy to cancel an order provided you let us know by the Thursday before your scheduled ship week. As you remember from checkout,... read more

Q: What happens if a chick 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: Coccidiosis 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: Is Salmonella a concern with backyard chickens?
A: Not usually, but let us explain why. Humans do not catch Salmonella from chicks or chickens the way you would catch a cold from your neighbor.... read more

Q: Are your birds "show-quality"?
A: Especially with our fertile hatching eggs, we have some great lines that produce amazing show prospects. Ours is an NPIP hatchery and our birds are... read more

Q: What if my chick package is late?
A: Please notify us Thursday if your package has not arrived by then--but do not notify us before Thursday. The US postal service is very good about... read more

Q: How do you tell if a baby chick is female or male?
A: If you have a "sex link" chick, it's easy! Males and females hatch out different colors. 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: What time of year should I order baby chicks?
A: Depending on the breeds you want, you may find that there's a wait of six months or more, so we recommend you place your order just as soon as you're... read more

Q: Should I heat my chicken coop in the winter?
A: We don't recommend you offer supplemental heat to your coop unless your temps regularly drop well below freezing... Seriously! Chickens adapt to the... read more

Q: Do you sell older chickens?
A: Yes! We usually have two or three batches of juvenile 6-week-old chickens available each year at various times. They do sell out very quickly, so... read more

Q: Why do hens eat their own eggs? How can I stop them?
A: Diets low in protein can encourage egg eating simply because the hens are trying to get the nutrition they need. Make sure your are feeding your... 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: Chicken age: how can I tell?
A: If you bought or acquired adult chickens somewhere else and I want to know how old they are, we have some bad news about chicken age. It is very... 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 include males for warmth in your baby chick packages?
A: You may have heard that hatcheries sometimes include extra "males for warmth" in their baby chick packages, but you can be sure we'll never purposely... 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: When do chickens start laying eggs?
A: On average, chickens start laying eggs at 6 months old, depending on the breed. Breeds like Australorps, Leghorns, Golden Comets and Sex Links will... read more

Q: At what age does a rooster grow spurs?
A: This varies widely from breed to breed, and in fact the hens of many breeds even grow small spurs! Some can appear as soon as three months, while... 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.

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Q: How do brown eggs become brown (instead of white)?
A: The brown color in an egg is laid on in the chicken's reproductive tract by the shell gland pouch. Some breeds lay a tinted egg with a very light... read more

Q: How do blue eggs become blue (instead of white or brown)?
A: Whereas the brown color of an egg is laid on the outside of the shell, the blue color actually goes all the way through the shell, even to the inside... read more

Q: How do I find a new home for a rooster I don't want?
A: Unfortunately, as you've learned, sexing is more of an art than an exact science, so when you buy day old chicks, there's always a risk of receiving... read more

Q: How can I tell if my juvenile bird is a rooster?
A: Comb size and redness can be one indicator, but is not usually reliable. In fact, it's one of the worst indicators you can use, as comb size varies... read more

Q: Are fertilized eggs okay to eat?
A: Fertilized eggs are fine to eat, in fact some people claim they healthier than unfertilized eggs, although we've never seen any data supporting that.... read more

Q: What is this black spot or thin string attached to my baby chick's rear end?
A: It's your chick's umbilical cord, and if you notice, that black, scabby spot or string will be below your check's vent or "pooper." Be SURE not to... read more

Q: Can you tell the sex of chicks when they're still in the egg?
A: There is no reliable way for the average home hatcher to tell the difference between an egg that will hatch a female chick and an egg that will hatch... read more

Q: There is a black spot on my chicken's face! Should I be worried?
A: When a chicken gets a peck or a scrape on a comb or face, this will manifest as a black spot or scab, and isn't usually a cause for concern. If ALL... read more

Q: There are hawks or owls in our area. Will our chickens be safe?
A: Hawks and owls can most certainly be a danger to chickens (heck, even read more

Q: How do I transition my juvenile chicks to their outdoor coop when it's cold outside?
A: There is no perfect age to transition your chicks to their outdoor coop, but generally by the time they are 5 or 6 weeks old, they're getting large... read more

Q: My chickens are 7 months old and I still haven't seen an egg. Why?
A: First, you should make sure they are on a good chicken feed. Once they have begun laying, switch to layer pellet or crumble; until then, feed them... read more

Q: My chickens run away whenever they see me. Can I tame them?
A: In general, chickens can be tamable and friendly by the same sorts of general methods you would use with a dog or a cat. Presuming they are healthy... 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: How much does it cost to feed a chicken?
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: What is the best way to wash and store my eggs?
A: It's counter-intuitive but true: Your eggs will stay fresher if you don't wash them at all. When your hens lay eggs, there is a natural coating that... read more

Q: How do I care for a wounded chicken?
A: It is stressful to have a hurt chicken because an avian veterinarian can be hard to find, but don't panic. If you can't locate a vet, simple first... read more

Q: What size should my nest boxes be, and how should I position them?
A: With all the investment you've made in your flock, you don't want your precious chicken, duck, or goose eggs to be read more

Q: Can different chicken breeds cross-breed?
A: Yes, they can! There are no problems associated with hatching mixed breed chickens. If you have a rooster in your flock, he will try to breed ALL... 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 inquantity.... 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: Why did my rooster suddenly become aggressive?
A: Roosters can sometimes be a bit aggressive! One important thing to remember is that they see themselves as the protectors of "their" hens, so they... read more

Q: What do I need to know about ordering fertile hatching eggs from My Pet Chicken?
A: My Pet Chicken absolutely guarantees that the 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.

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Q: What is my best minimum order?
A: We want to be sure your chicks arrive safely, so we have a special packaging method so your new pets are snug and secure while they travel. In fact,... 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: Can you ship my chicks via UPS or Fed Ex?
A: No, sorry! UPS and Fed Ex will not ship chicks - only the United States Postal Service will -- and they've been doing it since the 1800s! (We ship... 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 free range my chickens?
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: Are you a member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP)?
A: Yes! Our hatching facility and all other breeders with whom we contract are NPIP-certified. If you would like NPIP papers to be included with your... read more

Q: What are the signs of mites or lice and how do I treat my birds if they have an infestation?
A: Mites and lice are a common problem for chickens and can be carried in by wild birds, so keep that in mind. That means that if you have an... read more

Q: How can I help my young children understand the wait to have our baby chicks 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: What are the rough patches and hard pimples on my egg shells?
A: This is usually an occasional thing, although younger or older hens are more prone to it. If your chicken is young, sometimes rough shells can occur... read more

Q: Why does my hen sometimes lay eggs with ridges halfway down the shell?
A: You may be describing what is called a "body checked egg." Body checks are ridges or grooves that occur around an egg, usually at the pointed end.... read more

Q: What is the blood spot in my hen's egg?
A: These spots aren't related to having a rooster--or not!--in your flock. Presuming they are fertile, eggs with blood or meat spots are actually less... read more

Q: What does the word "broody" mean?
A: When a hen is broody, that means she wants to hatch her eggs and raise chicks.

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Q: Why did my chicken lay a shell-less egg?
A: A shell-less egg is a strange sight! You might think a shell-less egg would look like a cracked egg: a mess of white and yolk soaking into nesting... read more

Q: Why are the whites of my chickens' eggs watery?
A: Usually the whites of very fresh eggs such as you may gather from your own flock will be very thick in comparison to what you may be used to seeing... read more

Q: The whites of my chickens' eggs are a funny color--what does that mean?
A: Cloudy whites in a farm egg are usually indicative of its freshness. The cloudiness is caused by dissolved carbon dioxide in the white, which... read more

Q: My chicken has a lump or tumor on her chest--what should I do?
A: You are probably seeing your chicken's crop. A chicken's crop is a part of her digestive system, and is located on her breast. You can see it in the... read more

Q: My flock is pecking one another! What should I do?
A: Pecking, also called picking, is almost always the result of high stress levels. When that happens, the birds will sometimes pluck each others'... read more

Q: What should I do if my chickens get too hot? Will they die?
A: Well, yes, they could... if your chickens are unable to cool themselves, they could seize and die. How can you tell if your flock is in distress? Hot... read more

Q: At what age does a rooster begin crowing?
A: The age a rooster will first crow varies, but generally speaking, he will begin crowing at about four or five months of age, at about the time he... read more

Q: If I order straight run birds, how many of each sex am I guaranteed to get?
A: Straight run birds are an "as hatched" mix of males and females. Therefore, if you were to order eight straight run birds, for example, you will get... read more

Q: What are the signs that a hen will start laying?
A: A hen who is ready to lay exhibits the following signs: