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?

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 are automatically shipped via the speediest service that the... 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 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: 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 heat your coop unless your temps regularly drop well below freezing... Seriously! Chickens adapt to the cold weather over... 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: 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: 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 can most certainly be a danger to chickens (heck, even CROWS can be a danger to juveniles or bantams). However, only a few types usually bother... 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 chicken feed cost per 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: 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 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?

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 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: 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 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: Are there signs that a hen may be laying?
A: If you are looking for visual signs that your young pullet is getting ready to come into lay, those might include the fact that her comb will get... read more

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 loudly...
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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: Do my chickens need to be wormed, and if so, what schedule should I use?
A: If your chickens have worms, you will want to treat them. Some signs you can look for at home are pale combs, a drop in laying, and watery poo.... 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: How is sex determined in chickens and what does it mean?
A: If you want to know how to tell the difference between males and females in chickens, please see our related questions, below. This question... read more

Q: Can I hold my rooster upside down by the feet to calm him down?
A: No. That's a terrible idea.

Birds' respiratory systems are completely different ours, so holding your rooster upside down can cause him real...
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Q: My hen has sticky, tar-looking poop--is there anything wrong?
A: Probably not. Chickens actually produce two types of poo: fecal poo and cecal poo. Cecal poo is thicker, stinkier and stickier. It usually looks sort... read more

Q: What does your hatchery do with extra males and other chicks that are not adopted?
A: We do understand that other hatcheries may do things differently than we do--did you know that chickens are not protected by the Humane Slaughter Act... read more

Q: What is debeaking or "beak trimming" and do your chickens come that way?
A: No. Our chickens and chicks are not debeaked or "beak trimmed." Our birds have their full, natural beaks.

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Q: How will I know which chick is which breed when I receive my baby chicks?
A: Most chicks do not come marked or tagged in any way. However, females of certain rare breeds now come with colored leg bands applied so they can be... read more

Q: How long do chickens live?
A: Naturally, this will depend on the conditions under which they're kept. Pet chickens that are properly cared for can live a relatively long... read more

Q: What is molting?
A: Molting occurs once a year in mature birds, normally in late summer or autumn. The birds will lose their feathers and regrow new ones. It's a way of... read more

Q: What if one of my chicks dies on the way to me?
A: Losses are rare (we see them happen about 1% of the time), but they do occur. For that reason, we recommend that if you have children, make sure they... 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: Do I need to trim my chickens' nails? If so, how do I do it?
A: Long nails occasionally happen, and it is a good idea to trim them if they get too overgrown so your birds can walk without difficulty. In most cases... 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. That makes sense! Smaller birds lay smaller eggs. Below... read more

Q: How do I get my chickens to sleep on their roosts instead of in their nest boxes at night?
A: Having your chickens sleeping in their nests at night sounds like a natural thing, doesn't it? However, unless your hens are broody and read more

Q: Can chickens fly? Will my chickens be able to fly over my fence?
A: Most heavy, docile backyard breeds don't fly very well and aren't particularly inclined to leave a secure, fenced area. A regular picket fence (if... read more

Q: My hen laid a teeny tiny egg, and when I cracked it open, there was no yolk! Should I be concerned?
A: Awww, isn't that cute!Tiny, yolkless eggs are sometimes known as witch eggs or fairy eggs.

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Q: How much does shipping cost?
A: You can check the exact shipping cost to your location by placing the virtual purchases in your online basket and clicking the "calculate" link... read more

Q: At what age can my chickens begin eating treats?
A: We don't really recommend feeding your new baby chicks treats right away, because they should first learn what their feed is so they will be able to... 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: Can I use a fan to cool the brooder down? My chicks are arriving in the heat of summer, and my brooder is in a hot room.
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: How do I get started breeding my chickens?
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: 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.

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Q: Do you have any tips to help me keep my coop sweet smelling in the heat of summer?
A: Obviously, keeping your coop cleaned and your bedding fresh is the best tip we can offer. Make sure to use pine shavings, and not straw: straw is not... read more

Q: How do I introduce new chickens into my old flock?
A: We get questions about this all the time! Let there be no doubt: adding new birds to your pre-existing crew can be stressful, both to you and the... 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: 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: Do you send extra chicks with every order?
A: No, most of the time, we do not add extra chicks. Especially with small orders, we are careful not to add chicks (although it may happen... read more

Q: Can unvaccinated chickens get Marek's Disease from vaccinated chickens?
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 worried--but it's a good idea to be informed about it.

Bird flu, or Avian Influenza (AI), is a viral disease that can infect...
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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: Are there symptoms I should watch for that mean my birds are seriously ill? If they do get seriously ill, whom should I call?
A: Yes, as a pet owner, you are responsible for keeping your pet chickens safe and healthy, so it's important that you watch to make sure they don't get... 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: How can I tell if my flock is infected with Salmonella? What are the symptoms?
A: While you won't be able to make a firm diagnosis of Salmonella on your own, it will be easy for you to see that your hens are sick. Chickens sick... read more

Q: How is Salmonella infection transmitted to chickens in the first place?
A: You probably don't have to worry about well cared for backyard hens getting ill with salmonella if you provide a clean environment for them. Hens in... read more

Q: What can I do to reduce the risk of my birds getting sick with Salmonella or another illness?
A: The easiest thing to do is simply to provide your birds with safe, roomy, clean conditions. 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 or colors, you'll need to purchase each breed you want and construct your order that way.

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Q: How large are chickens?
A: Chickens can vary in size greatly by breed and variety!

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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: When I am ordering baby chicks or juveniles, when am I charged for the order?
A: You pay for your order as soon as it is placed; that is what holds your reservation. We don't keep your payment information on file---this helps... read more

Q: Why are the yolks of my chickens' eggs settling to one side?
A: Of course, we can't know for sure what may be going on, but we can offer some information that may assist you in figuring it out!

First of...
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Q: How do I know which chickens feeds have hormones and which are hormone-free?
A: There are no hormones in any brand of commercial chicken feed in the United States, according to the US Cooperative Extension Service. We think that... read more

Q: Are there special preparations I should make if I want to have a broody hen adopt and raise my shipped chicks?
A: There is little more beautiful than a mother hen sheltering chicks beneath her wings.

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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: Should I be concerned that my hen laid an egg with blood on the shell?
A: When a hen has just begin laying, there can occasionally be a little blood on the egg shell, but it is usually no cause for concern. Eventually her... read more

Q: What can my chicken's comb tell me about his or her health?
A: A chicken's comb can be indicative of her circulation and condition. For instance pale pink, shrunken combs may indicate anemia, a mite infestation... read more

Q: Why are my hens molting so late, when it's cold, and how can I help them stay warm?
A: Chickens molt annually, and some chickens do molt later than others. Often this varies by breed as well as the conditions they have.

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Q: Today I noticed that the tip of one hen's beak has broken off--how can this happen and what should I do?
A: This can occasionally happen, although it is rare. A chicken's beak will continue to grow throughout her lifetime, so as long as it is just the tip,... 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...
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Q: How many roosters can I have?
A: We normally recommend one rooster for every ten hens or so. In a large flock, there is often more than one rooster, with no problems. In smaller... read more

Q: Do I need to bathe my chicken?
A: Generally speaking, no. Chickens don't need baths. However, if they do get something stuck in their feathers that they are not preening out, you can... read more

Q: How can I make my coop well-ventilated, but not drafty?
A: This issue 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: Why do my baby chicks poo so much?
A: Your baby chicks poo so much because they have to eat a lot to grow as fast as they do!

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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: How much light do I need to add in my coop during the winter?
A: You don't have to use light at all. But if you do want to add a light to stimulate egg production, the good news that you don't need to use a... read more

Q: Why are my chickens sleeping in their nest boxes rather than their roosts?
A: It's difficult for us to say exactly what might be inspiring them to do that without being able to inspect your coop, but we can give you some... read more

Q: Will my lawn be safe for my pet chickens at the same time it's safe for dogs or cats, after the exterminator has sprayed it?
A: Well, having your lawn sprayed with pesticides while you are keeping chickens isn't a good idea---it isn't something most of us would ever want to... read more

Q: How long can eggs be left outside once they've been laid before being refrigerated?
A: You will want to gather eggs every day, and refrigerate them as soon as they've been gathered. This keeps them freshest. However, in the "good old... read more

Q: Can I keep ducks, turkeys or other types of fowl with my chickens?
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: In your website description, it says the breed I want comes in a mix of bearded and unbearded chicks, but I only want bearded. Can I order them that way?
A: You're right that some breeds like Polish and silkies can come bearded or nonbearded, but there is no way to choose which because they are not sorted... read more

Q: Will our dog get sick from eating chicken poo?
A: Yes, dogs can be pretty gross sometimes, can't they? They are not the most discriminating of eaters. For instance, my friend's dog likes to raid the... read more

Q: If I have both bantam and large size hens, what size rooster should I get?
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. No... read more

Q: Why does my hen hop off of the nest, then toss hay, grass, and leaves over her shoulder and back?
A: We LOVE it when they do that... it's so darn cute! This is a nesting behavior. Hens that are broody will often do this when settling into the nest,... read more

Q: Which chicken breed has the quietest, tamest roosters?
A: Unfortunately, there is no pat answer on this one. First, ALL roosters crow. We happen to love the sound (to us it's far preferable to yapping dogs... read more

Q: What do I need to know about opossums if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Didelphis virginiana

*Medium sized, omnivorous marsupial with an...
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Q: What do I need to know about foxes if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Vulpes spp.

*Many different species of reddish or greyish, dog-like mammals with...
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Q: What do I need to know about weasel family predators if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Weasel, ermine, ferret, mink, badger, fisher, ermine, wolverine, skunk, etc.
Mustelidae and Mephitidae spp...
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Q: What do I need to know about snakes if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Serpentes spp (nearly 3000 species)

*Legless reptiles of many colors
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Q: What do I need to know about raccoons if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Procyon lotor

*Small, omnivorous mammal with grey fur and black "bandit" mask...
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Q: Will my dog attack chickens?
A: Domestic dogs--including those belonging to you as well as those belonging to other people--are the most common predators of chickens in both... read more

Q: What do I need to know about wolves and coyotes if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Wolf, Coyote
Canis lupus, Canis latrans

Wolves and coyotes are both members of the dog...
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Q: Will I get rats if I keep chickens?
A: Chicken feed and droppings will attract rats, yes! That's why it's so important that you do two things: store your feed in metal bins, and carefully... read more

Q: What do I need to know about human nature if I keep chickens?
A: Unfortunately, scoundrels are found everywhere. Most humans are not predators of chickens, of course, but the fact is that some people are dishonest... read more

Q: What do I need to know about crows if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Crows and other corvids
Corvus spp

*Corvids are large perching birds, usually with...
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Q: What do I need to know about large felines if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Lynx (including bobcats), Cougar
Lynx spp and Puma Concolor

*Lynx up to 66...
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Q: What do I need to know about house cats if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
House cat
Felis catus

House cats are small, carnivorous mammals with retractable claws...
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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)

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Q: What do I need to know about snapping turtles if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Snapping turtles
Chelydra serpentina or Macrochelys temminckii

Snapping turtles...
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Q: Do you ship eggs or chicks internationally?
A: No. If you want to purchase live birds or read more

Q: Why is my chick's beak getting crooked, and what should I do?
A: Usually, chickens with crossed beaks or scissor beaks lead long, normal lives.

In most cases, this defect is caused by the chick...
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Q: How do I dispose of a dead chick or chicken?
A: This is a difficult question to answer definitively, since what to do with a dead pet or animal can vary depending on your your state, city and even... read more

Q: I got Marek's vaccinations for my chicks from another hatchery, but they got sick and some died within two weeks. When I asked them if it was Marek's disease, they just denied it and asked about whether their brooder was set up right. Is this Marek's... am I right to be upset?
A: You're not wrong to be upset at the loss of your pets, of course, but if you're upset at your hatchery for suggesting that deaths weren't related to... read more

Q: How can I get my brooder to 95 degrees?
A: First remember that it only needs to be 95° directly under the heat lamp, and only in their first week of life. (You'll be reducing the... 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: Can you put me in touch with a supplier or breeder for a chicken breed you don't carry?
A: No, I'm sorry. We're not a breeder registry. We don't keep lists of independent breeders for any location. To find a list of breeders, you'll... read more

Q: Will I be notified if my shipment has to be delayed for some reason? I don't want to ask for the wrong week off work!
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: Are sold out breeds ever included in a hatchery choice 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: Are oversized eggs that are difficult for my hens to pass caused by overfeeding?
A: It is not likely that the problem is overfeeding. We recommend feeding free choice and not limiting their feed: underfeeding usually causes more... read more

Q: The eggs from the grocery store are so flat compared to eggs from my hens. Is it because my hens are pasture raised? What could cause that?
A: Eggs from your own hens normally have very "tall" yolks because they can be so very fresh!

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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: I got the Marek's vaccination for my chickens, but one chicken seems sick! Is the vaccination not working?
A: If your chicken received the Marek's vaccination, she will most likely be protected from the symptoms of Marek's disease, but a small percentage of... read more

Q: Why does my chicken have a bare spot on her chest? She's not molting!
A: If she's not molting, isn't getting picked on and isn't suffering from external parasites like mites or lice, it's possible that the bare spot on her... read more

Q: Sometimes my hens' waterer gets algae in it--is there a better waterer?
A: Not that we know of. Algae grows in conditions of water with excess phosphorus or fertilizers in it, and growth is encouraged when the water is also... read more

Q: Will ticks attack our chickens? We find ticks on our dogs.
A: Probably not. Chickens actually eat deer ticks, wood ticks, and dog ticks (as well as other types), and these are the most common ticks that bother... read more

Q: Are your flocks pasture raised?

Our breeding flocks are raised in the beautiful Amish countryside in Ohio, but they are indoor birds for reasons of biosecurity. Large hatcheries... read more

Q: I took care of an issue with feather loss in my flock, so why haven't my chickens' feathers haven't grown back?

A: Not necessarily. Sometimes hens will regrow feathers immediately, and sometimes they won't regrow missing feathers until the molt (usually in the ... read more

Q: One of our chickens is not laying in the nest box. Is this common, and what should I do?
A: Don't worry. "Floor eggs" are relatively common, and nothing to be too concerned about.

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Q: Why should I choose My Pet Chicken over another reputable hatchery?
A: There's nothing wrong with buying from other major hatcheries! Before My Pet Chicken was around, we bought from a number of reputable hatcheries, and... read more

Q: How do you get such beautiful photos of your chickens?
A: Yes, chickens can be difficult to photograph, can't they? Much like little kids, they're not really interested in cooperating with you to get you a... read more

Q: Do you sell chicken eggs that have been in a incubator for a while and will only take a couple days to hatch?
A: I'm afraid it's not possible to stop incubation, ship the eggs, and then restart incubation afterwards. The chicks would die. It would be akin to a... read more

Q: Do chickens like music in the coop?
A: Some evidence in Australia and New Zealand has indicated that music may help to keep chickens calm and happy, thus helping them to grow larger,... read more

Q: I don't know how to order anything online. Can't I just email my order to you?
A: I'm afraid we can't accept email orders for various reasons, the most important being that email is not a safe way for you to share your payment... read more

Q: Why am I having trouble keeping the temperature steady inside my styrofoam incubator?
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: What breed lays easy-to-peel eggs?
A: If you're losing a lot of egg white when you try to peel hard-boiled eggs, the problem is not related to the breed you have, so choose your favorite!... read more

Q: How do I figure out whether or not I'm allowed to keep chickens in my area?
A: We know you're dying to start keeping chickens--but you don't want to get a flock of beauties only to have to give them up! That said, determining if... 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: Is wry neck a genetic weakness that I should be worried about seeing in my chickens' offspring?
A: If you have a hen with wry neck, it is probably not a genetic problem... but read on, because the problem with answering that question definitively... read more

Q: Should I order extra chickens so enough survive into adulthood?
A: Normally you want to order the number of chickens you want to end up with---don't order extras with the expectation that some will die. But there are... 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: Should the chickens' feeders and waterers go inside the coop, or should they go outside in the run?
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: Why aren't my three month old chickens interested in their nests, yet?
A: Your chickens will probably not be interested in the nesting boxes until it is time to lay---and even then, it may take them a while before they... read more

Q: Is bumblefoot comtagious?
A: First, we're sorry that your flock is having problems with bumblefoot! The more technical name for this problem is ulcerative pododermatitis, but... read more

Q: Which chicken breed has the quietest, tamest hens??
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 I maintain a clean, enclosed run if I can't free range my birds?
A: Due to the number of predators in some rural areas, some pet chicken owners don't allow free ranging. Other times, an enclosed run in a small... read more

Q: Why does my chicken have trouble keeping his balance?
A: That's a tough one. A problem like this could be caused by many things.

It may end up being nothing of concern...
One of...
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Q: I want all my eggs to hatch, so is there any type of chicken breed that has a higher hatching rate for their eggs?
A: This is one of those questions where it's hard to tell what exactly you're asking, a question that tells us you're probably a beginner at incubation.... 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 do the fresh eggs from one of our hens always have a strange, unpleasant fishy smell?

If this is the only symptom you're seeing, she's probably not sick. (If she does show other signs of illness you will want to take her to a... read more

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


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: Can I order chickens from an out-of-state hatchery like yours?


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: How do I "calibrate" my incubator thermometer?

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

Q: Why do so few hatcheries 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: What's the best way to order a breed that always seems to be sold out?
A: We're sorry the breed you want is currently sold out, but yes---there is hope if you're diligent!

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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 egg color most of the time. Breeds with white earlobes usually lay white eggs... except... read more

Q: How do I start my own small hatchery business from my home?
A: That's a complex question. If you would like to turn your home or farm into a hatchery and begin selling baby chicks to other people, we'd first... read more

Q: Can a hen can turn into a rooster?
A: No, but we can give you some background information and share the crazy way that rumor may have gotten started!

It IS true that, if your... 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 chicken parent stock.

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Q: Our rooster is pecking the backs and heads of our 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: How can I keep my brooder warm during a power outage so my baby chicks don't die?
A: Making sure your baby chicks stay warm in a power outage is one of the worries of chicken keeping! You do't want anything to happen to your... 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). One of our employees who's at a mid-latitude in the US reports that any girls who stop... 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: How do I help a chick that isn't eating or drinking?

Well, first remember that if you hatched these babies at home, chicks don't actually need to eat or drink for the first two or three... 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, wehighly recommend getting your baby chicks vaccinated at hatch.... read more

Q: Coccidiosis Overview
A: Coccidiosis Also called

Very common

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