Chicken Help

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Q: We have a medium sized yard enclosed by a four foot fence--will my chickens be able to fly over the fence?
A: Most heavy, docile backyard breeds don't fly very well and aren't particularly inclined to leave a secure, fenced area. A regular picket fence will... 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: Why don't you sell chicks year round?
A: We do sell chicks most of the year round, but there are a variety of reasons baby chicks aren't available for purchase at all times. Chickens... read more

Q: How much does shipping cost?
A: You can check the exact shipping cost to your location by placing the virtual items in your online basket and clicking the "calculate" link. You can... 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: My chicks are arriving in the heat of summer, and my brooder is in a hot room. Can I use a fan to cool the brooder down?
A: Baby chicks need it very warm to be comfortable--most people would call it hot. For the first week of their lives, they need temperatures of about 95... read more

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

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

Q: 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, we do not normally add extra chicks, especially with small orders, although it may happen occasionally (usually only if someone miscounts). For... read more

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

Q: Do I need to be worried about bird flu if I keep chickens?
A: Probably not 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 with... 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 catching salmonella if you provide a clean environment for them. Hens in factory... 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 will need to purchase each breed you want and construct your order that way.... read more

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

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

Q: When I am ordering baby chicks, 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: I've been noticing that in some of our eggs, the yolk will have settled to one side. What could be causing this?
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: I want to order chicks to be delivered to me, but use a broody hen to raise them. Is there anything special I should know, or will the hen take care of everything?
A: 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: Should I worry that my chicken's comb looks a little blue -- is that frostbite?
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: It is late winter and bitterly cold outside, so why have some of my hens have just now started molting? What should I do about it?
A: Chickens molt annually, and some chickens do molt later than others. Often this varies by breed as well as the conditions they have.

I 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 loneliness--they are... read more

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

Q: 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! Remember, they are going from egg-sized (2 ounces or so) to... read more

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

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

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

Q: I have an exterminator coming to spray the lawn for ants, and they say that it will be safe for dogs and cats after a day or so, once the poison has dried. Can you tell me if it will be safe for my chickens?
A: Well, this isn't something most of us would ever want to risk with our flocks and our families. However, if you want to weigh your options, you would... 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: I want to house ducks or turkeys with my chickens--is that possible or wise? What steps should I take?
A: There are challenges associated with mixing fowl varieties, such as making sure each one eats the right food for their needs. Often different fowl... read more

Q: 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: I've discovered that our dog likes to eat chicken poo--can he get sick from that?
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: We have both bantam and large size hens. If we want a rooster, should we get a bantam rooster or a large rooster?
A: The answer to that question will depend on exactly how large the hens and roosters in question may be as well as what your personal preference is. No... read more

Q: I observed one of my hens as she hopped off of the nest, then wandered around picking up hay, grass and leaves and tossed them over her shoulder and back. Why?
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 breed of chicken has the quietest, tamest roosters? I need a friendly rooster that doesn't crow much.
A: I'm afraid there is no pat answer on this one. Firstly, ALL roosters crow. We happen to love the sound (to us it's far preferable to yapping dogs or... read more

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

Description:
*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:
Fox
Vulpes spp.

Description:
*Many different species of reddish or greyish, dog-like mammals with...
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Q: What do I need to know about 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:
Snakes
Serpentes spp (nearly 3000 species)

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

Description:
*Small, omnivorous mammal with grey fur and black "bandit" mask...
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Q: What do I need to know about dogs if I keep 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

Description:
Wolves and coyotes are both members of the dog...
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Q: What do I need to know about rats if I keep chickens?
A: Name:
Rat
Rattus spp

Description:
*Small rodents with long, sparsely furred tails

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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

Description:
*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

Description:
*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

Description:
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)

Description:
...
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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

Description:
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: My chick is about two weeks old, and her beak is seems to be getting crooked. 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: I'm having trouble getting my brooder to be exactly 95 degrees. Do you have any advice?
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: I'm looking for a breed you don't carry. Can you put me in touch with a breeder in my area?
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 will... read more

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

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

Q: During the past two weeks I have been collecting some eggs with large amounts of blood on them and am wondering if there are steps to take in reducing egg size. I'm worried about egg binding. Could I be overfeeding my flock?
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! It's not because they are pasture raised, though. The... read more

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

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

Q: Are your flocks pasture raised?
A:

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: My hens had some feather loss. I have taken care of the cause, but their feathers haven't grown back. Is there something I'm missing?

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: My birds are so active; they just won't hold still to be photographed! How do you get such beautiful photos of your chickens--will you share any trade secrets?
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: I have one of the inexpensive styrofoam incubators with no turner or fan, and I'm having trouble keeping the temperature steady inside the incubator. What could be causing the temperature to go up and down so much... is it that I have to open and close the incubator to turn the eggs?
A: Of course we can't know for sure what may be causing the problem in your case, but we can try to mention a few things that might typically cause... read more

Q: I'm loving the delicious eggs my hens are giving me... but I'm having trouble peeling the hard boiled eggs, because the shell sticks and I end up losing half my egg white. What breed should I order this year so that the eggs will be easier to peel?
A: Any breed you order will be fine. The problem is not related to the breed you have, so choose your favorite!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: My orpingtons are about three months old now, but they don't seem interested in their nest boxes at all. Is that normal, or will they start using their nests once they begin laying eggs?
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: One of my chickens was recently diagnosed and treated for bumblefoot. Now two more chickens have swollen feet! What should I do?
A: We're sorry to hear your flock is having problems with bumblefoot! The more technical name for this problem is ulcerative pododermatitis, but most... read more

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

Q: Due to the number of predators in my area I cannot/will not allow free ranging. The problem is that a large amount of droppings accumulate on the hard clay dirt of the run. I try to rake this out, but the moist droppings do not rake up too well. Any suggestions on how to maintain a clean run in these conditions?
A: What bedding you will want to use for an enclosed pen will probably depend on your coop's exact situation. Many people like to use pine bedding, but... read more

Q: I have a twelve week old rooster that has trouble keeping his balance, and sometimes staggers when he is walking. He otherwise seems healthy with nice, shiny feathers and bright, alert eyes. Any idea what his problem is?
A: That's a tough one. A problem like this could be caused by many things.

The first thing that comes to mind is that it could be a fungal...
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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: The eggs from one of our hens always have a strange, unpleasant fishy smell to them. It's not that the eggs are old. Even when we are able to gather and refrigerate her eggs directly after she lays, her eggs always have that fishy smell. Is she sick?
A:

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?

A:

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

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

A:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: In almost every case, starting a laying flock with baby chicks will be easier and less expensive than starting one by read more

Q: Are the color of a hen's eggs determined by the color of her earlobes?
A: Not exactly, although ear lobe color seems to be related to (not determined by) egg color most of the time. Breeds with white earlobes lay white... read more

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

Q: I’ve heard that a hen can turn into a rooster. Is this true?
A: No, that's not true. It IS true that hens can sometimes crow, and you may have a crowing hen more often if you don't have a rooster. You can read... read more

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

Q: Is your breeder stock vaccinated for Marek's Disease?
A: Yes, we do vaccinate our parent stock. They are vaccinated to prevent several different diseases, including Marek's Disease, Newcastle Disease,... read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, do remember that if you hatched these babies at home, chicks don't actually need to eat or drink for the first two or three days...... read more

Q: Is it true that modern, purebred chickens can't hatch their own eggs?

A: No, that's not true.

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

Q: Is it ever okay to help a chick out of the shell?

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

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

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

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

Q: I plan on vaccinating my chickens – is there anything else I can do to prevent my flock from getting Marek’s disease?
A: In order to prevent the symptoms of Marek’s disease from affecting your flock, we highly recommend getting your baby chicks vaccinated at hatch.... read more

Q: Coccidiosis Overview
A: Coccidiosis Also called
Cocci

Prevalence-
Very common

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

Prevalence-
Common

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

Prevalence-
Common

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevalence-...
read more

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

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

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

Prevalence-
Infrequent

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

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

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

Prevalence-
Common

Signs
...
read more

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

Q: Salmonella (general) - Overview
A: Salmonella (general) Also called
Various types of Salmonella infection include Pullorum, Typhoid, Paratyphoid, Arizonosis,...
read more

Q: Are there any special secrets to help my chickens stay warm in the winter?
A:

Secrets? No. Tricks? A few, maybe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A:

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

Q: How much water do chickens drink per day?

A:

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

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

A: