Chicken Help

Help Me! OR: Search by Category


We found 68 results for category 'Chicken Care'

Q: Is it okay to heat my coop in the winter? I don't want my flock to suffer!
A: We don't recommend you heat your coop unless your temps regularly drop below freezing... Seriously! Chickens adapt to the cold weather over time.... 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: I got a rooster I don't want. How do I find a new home for him?
A: Great question! Unfortunately, sexing is an art -- not an exact science -- so when you buy day old chicks, errors are bound to happen; it is the risk... read more

Q: There's a black spot or thin string attached to my brand new chick's rear. Is this a "pasty butt"?
A: No! 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." read more

Q: It's time to move my 5 week-old chicks to their outdoor coop, but it's cold outside! Will they be okay?
A: Sudden temperature changes are a real danger to your birds. You will need to make sure their transition outside doesn't shock them. Although chickens... 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: 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: 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: What should I do about a rooster that has suddenly started attacking me and 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: Do I need to give my shipped chicks vitamins and electrolytes when they arrive?
A:

We don't generally think it is a good idea to offer anything but plain, clean water unless your chicks are exceedingly stressed.

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.

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

Q: How can I help my chickens stay cool in the summer?
A: Chickens don't sweat like humans do to cool down. Much like dogs, they pant to help stay cool.

read more

Q: 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: 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: 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.

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.

Some...
read more

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 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: 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...
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: 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: 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.

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: 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: 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: How do I help a chick that isn't eating or drinking?
A:

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: 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: How do I keep my 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: 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: 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: How much space should my chickens have inside their coop?
A: A chicken coop is any structure in which your chickens shelter. In most areas of the country, a chicken coop is an enclosed space, but in warmer... read more

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: 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: Can't I just mix my own chicken feed at home?

A:

Yes, you CAN mix your feed at home. But that said, it's not very easy or inexpensive, as people who ask this question often seem to assume. For... read more

Q: Can I add fall leaves to the run?

A: Yes, but you probably won't want to add too much, too often.

There may be some entertainment value in adding a few fallen leaves sparingly...
read more

Q: Can I feed my chickens garden clippings?
A: It really depends on what you grow. The leaves of nightshade-family veggies such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and the like are not good... read more

Q: Can I spread grass clippings in the chicken run?
A: No, grass clippings would be bad for your flock.

Most people will find this advice counter-intuitive, because chickens love to eat grasses,...
read more

Q: What is a feeder for my pet chickens?
A: A feeder is the item you use to dispense feed for your flock. Of course, you could always just dispense feed on the ground or in a dish, but there... read more

Q: What is a dust bath, and do my chickens need one?
A: A dust bath is essentially a "bath" your birds will take in dry dirt. They'll flop around looking as if they're dying. But don't be alarmed! They're... read more

Q: How do I raise show quality chickens?
A: Well, it helps to start with good stock. Have a look at our special read more

Q: Will my chickens be bothered by mice?
A: Well, it's true that if you leave chicken feed out where mice can get to it, it's possible that some may show up to eat the feed, just as they would... read more

Q: What should I consider when choosing a waterer for my flock?
A: When selecting a chicken waterer for your flock, there are five important considerations:

  1. Physical dimensions. Make sure... read more

    Q: Will my lawn be safe for my pet chickens at the same time it's safe for dogs or cats, after I've had it treated?
    A: No, even if the lawn treatment may be safe for dogs and cats, it won't necessarily be safe for your pet chickens. Remember, dogs and cats are not... read more

    Q: How do I break my hen of broodiness?
    A: If your hen has gone broody, that means she wants to hatch eggs. She'll puff up and stay in the nest---even if the eggs in there aren't fertile (she... read more

    Q: How much space should my chickens have in their run?
    A: The "run" is a fenced or enclosed yard space you give your flock outdoors, where they can forage, sunbathe and generally engage in all the chicken-y... read more

    Q: How much protein should be in my chicken feed?
    A: The right protein content in your feed is super important for... read more

    Q: What is good chicken coop flooring?
    A: Good flooring. You might hear that term a lot when you're getting set up for baby chicks or chickens: get good chicken coop flooring! And "Of... read more

    Q: Could my baby chicks really drown in their waterer or water dish?
    A: It seems like a strange question... but the answer is YES. Baby chicks can actually drown in a waterer, particularly if it is larger and designed for... read more