Chicken Help

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We found 82 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: My favorite pet rooster has suddenly started attacking me and becoming aggressive--why is he doing this and what should I do?
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.

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Q: Should I let my chickens free range? I'm worried about predators.
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: My chickens are sleeping in the nest boxes at night--how do I get them to sleep on the roosts instead?
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.

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

Prevalence-...
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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: 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: How long do I have to keep my chicken quarantined after treating for an illness or infection?

A: There is not a single answer to that question--it will depend on what your bird has been treated for. For instance, once you've treated for mites and... read more

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: 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 a mouse can get to it, it's possible that some may show up to eat the feed, just as they... read more