Chicken Help

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We found 74 results for category 'Your current flock'

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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: 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'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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.

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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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: What are frizzles and sizzles?

A:

Frizzles and sizzles are not breeds of chickens so much as they are words describing a very showy feather type that chickens can have.... read more

Q: What's the difference between Breeds, Designer Breeds, and Varieties of Chicken?

A:

Let's talk about Designer Breeds, Breeds, and Varieties, so you'll understand the differences in terminology.

Designer... read more

Q: Why does my chicken's tail always twist to one side?
A: It sounds as if your chicken has "wry tail." This is a condition that is exactly what it sounds like: your chicken's tail is held at a wry angle when... 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...
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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 run?
A: No, that would be bad for your flock.

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