Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer the most commonly-asked questions about ordering, chicken care, and more.

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There are hawks or owls in our area. Will our chickens be safe?

Hawks and owls can most certainly be a danger to chickens (heck, even CROWS can be a danger to juveniles or bantams). However, only a few types usually bother chickens. The raptors most often associated with flock losses are red-tailed hawks, goshawks, and great horned owls. Having a rooster can help alert the girls to a predator in time for them to run for cover. Some people choose to keep a run covered with netting so flying predators are not a problem. Generally speaking, hawks are mostly a problem in the spring and in the fall when they are migrating...

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How do you tell if a baby chick is female or male?

If you have a "sex link" chick, it's easy! Males and females hatch out different colors. Red Stars are a very common sex link, and the females are a reddish-gold while the males are a buttery color. With "Black Stars", both males and females hatch out black, but males have a distinctive white spot on their head. Cream Legbars are also autosexing: females are dark, and males are paler with a head spot. If you DON'T have an autosexing breed, though, you probably won't be able to tell until the birds are three months old or so. Chicks don't have...

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At what age does a rooster grow spurs?

This varies widely from breed to breed, and in fact the hens of many breeds even grow small spurs! Some can appear as soon as three months, while others take seven or eight months to develop.

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Do you include males for warmth in your baby chick packages?

You may have heard that hatcheries sometimes include extra "males for warmth" in their baby chick packages, but you can be sure we'll never purposely include extra males in your order. When necessary, we include one or more heating packs to keep your chicks warm, and to prevent jostling we add extra nesting material. We pack them very carefully. Our goal in life --- yes, our goal in life! --- is to make it easy for you to keep chickens, and having a bunch of extra roosters that you don't know what to do with wouldn't be easy, now would...

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How can I tell if my juvenile bird is a rooster?

Comb size and redness can be one indicator, but is not usually reliable. In fact, it's one of the worst indicators you can use, as comb size varies by breed and even individual. For instance, one of my hens has a larger comb than any of her sisters of the same breed, and a larger comb than any of my roosters, too. When sexing most juveniles, the best, most fail-safe method is to look at the saddle feathers in front of the tail when the bird is about 3 months old. By that age, cockerels will have long and pointy...

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How do I find a new home for a rooster I don't want?

Unfortunately, as you've learned, sexing is more of an art than an exact science, so when you buy day-old chicks, there's always a small risk of receiving a mis-sexed bird. We're sorry if this has happened to you, whether you purchased your chicks from us or from another hatchery or feed store. It can be stressful to try to find a home for your unwanted rooster, and sometimes the most stressful part is having to part with him at all. Juvenile roosters are usually very friendly, and almost invariably are the favorite "hen" of the flock, so the disappointment can...

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Can different chicken breeds cross-breed?

Yes, they can! There are no problems associated with hatching mixed breed chickens. If you have a rooster in your flock, he will try to breed ALL your hens, nevermind if he is a different breed or even if the hens are different sizes, bantam and large fowl. It can be fun to hatch "mixed" eggs, because you never know what you'll get! Actually, many of the breeds we offer at My Pet Chicken are designer cross-breeds, and the results are spectacular: wonderful plumage colors, fantastic new egg colors, prolific egg-laying, friendly personalities and ultra-hardiness. For instance, we loved our...

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Why did my rooster suddenly become aggressive?

Why did my rooster suddenly become aggressive?|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 may not take kindly to anything that scares the girls or causes them to squawk. Also, they are geared not only to be looking for danger from ground predators like dogs, but also to look for danger from above (like hawks!). That means that sometimes even carrying a feed bag on your shoulder or taking off a sunhat quickly can cause their protective instincts to kick in! For the...

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"The Clubhouse" Coop

Easy to assemble and built to last, the Clubhouse Coop is the perfect starter coop for a small flock.