Frequently Asked Questions

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

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At what age does a rooster begin crowing?

The age a rooster will first crow varies, but generally speaking, he will begin crowing at about four or five months of age, at about the time he begins to look like a mature rooster. It can certainly vary considerably, though. We've seen roosters hold off crowing until they're eight or nine months old, and we've seen them start as early as two months. (Talk about cute!) That said, if you have a crowing bird that is younger than three months old, don't be in a hurry to find a home for "him," however. Hens can crow, too, so you...

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Can I hold my rooster upside down by the feet to calm him down?

No. That's a terrible idea. Birds' respiratory systems are completely different ours, so holding your rooster upside down can cause him real problems. For example, a bird's lungs are right next to the spine and upper ribcage, so it is hard for a bird that is upside down to breathe, since the weight of all his organs will be pressing on his lungs and some of his air sacs. Normally, he will breathe via changes in pressure in the air sacs. So... when the pressure changes "unnaturally," it can make it difficult for him to compensate. Chicken's lungs can't expand...

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How many roosters do I need in order that my hens will lay eggs?

None. Hens will lay eggs whether there are roosters around or not, just as female humans will ovulate regardless of the sexes of their companions. The eggs will not be fertile without a rooster, however.

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How do I get started breeding my chickens?

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 chickens. In fact, hens of most breeds ovulate more or less year round: they ovulate yolks, enclose them in albumen and shells, and lay the eggs. If your hens are laying eggs, they are ready to be mated. Presuming your rooster is old enough to be sexually mature (5 - 6 months or so), he is likely mating your hens when you are not around. Just because you don't see him mating, that...

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How large are chickens?

Chickens can vary in size greatly by breed and variety! Large fowl cochin beside bantam cochin Large fowl chickens can range from 4 pounds for small hens to nearly 15 pounds for the largest roosters! Bantams vary in size, too. They can weigh from a few ounces for the tiniest seramas to more than two pounds for larger bantams. Generally speaking, bantam versions of large fowl breeds tend to be 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the larger birds.

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How many roosters can I have?

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 flocks, it's a greater risk. However, many breeders keep significantly greater numbers of roosters with their girls--one rooster for every two, or one for every five. We don't recommend it for the typical backyard chicken situation because there is always the risk that your girls will get overbred. However, if you do end up with more roosters than you bargained for, the good news is that it is still quite possible for your...

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Which chicken breed has the quietest, tamest roosters?

Unfortunately, there is no pat answer on this one. First, ALL roosters crow. We happen to love the sound (to us it's far preferable to yapping dogs or leaf blowers!). However, it is not possible to know which roosters will crow often and which will be quieter than others when they are baby chicks, just as it's not possible to know which dogs will be barkers when they are pups. With roosters, a lot will depend on their environment too, and how safe they feel "their" hens are. If your chickens are in an area where they are constantly molested...

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If I have both bantam and large size hens, what size rooster should I get?

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 matter the size of your rooster, he will try to mate all your hens, whether they are large fowl or bantams, so it's certainly a valid concern! Look at the difference in size between a large fowl cochin and a bantam cochin: If you have a very large rooster like a Jersey Giant paired with very small bantams like Sebrights, you might see some injuries during mating since he will be so...

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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.