Frequently Asked Questions

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

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Chicken age: how can I tell?

If you bought or acquired adult chickens somewhere else and I want to know how old they are, we have some bad news about chicken age. It is very difficult to discern the age of an adult chicken. The best you can do is make an educated guess. There are a few clues you might look for with regard to chicken age. 1. The number of eggs they lay in relation to other birds of the same breed. For example, if you have a Rhode Island Red that only lays one egg a week, there's a pretty good chance she's...

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Can hens REALLY crow?

Yes! It's not even that rare, either! In all-female flocks, or flocks in which the ratio of females to males is greater than 10:1, in many cases one female will take on male characteristics and become the "protector" of the rest of the flock. In addition to coming out with a half-crow, she'll usually cease laying, and she may even develop spurs to rival a male's. Strange, but true!

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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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How do brown eggs become brown (instead of white)?

The brown color in an egg is laid on in the chicken's reproductive tract by the shell gland pouch. Some breeds lay a tinted egg with a very light brown color, while others lay extremely dark chocolate brown eggs. From right to left: Marans egg, Welsummer egg, Rhode Island Red egg. Within a breed, too, hens can lay eggs darker or lighter than the average, depending on whether they produce more or less of the brown color that goes on the shell--and how long the egg stays in the "paint station" of the reproductive tract. Interestingly, individual hens--while they lay...

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Is there any nutritional difference between white, brown, green and blue eggs?

We like them all, Sam-I-Am! No, there is no difference in terms of edibility, health, or nutrition in different-colored egg shells. That said, the colorful eggs from your backyard hens WILL have much more nutrition, because eggs produced by hens raised on pasture are much healthier, indeed (and they taste much better, too). Keep in mind that commercially produced "free range" eggs may have been laid by hens who have never seen a blade of grass, the sun or the sky. "Pasture-raised" is something different, and much healthier. Eggs laid by hens raised on pasture have less fat and cholesterol,...

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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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When do chickens start laying eggs?

On average, chickens start laying eggs at 6 months old, depending on the breed. Breeds like Australorps, Leghorns, Golden Comets and Sex Links will start laying as soon as 16-18 weeks. Larger, heavier breeds like Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks and Orpingtons will lay anywhere from 6 to 8 months. However, if your birds come into maturity in the fall or winter will sometimes not begin laying until spring: six months is just the average! (We guarantee you that every day past five months that they haven't begun to lay will seem like an eternity!) If your bird is older than eight...

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Can you tell the sex of chicks when they're still in the egg?

There is no reliable way for the average home hatcher to tell the difference between an egg that will hatch a female chick and an egg that will hatch a male chick. In-ovo DNA testing and spectroscopy are being developed for certain applications, but most of us don't have this technology readily available at home! Instead, there are lots of old wives' tales out there, most of which have to do with the shape of the egg or which way a string swings when you hold it above an egg. In most cases, you will find that in one area...

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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.