Frequently Asked Questions

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

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Why did my chicken lay a shell-less egg?

A shell-less egg is a strange sight! You might think a shell-less egg would look like a cracked egg: a mess of white and yolk soaking into nesting material. But actually, an egg without a shell is often intact. Even an egg without a shell has that soft membrane. You might even think it's a regular egg until you touch it! Chickens need a lot of calcium to create good, hard shells, so most incidences of shell-less eggs in an adult hens are related to not having enough calcium in the diet. Young hens may lay a shell-less egg or...

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What is the blood spot in my hen's egg?

These spots aren't related to having a rooster--or not!--in your flock. Presuming they are fertile, eggs with blood or meat spots are actually less likely to hatch. They don't mean your hen is sick, either. Blood spots usually just mean there has been a small rupture of a tiny blood vessel during egg formation, and this can happen even in healthy hens. They can also be triggered by too little vitamin A in your hens' diet. Occasionally, you may see a meat spot, which happens when there is a rupture along the wall of the oviduct. Both types are harmless....

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Why does my hen sometimes lay eggs with ridges halfway down the shell?

You may be describing what is called a "body checked egg." Body checks are ridges or grooves that occur around an egg, usually at the pointed end. They occur more often in older layers, and are not really a cause for concern to the backyard farmer. Commercially, they are considered a aesthetic flaw, but don't have any effect on edibility. Occasionally, the egg will even appear wrinkled all over or even misshapen due to a large number of checks. Body checks are usually result of the hen's body attempting to repair any eggshell damage caused by stress when the egg...

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What are the rough patches and hard pimples on my egg shells?

This is usually an occasional thing, although younger or older hens are more prone to it. If your chicken is young, sometimes rough shells can occur for a while until her egg-laying cycle has settled. Older chickens may lay eggs with rough or pimpled shells, too. This issue can appear at any age, however. For instance, in the winter, sometimes a chicken may be getting excess calcium as laying slows down and they are less able to graze; the excess is distributed over the shell, sometimes in "pimples" or rough patches. Other possible causes: sometimes, rough shells will be caused...

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My flock is pecking one another! What should I do?

Pecking, also called picking, is almost always the result of high stress levels. When that happens, the birds will sometimes pluck each others' feathers out, and can really hurt one another. Those lowest in the pecking order may have bare spots on their backs or their heads. Address the root cause of pecking in your flock Since we know happy chickens don't pick one another to the point of terrible feather loss, to deal with this problem you'll have to figure out why they're not happy. You may not be a pet psychic, but consult this list of common factors...

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My hen has sticky, tar-looking poop--is there anything wrong?

Probably not. Chickens actually produce two types of poo: fecal poo and cecal poo. Cecal poo is thicker, stinkier and stickier. It usually looks sort of like melted chocolate, and it occurs once every eight or so poos. Perhaps this is what you are seeing. If so, it is nothing to worry about. Some foods may cause sticky poo, too. Lots of barley in the diet can cause sticky, tar-like poo. Barley lacks an enzyme chickens need to digest (1,3�1,4)-�-glucan efficiently, and the poo is described as "viscous." Sometimes various fruits will cause looser, darker poo from the sugar and...

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Do my chickens need to be wormed, and if so, what schedule should I use?

If your chickens have worms, you will want to treat them. Some signs you can look for at home are pale combs, a drop in laying, and watery poo. However, it does no good to worm your flock--even on a seasonal schedule--unless you know precisely what type of infestation they are suffering from. Keep in mind that particular wormers are only useful for particular parasites, so it is best to get a diagnosis as to which you are addressing. That way you will know which wormer will help their condition. Otherwise, you simply may be stressing their systems out by...

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What if one of my chicks dies on the way to me?

Losses are rare (we see them happen about 1% of the time), but they do occur. For that reason, we recommend that if you have children, make sure they are not around when you open the package. If you do experience any losses, be sure to let us know within 48 hours of having received your order so your loss will be covered by our live arrival guarantee. If someone else is picking up or caring for your chicks for some reason, be sure to have them contact us within the 48-hour deadline to report any losses. When reporting losses,...

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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.