Frequently Asked Questions

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

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Why do hens eat their own eggs?

How can I stop them? Diets low in protein can encourage egg eating simply because the hens are trying to get the nutrition they need. Make sure your are feeding your flock a good, quality feed, and that you aren't supplementing with too much scratch or corn, or other low protein treats, either. You just don't want to see something like this when you go to gather eggs:The trouble is, once egg eating has begun, it can be very difficult to break the habit. Here are a few tips to try: Collect eggs regularlyTo stop egg eating, collect your eggs regularly. The...

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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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Do I need to give my hens oyster shell or supplemental calcium?

If your hens have a good, "complete" layer feed, they may not ever need oyster shells or any supplemental calcium. However, it never hurts--and it can really help avoid potential pitfalls in a number of ways. Oyster shell is inexpensive and lasts a long time, so it's worth adding to your flock's diet. The reason they may need it is that some flocks that spend most of the day foraging, or are given too many treats, can develop a calcium deficiency, particularly if they are high production layers. If they're eating too many treats, they won't get all the calcium...

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My chickens are 7 months old and I still haven't seen an egg. Why?

First, you should make sure they are on a good chicken feed. Once they have begun laying, switch to layer pellet or crumble; until then, feed them starter or grower. Some people make the mistake of feeding "scratch" only, when scratch is just meant to be a treat. Scratch in particular is mostly corn, which has very little nutritional value to it, and is low in protein. Feeding them scratch only would be like feeding your kids potato chips and corn chips only: it would simply not be very healthy! Second, some breeds do not come into lay until later...

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How long do hens lay eggs ?

Chickens usually don't simply "stop" laying eggs when they get to a certain age, but they will lay fewer as they get older. That said, most laying breeds will lay more or less productively in backyard terms for five or seven years. (We know of one ancient Buff Orpington cross who still lays an egg occasionally at 17 years old!) There are a number of reasons your chickens might not be laying, so if you suspect there's something more to it than age, have a look at this list of other possible reasons your chickens aren't laying. Debunking the 2-year...

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What does the word "broody" mean?

When a hen is broody, that means she wants to hatch her eggs and raise chicks. A breed known for frequent broodiness has hens that often, individually go broody. These hens may not even need eggs to set on to be broody--they may brood in a nest with no eggs. Or in a corner on rocks. Further, if there ARE eggs in the nest, if there is not a rooster in your flock, your hens will not know that their eggs won't be fertile. Your hen will seem to be in a sort of bad temper while she broods, she...

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What are the signs that a hen will start laying?

A hen who is ready to lay exhibits the following signs: Her comb will get larger and redder right before she begins laying. She will "squat" submissively when you reach down to pet her. She may get a little louder right before she begins laying, since she is experiencing new instincts, and she may not be sure exactly what they are telling her to do, yet. She may go in and out of nest boxes looking for a safe place to lay. She may try to drive the other hens away from possible nests if she is feeling protective. After...

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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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"The Clubhouse" Coop

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