Frequently Asked Questions
Here we answer the most commonly-asked questions about ordering, chicken care, and more.
Fertile eggs are those that contain both ova and sperm, and will develop into a baby chick if incubated. If you have nothing but hens in your flock, you will not have fertilized eggs---you would need a male rooster for that. Fertilized eggs are fine to eat; there is just a slight difference between a fertile and infertile egg. There is no difference in taste, and you can only tell the difference between infertile and fertile (unincubated) contents if you're very sharp-eyed. Illustration by Ray Yang for My Pet ChickenRead More
We do sell chicks most of the year round, but there are a variety of reasons baby chicks aren't available for purchase at all times. Chickens naturally lay fewer eggs in the colder, darker months of winter. Some breeds stop entirely. Fertility is usually lower in the winter, too, so fewer chicks will hatch. In addition, in the fall and winter, our hens will be molting and regrowing new feathers for the coming year, so even those breeds that are good winter layers may lay reduced numbers of eggs, or may briefly stop laying until molting is over. That means...Read More
|A chicken's shank is the bottom part of her leg, above the foot, but below the hock. The spur is the chicken's chief weapon, and grows out of the shank. It's something every chicken has... but generally only the spurs of males grow very large. Older hens may grow larger spurs as their hormones change, and there are some breeds where it's fairly common for younger hens to have spurs, too. But for the most part, hens will simply have small spur numbs.Read More
The word "Salmonella" evokes fear in the hearts of chicken-keepers. A healthy respect for this bacterium is certainly justified, but should not be blown out of proportion. The main concern is that Salmonella can be transferred to humans and can make us very sick, or in some cases even cause death. Thankfully, practicing good biosecurity and following the CDC's guidelines can keep humans safe. Unfortunately, though, the prognosis isn't so good for chickens that become infected with Salmonella. Read on to find out more. Salmonella (general) Various types of Salmonella infection include Pullorum, Typhoid, Paratyphoid, Arizonosis, Paracolon, various other names...Read More
Perosis is a nutritional deficiency that can cause swollen, twisted, broken, or bowed legs, or loss of color in feathers, the comb, or the roof of the mouth. Thankfully, nutritional deficiencies can be avoided by making sure your flock has free-choice access to complete, nutritionally-balanced feed. Don't just feed them scratch or kitchen scraps; that can cause problems for them later on! Read on to find out more: Perosis Also called Slipped tendon, chondrodystrophy Prevalence Uncommon in layers, common in heavy, fast growing chicken breeds used for meat production. Signs General signs Swollen hocks, one or both legs twisted to...Read More
If one of your bird's neck muscles seems to have "frozen" in a position that leaves them staring at the sky, it's possible they have polyneuritis, or "star gazing" disease. This is caused by a thiamine deficiency that can usually be avoided by giving your flock free-choice access to complete, nutritionally-balanced feed. Don't just feed your flock scratch or kitchen scraps, as that can leave gaps in their nutrition. Read on to find out more. Polyneuritis Also called Star gazing, Thiamine deficiency Prevalence Uncommon, particularly so in backyard flocks with access to pasture. Signs General signs - Lack of appetite,...Read More
There are no hormones in any brand of commercial chicken feed in the United States, according to the US Cooperative Extension Service. We think that "hormones" rumor makes the rounds every so often because there are some poultry feeds that specifically label their feed as "hormone free" while others don't bother. The Extension Service explains that it's basically illegal to use hormones in poultry feed in the US. However, because some feeds specifically advertise themselves as "hormone free," that begs the question for the other brands that don't mention it: "Do you use hormones in your feed?" They do NOT....Read More
If cared for properly, ducks can live to 7-10 years, and some exceptional birds may live longer than that. Geese normally live 10-15 years, but there are stories of some that have lived much, much longer--40 years or more! Around 3-5 years, duck fertility and egg production lessen, and many keepers choose not to keep older birds because of this. But there are many reasons to keep ducks into their older age. We discuss some of them here. Other reasons to keep older birds can be found in this creative My Pet Chicken blog article (it refers to chickens but...Read More
"The Clubhouse" Coop
Easy to assemble and built to last, the Clubhouse Coop is the perfect starter coop for a small flock.