Egg Production

 

01. How many eggs will hens lay?  

 

On the average, 3 hens will give you 2 eggs a day. To get a dozen eggs a day, you would need 18 hens.

 

02. Should I wash the eggs my hens lay?   

 

You can use an egg wash when your chickens first lay their eggs. You will not want to wash the outer part with normal soap and water as the egg has a membrane on the shell you don't want to remove until you are going to eat your egg.

 

03. How can you tell when eggs have gone bad?

 

Eggs are one of the few animal foods that you can keep in your fridge and still be optimum quality. Eggs are unlikely to go bad in a refrigerator setting, but would dry up over time. Eggs don't automatically go bad or spoil after date. If the eggs do not already have salmonella, it will not grow in an egg as it sits in your fridge. If it does contain salmonella, the number of bacteria will be quite small because it does not grow in cold environments, like a refrigerator, and with proper handling, cooking, and other food safety measures, the bacteria will be killed.

 

04. What is the difference between a bantam egg and a regular egg?   

 

A bantam egg is about half the size of a standard egg. Nutritionally there is no difference.

 

05. How long do chickens lay eggs?   

 

Sometimes chickens can lay eggs into their teens,  but some might stop earlier then this.

 

06. When will my hens start to lay eggs?   

 

 Hens on an average  start to lay around 4-6 months of age, more or less. However, factors such as time of year, temperature, etc. may cause them wait until the next Spring to start laying eggs.

 

07. How do you tell what color eggs a hen will lay?   

 

You can tell by the color of the earlobes in general. A white lobed hen will lay white eggs, while a red lobed hen will lay brown eggs. The exception to this would be the Easter Egger, Ameraucana, and Araucana breeds. They will lay eggs in colors ranging from khaki green to sky blue, to pink tinted, to occasionally lavender tinted. they will usually have red ear lobes.

 

08. Where does the egg come from, and how does the shell harden or form around the egg?   

 

After the yolk is formed in the hen's single ovary, the yolk drops into the body cavity. From there it goes into the infundibulum, or funnel. It then starts it on its way down the oviduct. The oviduct is more than 2 feet long and is lined with glands that secrete the materials for the albumen (egg white), shell membranes, and shell. The egg color pigment is added in the last stages of this process. It takes twenty-four hours or more from the time the yolk is released until the completed egg is laid.

 

09. One of our chickens laid an egg without a shell. Is this a cause for concern?   

 

A soft or even no-shelled egg is something that happens occasionally in even healthy hens. It's generally no cause for concern, unless there is other sign of illness or it's a regular occurrence. There's no need to separate your hen. What you may want to consider is adding some calcium to the diet if you haven't already. This can be given in the form of ground oyster shells, or other calcium supplements.

 

10. How long does it take to hatch an egg?   

 

About 21 days.

 

11. Which is better, natural or artificial incubation?  

 

The advantages of natural incubation (i.e. a broody hen) are that the hen does all the work for you and she will probably hatch out a high percentage of the eggs. The disadvantages are that you can only fit a certain amount of eggs under a broody hen, you can never tell when a hen will go broody, and you can't be sure her chicks will be tame.
The advantages of artificial incubation (i.e. an incubator) are that you can incubate a large number of eggs, you can incubate whenever you want, and since you will be raising the chicks yourself, you can make sure to tame
them. The disadvantages of artificial incubation are that it takes effort and worry on your part, the percentage of eggs that hatch will probably be lower than natural incubation, and you will inevitably have problems with temperature and humidity that could damage the chicks.

 

12. Will my hens lay eggs if I don't have a rooster?   

 

Yes. A hen only needs a rooster in order to lay fertile eggs that could hatch

 

13. Why aren't my chickens laying?   

 

  • they might be too young

  • they might be too old

  • if they look sick, an illness may have caused them to stop laying

 

  • Cold weather slows down egg production

  • Chickens frequently stop laying while they are molting and they might just need a break!

 

14. My hen chickens are laying thin-shelled eggs. What do I do?   

 

Try giving them oyster shells - the calcium helps keep the shells thick and strong

 

15. My young hen lays soft and misshapen eggs. Is this a problem?   

 

 When they start laying eggs their young systems will produce eggs that are soft-shell, irregular shaped, real large, real small, etc. It takes a while for their reproductive system to get the complete hang of it.

 

16. Where can I buy egg cartons?   

 

 http://www.eggcartons.com

 

17. What is the difference between brown eggs and white eggs?

 

The main difference is in the breed of chicken. Nutritionally, they can be the same. That depends on feeding and management. White eggs are usually the most popular commercially because the chickens (usually white leghorns) are smaller and more feed efficient.

 

18. How often does a chicken lay an egg?

 

Some references list the egg laying interval as 27 hours. However in general, a chicken lays an egg every 24 hours.

 

19. If I have an old egg in the refrigerator, do I have to worry about it containing a developing chick?

 

No.A chick will only develop from a fertilized egg. Secondly, if the egg were refrigerated, that would also prevent the development of a chick in a fertilized egg. Eggs must be incubated at about 93 degrees for 21 days to produce a chick.

 

20. Do you need a rooster to get eggs from a chicken?

 

No. A rooster is only needed if you want fertilized eggs. As usual very few male animals are needed except for meat purposes.

 

21. Why would a hen lay an unfertilized egg?

 

It's just the way mother nature operates! It's probably because as the eggs develop, they are too large to remain inside the hen.

 

22. How does a hen fertilize an egg?

 

When a rooster mates with a hen, the semen is stored in the oviduct for later use. When she gets ready to lay the egg, A sperm fertilizes the egg before the shell surrounds it. The sperm is viable for about a month in the oviduct.

 

23. How old does a hen have to be to start laying eggs?

 

Generally speaking, about 20 to 26 weeks. However, there are other factors that may affect it- breed of chicken, weather, time of year, etc. I have had a spring chicken start as young as 16 weeks.

 

24. How many eggs does a hen lay before she sits on them?

 

This is more complicated than it seems! There are usually only about one nest box for every 4-8 hens, they share nests. Hence, the eggs a hen sets on may not all be hers! If she is able to sit on a clutch of 8-10 eggs for any length of time, she may decide to "go broody" and try to hatch them. The process takes about 21 days during which she stops laying. Therefore we collect eggs as soon as possible, to prevent her from becoming broody, and going out of production.

 

25. What is meant by Grade AA and Grade A eggs?

 

Egg quality is judged by the size of the air pocket at the top of the egg and the stiffness of the white of the egg. It is usually determined by candling (Passing a bright light through a small hole in the "candler" through the shell of the egg). White eggs are easily candled. Brown eggs are more difficult. The smaller the air pocket and the stiffer the white, the higher the quality. Because the shell is porous, the white can evaporate over time, increasing the size of the air pocket. Commercial eggs are usually sprayed with a fine mist of oil to prolong shelf life.

 

26. What are the weights of the various sizes of eggs?

 

All eggs sold in the state of Maryland must be sold by the following weight classes as specified by USDA standards (The minimum weight of each class increases by 3 oz more than the one smaller than it):

 

 

 

EGG WEIGHTS
SIZE
OZ/DOZ
Small
18
Medium
21
Large
24
Extra Large
27
Jumbo
30

 

27. What is a free range or free roaming egg?

 

Hens are able to run around outside usually in a field or pen. It's the Chicken not the Egg that is free-range! 
 
Baby Chicks

 

28. Should I buy Hen or straight run chicks?   

 

Chicks have been sexed by the hatchery and are sexed at 90% accurately. Straight run chicks are usually less expensive, but they are 50% pullets and 50% cockerels (more or less). You can order either type from Chicken Condos.

 

29. When can my chicks go into the coop?   

 

You should wait until they are fully feathered to put them out in the coop. Depending on the temperature, they can go outside when they are from 5 to 12 weeks old. Just keep an eye on them and see how well the flock receives them.

 

30. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

 

What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18" high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

 

Behavior

 

31. Why do roosters crow?   

 

There's many reasons why A rooster crows.. He could be announcing his territory, or letting the hens know he's there. It can also be a challenge to another rooster. Why they crow when they crow, only the rooster knows for sure...

 

32. Do chickens smell bad?   

 

No. The only reason chickens would smell is if they are sick or their coop is not cleaned often enough. Chicken Condos coops have easy clean outs and access just for this reason.

 

33. What is a broody hen?   

 

A broody hen is a hen who is trying to hatch out eggs by sitting on them all day and all night, only taking breaks once a day to eat, drink, and defecate.

 

34. How do roosters mate with hens?   

 

The sex organ of a rooster is located internally, inside the Cloaca, which is the opening where the feces comes out, and in the hen, the eggs. When mating, the rooster's organ is extruded (comes out) in order to place the sperm in the cloaca of the hen. Rooster's organ is extruded (comes out) in order to place the sperm in the cloaca of the hen. The rooster mounts the hen, holding on with his beak to her head or neck feathers, in order to be in the proper position for fertilization to occur.

 

35. I have two roosters. One was the alpha but has been challenged by the other. Can they live in peace or must one go?    

 

You will not be able to make them be friends. They may work out the new positions themselves and the pecking might subside. If not you may have to find a way to let them out alternate days with the hens. A product called Blu Kote, sold in most tack stores for cuts on horses, is good to put on the injured comb to discourage more pecking and help it heal. Use a Q-tip to apply it, careful to not get it in the eyes.

 

36. Do roosters need to be separated from each other when they are in with pullets? If so, at what age?   

 

Roosters that grow up together generally get along and may not need to be separated. Even if one is bantam and one is a standard they could live in harmony especially if they have a large area. It is individual however and can change with age so always keep an eye out.

 

37. My chickens are eating their own eggs. What should I do?   

 

Usually, egg-eating is due to a need for more calcium. Supplement with crushed oyster shells (available at feed stores). In a pinch, crush up
regular chickens eggs and supplement with that (although that may encourage
them to peck at eggs). For occasional stubborn hen who has just decided she
likes the taste of eggs, you may have to try a nest box that allows the eggs
to roll out of reach.

 

38. Is there a salve to put on the hens backs to heal and prevent the rooster's plucking?

 

Can I snip the tip of His beak to make it more sensitive?     You can put Neosporin on the hen's back if there's any broken skin.. You can also use blu-cote on it to reduce the chances of picking. It turns the skin dark and is therefore less attractive to any pickers. Trimming the beak is an option if he's picking with it. It will not make it more sensitive. It will make it shorter so he cannot get a good grip on feathers. However the rooster damage may come from the toenails, rather than the beak. Feather loss on hens is very common.

 

39. What is the best way to introduce new chickens to an already established flock?   

 

Separate newcomers and established birds with a barrier (i.e., wire), so they can see each other but not directly interact for a period of 1-4 weeks. This will help keep fighting to a minimum. Always introduce them while SUPERVISED, so you can control any fighting.

 

40. What Is The Pecking Order And Why Is It Important?

 

The pecking order is a natural process that chickens have to work out among themselves. This order of social dynamics determines the status of individual birds of a flock and their roles. The pecking order has an influence on many chicken activities such as feeding, drinking, egg laying, roosting, crowing, mating and even dust bathing.

 

41. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?

 

Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door such as the new Poultry Butler Automatic Poultry Door.

 

42. Are chickens vegetarians?

 

No, not by choice but only as foisted on them by their human "keepers". A chicken free ranging in the yard/field will eat many insects, worms etc. I have even witnessed them eating mice that they encounter. They will also eat their own eggs if cracked- all these are animal products.

 


 

Breeds & Terms

 

43. What is the best breed for laying eggs?

 

Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Australorps , Buff Orpington, Black Star and Ameraucanaare all very productive breeds

 

44. What are the best breeds for meat?

 

Cornish Cross, Jersey Giant, Delaware

 

45. What are the best breeds for pets?

 

Cochins, Silkies, Austerlorps, Seramas and  Brahmas

 

46. What are the best dual purpose chickens?

 

Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Barred Plymouth Rock and Buff Orpington

 

47. What is a Chick?

 

A baby chicken of either sex.

 

48. What is a Pullet?

 

A young hen under a year old

 

49. What is a Hen?

 

A female chicken over a year old

 

50. What is a Cockerel?

 

A male chicken under a year old

 

51. What is a Rooster?

 

A male chicken over a year old

 

52. What is a Broiler?

 

A chicken known for its meat production, suitable for roasting, grilling, or barbecuing

 

53. What is a Layer?

 

A chicken known for its egg production

 

54. What is a Dual Purpose?

 

Good for both egg and meat production

 

55. What is a Heritage Breed?

 

A heritage chicken is one of a variety of strains of domestic chicken which retains historic characteristics that are no longer present in the majority of chickens raised for consumption since the mid-20th century. Heritage turkeys can be differentiated from other domestic chickens in that they are biologically capable of being raised in a manner that more closely matches the natural behavior and life cycle of wild chickens. Heritage turkeys have a relatively long lifespan and a much slower growth rate than chickens bred for industrial agriculture, and unlike industrially-bred chickens,

 

Feed

 

56. What should I feed my chickens?   

 

Starter ration until they are 8 weeks old, grower ration until they are 18 weeks old, then layer ration; or combination starter-grower until they are 18 weeks, then layer ration. It is a good idea to supplement the layer ration with ground oyster shell. Oyster shell helps keep eggshells thick.

 

57. Can I feed my chickens treats?

 

Yes. Scratch is a good treat for chickens. Chickens like many things: cooked
spaghetti, clean vegetable peels, fruit, cereal, meal worms, bugs, and
snails. Avoid strong tasting foods like onions and garlic; some sources say
this makes their eggs taste funny

 

58. What is scratch?   

 

Scratch is a cracked corn and wheat mix for chickens. It is available at most feed stores. Chickens love cracked corn

 

59. Should chicks be fed raw oatmeal?   

 

Young chicks can be fed raw oatmeal as long as there is sufficient grit added to their diet. Without grit, chicks will be unable to obtain the nutritive value of the oatmeal.

 

60. What is grit?   

 

Chicken grit is simply small rocks to be used as a supplement to your flock’s diet. Chickens will instinctively pick up pebbles and small rocks as they scratch at the ground. These elements are needed for the strong gizzard to successfully grind hard foods against, to break it up for absorption and digestion.

 

61. How do I give my chicks grit, do I mix it into their feed or a separate dish?

 

Most people put their chick grit into a separate dish, which the chicks will take from when they need it. If it goes in with the feed sometimes they won't notice it and won't eat it. However you can also take them outside every day to forage, and they will pick up their own grit from the ground.

 

62. What is oyster shell?

 

Oyster Shell is a calcium supplement for their diet, because the calcium will ensure a nice, strong egg shell.

 

63. How do I give my chickens oyster shell, do I mix it into their feed or a separate dish?

 

If you have laying hens, we recommend that you give them ground oyster shells. It is best to do this “free choice” by putting the oyster shells in a separate container, so that the hens can take as much as they need. (Please do not feed this to birds that aren't laying yet; they don't need it!)

 

64. How much feed do chickens eat?

 

The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around 4 to 6 ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

 

Health

 

65. What is chicken molt?   

 

The molt is an annual process in which the chickens lose and re-grow their feathers. Usually chickens molt in the late summer or early fall. They may stop laying eggs while they are molting.

 

66. How many roosters do I need for my chickens?   

 

One rooster for every 8-12 hens will probably produce fertile eggs.

 

67. When and how can I tell if a chicken is a rooster?   

 

 It is VERY difficult to tell male from female at an early age. Depending on the breed, cockerels (males) develop larger combs and wattles earlier than pullets (females) and will start trying to crow at 6 to 10 weeks (we had one start to crow at 16 weeks - it's not a precise science, sorry!) Cockerels tend to bigger and/or taller than the pullets. You may also observe more aggressive rooster behaviors, like play fighting, hassling, mounting and such.

 

68. What is coccidiosis?   

 

A protozoa in the droppings, easily spread from chick to chick. Cocci can be prevented with medicated feed. Older chickens can be treated with Corrid or Albon. Usually readily available at most feed stores. Usually readily available at most feed stores. Cleaning the feeder and waterer at least daily is an important step in the prevention and treatment.

 

69. Is it all right to clip a chicken's toe nail?   

 

It is alright to clip a chicken's toenails.. You need to be careful not to go too far up into the nail, or it may cause pain and bleeding. A dog toenail clipper is a useful tool for this.

 

70. One of my hens has a protrusion outside her vent. What can cause this and do I need to take her to the vet?   

 

What you're describing is a prolapsed vent. This can happen when a hen strains too hard to lay an egg, or the egg is so big it causes some damage to the vent as it is laid. It's fairly common. What to do for it is to lubricate the vent gently with preparation h cream, or any of the hemorrhoid creams and using a finger, gently push the vent back inside. The cream will then need to be applied twice a day till the vent is healed. It may help to keep the hen in a dark place to discourage laying while the healing takes place. The hen will need to be watched in the future, in case of re-occurrence.
Rapid treatment is necessary not just to aid healing, but to prevent the other birds from picking the exposed tissue.

 

71. Can you wash a chicken?   

 

Yes. Show chickens are given baths often so their feathering is perfect for showing. Most people recommend Dawn dishwashing soap as it is gentle and will remove grease. Others prefer baby soap or shampoo. Chickens may have a variety of reactions to being bathed, but some seem to like it, especially Silkies. You can also blow dry them on low after you're done

 

72. How long do chickens usually live?   

 

They can live up to 10 years or more if you keep them healthy. I have seen hens still laying eggs around 4-5 years old.

 

73. How do you clip chickens wings?

 

Wing clipping, the most common method of controlling the flight of backyard chickens, involves using sharp shears to cut off the first ten flight feathers of one wing. Clipping causes a bird to lack the balance needed for flight but lasts only until new feathers grow during the next molt, which may be a few months in young birds or up to a year for older ones. A potential problem is that clipped feathers may not readily fall out during the molt, requiring your assistance.

 

74. What is meant by de-beaking and why is it so common?

 

De-beaking is a misnomer. It should be called "blunting". It is done right after the chick is hatched by burning the tip of the beak electrically, preventing the development of the sharp point of the beak. At the time it causes less stress than cutting a baby's umbilical cord. Chickens tend to be bullies and pick on each other, hence , "pecking order".The result is that they destroy the feathers, mostly on the rear of the bird. If a chicken complains, it only excites the others to pick even more, ultimately resulting in death. This does not end it -they will pick the flesh off, until there is just bone left. Even with plenty of space available, this is a problem. Hence for their own protection, most producers blunt the beak for a healthier flock.

 


 

Housing & Habitat

 

75. How tall should the side fences be on the chicken yard?

 

Is seven feet sufficient?    Six feet is a common level for poultry fencing. Seven feet would be sufficient in most cases. There have been cases of chickens flying out even at that level, however. Chickens can be kept contained in their pens as well as protected from overhead predators by covering the pens with some form of netting. A common, lightweight, and easy to use netting is deer netting available in most large home improvement stores as well as hardware stores.

 

76. What is the best material to spread on the coop floor? 

 

Pine shavings (or similar)work very well. Straw is also ok, but has spaces inside which can harbor mites and other pests.

 

77. How much space do I need in my chicken house and run?   

 

Inside a minimum of 2 square feet of floor space. Outside, a minimum of 6 square feet in the run per bird (some say 4 sq. ft., but that's only 2x2, and I personally think that's restrictive).

 

78. Can a 6x8 garden shed be used as a chicken coop?

 

What is a nesting box? Are they necessary?    A standard garden shed can be converted nicely into a coop. You want to provide about 4 square feet per bird, so the size will shelter about 12-14 birds easily. You want to ensure that it is draft free and secure from predators, and has adequate ventilation. Heat and insulation needs vary based on location and climate.

 

79. Will painting the interior of the coop cause any health risk to the hens?   

 

If the paint is non toxic, and well dried, with good ventilation, it should cause no harm to the hens.

 

80. Could deer netting be used to fence my chickens in during the day?

 

Will it be effective for keeping them out of the garden?    The deer netting will keep the chickens in.. Another way to address this concern is to put the deer netting around the garden. This way you can use permanent support such as t-posts or wooden fence posts to support it.

 

81. What should I use for perches?   

 

Wooden perches should be 2 in diameter for regular sized chickens and 1 for bantams. Plastic or metal is too smooth for the chicken to grasp. You can also use branches for a more natural setting. Note: in cold climates, people use flat 2x4s for perches. That makes the chicken sit on its feet, keeping them warm.

 

82. How much roosting space do I need on the perches?   

 

You will need a minimum of 8" of perch space for each chicken.

 

83. How high should my perches be?  

 

The lowest perch should be 18-24 off the ground. There can be multiple perches - chickens will jump up from perch to perch. Some people use a leaning ladder perch arrangement.

 

84. How many nest boxes do I need?   

 

Generally, one box for every 4 hens.

 

85. How big should my nest boxes be?   

 

For larger breeds, a box 12 high, 12 deep and 14 high is fine.

 

86. How far off the ground should I place my nest boxes?   

 

18" to 24" is a good height.

 

87. How do I acclimate my chickens to their new home or coop?

 

Well, what's always worked for me was to put food and water inside and then put the chickens in, close the door and in a couple of days, they know where home is.

 

88. Why is it important for a coop to have proper ventilation?

 

 Ventilation removes dampness and humidity from the coop.  Ventilation removes ammonia fumes from the coop.  Ventilation usually helps keep the coop from getting too hot in summer. Chickens' bodies perform best below about 75 degrees F; over 90 F they start to have real problems.

 

89. How big does my chicken coop need to be?

 

Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally 2 – 3 square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then 8 – 10 square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

 

90. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?

 

Approximately one nest box for every 4 – 5 hens.

 


Pest & Predator

 

91. Will raccoons hurt my chickens? 
Yes. Raccoons are one of the most common predators of chickens. They will attack mainly at night, and can kill a bird very quickly. They will also frequently kill more than one of your flock. Chicken Condos are very secure and will help to protect your flock from raccoons

 

92. What can I do to get rid of snakes?   

 

You can try to relocate them far away just remember that snakes are territorial, and will return if they can. If you feel this will not work, then killing them would be your next choice. Snakes are sometimes beneficial. They will remove vermin such as mice and rats, but will also remove chicks, small birds, and eggs.

 

93. How do you keep rats from eating my chicken feed?

 

The ‘Rodent Resistant Chicken Feeder’ is designed so that only your birds can access the food, keeping rats and mice out. The feed door opens when a chicken steps on the wood pedal, and the door closes when it steps off. Rats and mice do not weigh enough to allow the feeder to open. Not only does this keep pests out of the feed, but it keeps waste out also.

 

94. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?

 

Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. "Food grade" diatomaceous earth (DE) is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with DE to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

 

95. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?

 

Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night so it may be a good idea to place a few Nite Eyes around your coop. Nite Eyes Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

 

96. Who are the worst predators of chickens?

 

Everybody loves chicken! Daytime, we have hawks, cats and dogs. Most predators are nocturnal and include fox, opossum, skunk and raccoon. By far, my worst one is raccoon. They are persistent, clever, can climb or dig and their paws can manipulate. Any opening is a challenge, and they will keep at it until the whole flock is gone.

 


 

Weather

 

97. How can I prevent frostbite?  

 

Using 2 x 4 roosts, laid flat, make the chickens roost on their feet, which will keep them warm. For combs and wattles, some Vaseline will help prevent frostbite from happening. For VERY extreme conditions, heat the coop with a ceramic or red-bulb heating light.

 

98. It's been extremely cold in the northeast . My rooster now has blackness on his comb with yellow blisters. What this is and how can I treat it!  

 

Sounds like frostbite. Chickens commonly get it on the comb, wattles, or feet. It is best treated with an antibiotic ointment (like Polysporin) over the blisters and blackened areas. The blackened areas may wither and fall off if the frostbite is full thickness. Frostbite can be prevented with a thick coating of Vaseline over the comb and wattles and wide perches such that their feet are flat, like a 2x4 on side, not edge, so that their feet are warmed by the body. Reducing drafts in the coop in winter is important but do not allow the coop to be without ventilation as high humidity will increase the chances of frostbite happening.

 

99. What do I do if I live in a very cold climate?  

 

Insulate the coop, use heat lamps if needed, heat the waterer to keep it from freezing.

 

100. In colder climates, is it normal for chickens to stop laying in winter?  

 

It is normal for hens to stop or slow down laying in the winter months. The shorter days trigger this slow down, rather than the temperature. In order to keep hens laying all winter, artificial light can be used equal 14 hours of light per day.



Miscellaneous

 

101. When meat chickens are ready for processing, can you take them somewhere to have them done or do you have to do it yourself?   

 

Yes you can take them to a processors to be killed and cleaned in most areas. Most areas have a butcher shop or a meat shop that will do this for you.

 

How has the best chicken coops on the market?

 

Chicken Condos by far has the best coop you can buy on the internet or even make. Check them out at www.chickencondos.com


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