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Guinea Fowl on Tick Patrol

Many rural folks keep guinea fowl primarily to patrol for ticks and any other pesky insects they might snack on. When allowed to roam freely, a flock of guineas will effectively patrol a lawn, pasture, or edge of a woodlot. Just start up your lawn mower and guineas will gather to feast on whatever the […]

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Penning a Hen with Her Chicks

If a hen and her newly hatched chicks are left to wander around the poultry yard, the babies may fall prey to house cats, hawks, and other predators. And baby chicks can slip through most yard fences that are properly built to confine mature poultry. Chicks wandering around a yard can get chilled in damp […]

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Breed Spotlight: Frizzle, Frazzle, and Sizzle Chickens

Frizzle chickens are fun and funny, but are they a breed? The answer is yes and no. In Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and United Kingdom Frizzles are classified as a pure breed. In the United States they are considered to be a plumage variety in any breed. Frizzle Chickens Frizzling is a genetic condition […]

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All Chicken Keepers Face These 3 Challenges

Chicken keepers vary in levels of experience, from novice to expert. But no matter how knowledgeable we might be, and how carefully we manage our flocks, all chicken keepers face the same three challenges. Predators Everyone who keeps poultry sooner or later experiences that heart-stopping moment of realization that a predator has come to call. […]

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Dealing with Scaly Leg Mites in Chickens

The scaly leg mite (Knemidocoptes mutans) is a tiny pale gray round creature, only about 1/100-inch in diameter. Despite its small size, in large numbers it can cause big problems by digging under the scales of a chicken leg and deforming the shank, feet, and toes. Unfortunately, dealing with scaly leg mites is a common […]

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Why Does a Rooster Have Wattles?

A rooster’s wattles come in flexible pairs that dangle beneath the beak, while its comb is a single structure prominently affixed to the top of the head. Researchers have determined that hens base their choice of mates, in part, on characteristics of the comb. But when it comes to wattles, they scratch their scholarly heads […]

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The Origin of Modern Chickens

Since the 1800s humans have believed chickens were domesticated from red jungle fowl of Southeast Asia. The main reasons for this assumption are that red jungle fowl (pictured above) look similar and can interbreed with modern chickens. However, we had no real proof of the origin of modern chickens until the advent of gene sequencing. […]

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Two Ways to Brood Cornish Cross Broiler Chickens

Brooding Cornish cross broilers is similar to brooding any chicks, with the notable exception that the hybrid Cornish broilers get bigger faster. They eat almost constantly, and rarely move far from the feeder. They also drink a lot of water to wash down all that feed. So they need plenty of room to accommodate their […]

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No Guarantees When Ordering Hatching Eggs by Mail

Eggs that are sold specifically for hatching are called, fittingly enough, hatching eggs. They cost more than eating eggs but come with no guarantee they will hatch. Too many variables are not under the seller’s control. Even eggs laid by your own hens, or otherwise sourced locally, are not guaranteed to hatch. But when hatching […]

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Tips for Hatching Chicken Eggs in an Incubator

Starting a backyard flock with a small incubator and some hatching eggs can be fun and educational. How successful you are at hatching chicken eggs in an incubator will depend on a number of factors, some of which are out of your control — such as the inherent degree of difficulty in hatching eggs from […]

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