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Black Australorp Chickens in the Heritage Breed Spotlight

Black Australorp Hens pecking about in a yard

Black Australorp chickens were developed in Australia by crossing black Orpingtons from England with other breeds that are good egg layers. The idea was to develop farmstead chickens that excel in egg production. The breed name comes from combining the words Australia and Orpington. Physical Attributes The United States favors Australorps that are black, although […]

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Caring for Bantam Chickens

A young man holds a bantam chicken

Does caring for bantam chickens differ from keeping larger chickens? Yes and no. Any differences generally relate to the bantams’ smaller size and to their typically gentle temperament. Predator Protection Bantam chickens are so light in weight that most predators can easily carry one away. And because they have shorter legs, they can’t run to […]

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10 Things to Know Before You Get Chickens

A little girl poses with some backyard chickens

Judging from numerous online posts, many people jump into chicken keeping without giving enough thought to what’s involved. As a result, you see lots of posts listing “things I wish I’d known.” Or along the lines of “advice to newbie chicken keeper.” Interestingly, these lists frequently repeat the same things. In the spirit of being […]

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Causes of Water Belly in Laying Hens

A chicken suffering from waterbelly

Water belly is a condition in which a chicken’s body cavity fills with fluid, causing the abdomen to bulge. It is not itself a disease, but rather a sign of heart failure. Let’s take a look at the various causes of water belly in laying hens. Heart Failure in Laying Hens As with people, aging […]

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How Many Chicken Nest Boxes Do You Need?

a row of chicken nest boxes

How many chicken nest boxes you need in your coop depends in part on the number of hens in your flock. A second factor is whether or not your hens one of the top laying breeds. Here are some guidelines for determining the best number of nests for your specific flock. How Many Nests The […]

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Shredder Gene in Lavender Chickens

blue orp shredder

“The shredder gene in lavender chickens causes the feathers to split and the barbs to detach, resulting in rough looking feather development,” explains Jeff Smith of Cackle Hatchery®. Lavender, also known as self blue, is a plumage color resulting from an autosomal recessive gene. Let’s explore how it works. Lavender vs. Blue The lavender gene […]

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6 Reasons to Hatch Poultry Eggs in an Incubator

Before eggs can develop into chicks or other poultry, they must experience a specific amount of heat and humidity for a specific length of time. Most hens instinctively know what to do. Here are 6 reasons you may instead prefer to hatch poultry eggs in an incubator. Reliability Hens of your chosen breed may not […]

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How to Mix Different Chicken Breeds in One Flock

a mixed flock of chickens outside

Like a lot of chicken keepers, you might want to include a variety of breeds in your backyard flock. Maybe you look forward to gathering baskets full of colorful eggs. Or, rather than all one breed of the same color and type, you prefer a more interesting variety of colors, sizes, and personalities. Or maybe […]

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Should You Vaccinate Your Chickens?

vaccine

Deciding if you should vaccinate your chickens depends on how likely they are to encounter infectious diseases. You may not need to vaccinate if you maintain impeccable biosecurity, because doing so significantly reduces your flock’s risk of acquiring a disease. Unfortunately, many backyard chicken keepers either don’t know about biosecurity or just don’t think it’s […]

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