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Feed Options — What Do Chickens Eat?

young boy feeding chicks

Chickens of differing ages have differing nutritional needs. Prepackaged poultry feed options therefore include rations for baby chicks, growing chicks, layers, and breeders. Which one is right for your chickens depends on their age and your purpose in raising them. Starter Ration Baby chicks should be fed a starter ration, which contains the high amount […]

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Why Chickens and Wild Birds Shouldn’t Mix

black bird in tree

Chickens and other poultry are birds, right? So logically you’d think it wouldn’t be a problem for your flock to mingle with wild birds. But here are three reasons why chickens and wild birds shouldn’t mix. Fowl Mites The northern fowl mite (Ornithonyssus sylviarum) is the most serious external parasite of chickens. It is the […]

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The Where, What, When, Why & How of Chickens

Where do chickens come from? Chickens are descendants of wild jungle fowl, which were domesticated thousands of years ago.   Where are chickens native to? No one is really certain where chickens originated. Evidence indicates that chickens most likely originated in southern China or northern India.   Chicken Characteristics   Are chickens birds? Yes. Chickens […]

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The Lethal Creeper Gene in Japanese Bantams

2 japanese bantams Chickens

Japanese bantams bred for exhibition must have short legs, according to the Standard of Perfection. Unfortunately this trait comes with a dominant lethal gene called creeper (Cp). The creeper gene causes embryos to die during incubation, resulting in a reduced hatch rate for Japanese bantam eggs. Here’s how the lethal creeper gene works: Creeper Genetics […]

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Coccidiosis — the Scourge of Chicks and Poults

Coccidiosis is the most common disease of brooded poultry. It affects primarily chicks and poults (baby turkeys). But it may also (though rarely) affect keets (baby guinea fowl), ducklings, and goslings. It is the most common cause of death in young poultry. What Is Coccidiosis? Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease caused by protozoa. It most […]

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3 Ways to Brood Guinea Fowl and 1 Way Not To

guinea fowl hen with keets

Guinea fowl are fiercely protective parents. Unfortunately they don’t seem to grasp the concept that their little ones can’t move as fast as the big guys. As a result, the keets easily get lost. Further, during their first two weeks of life baby guineas, or keets, chill easily. Trapsing through dew-wet grass while trying to […]

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Broody Chicken Hens as Foster Moms

Brahma Chicken Hen Fostering Baby Chicks

A setting hen doesn’t know (or doesn’t care) whether or not the eggs she hatches are her own. Under natural conditions her nest may consist of a collection of eggs from various hens in the flock. So, you might deliberately use your broody chicken hens as foster moms to hatch eggs laid by other hens, […]

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Raising Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl

If you raise guinea fowl that you plan to free range, start with keets rather than full-grown birds. Keets become acquainted with their home ground as they broaden their foraging range. Adult guineas, on the other hand, are notorious for flying the coop the first chance they get. By raising guinea fowl from keets you […]

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How Long Does It Take for an Egg to Hatch?

Three different eggs from various species

Precisely how long an egg takes to hatch depends on a lot of factors including species, breed, strain, conditions under which the egg was stored prior to incubation, and conditions during incubation. But whether you plan to hatch eggs in an incubator or under a hen you need a more definitive answer the question: How […]

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Why Chicks Peep Before Hatching

Hatching Chick

Chicks, ducklings, and babies of other barnyard birds are precocial, meaning they are able to feed themselves almost from the moment of hatch. Precociality is the reason why chicks peep before hatching. The word precocial comes from the Latin word praecox, meaning early to mature. A fancier word for precocial is nidifugous — from the […]

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