Have you ever wondered about hatching chicks with a broody hen? Ok, I will admit, on the surface this seems so simple. I mean, afterall, broody hens hatched chicks for a long time before people learned to hatch chicks with incubators.
How to sex a chicken is a valuable skill to learn as a chicken farmer. We have all battled the straight run battle. You either buy chicks straight run (unsexed) or hatch your own chicks and aren’t sure if they are males or females.
If you, like most people, cannot vent sex the chicks, you are left wondering how to sex a chicken.
Although some breeds take WAY longer to be able to sex visually (for us, Silkies are still a guess until they are about 6 months old), you can make some educated guesses if you arm yourself with a little knowledge.
Most chicken breeds, especially those with single combs have signs that can help you tell if you have a hen or rooster by about 8 weeks of age.
Curled toes in chickens is a relatively common issue that can affect baby chicks. Curled toes will look pretty much just exactly what they sound like….
Now you are waiting (and waiting) for her to lay her first egg. You won’t know for sure that she is laying until, well, you see her first egg.
However, there are a few signs you can look for in case you’re wondering when do chickens start laying eggs.
When asking when do chickens start to lay, you should make sure she has the right things to keep her happy and healthy.
Once your hen is ready to lay, you will want to make sure that you are feeding a layer feed (which has more calcium in it) rather than a starter or grower feed.
The additional calcium in the layer feed will ensure that your hen is able to properly form solid egg shells.)
If you do not provide your hen that is starting to lay with the proper nutrition, you may end up with soft shelled eggs (which can break easily) or even eggs without a shell at all!
Another thing you will want to ensure that you provide your hen that is ready to lay is a safe, cozy nesting box area as well as some wooden or fake eggs.
We use these fake eggs. They help your hen to know where to go when she is ready to lay 🙂
Additionally, you should know that when your hen starts to lay their highest volume of eggs will come from laying age to around 2 – 3 years old. During this time, if you have several hens laying eggs you may want to think about how to freeze eggs so that they don’t go bad.
If you are raising baby chicks you will, at some point, have to deal with pasty butt in chickens at some point. While pasty butt can be gross, it can be easy to treat.
Pasty butt is basically a build up of poop on the chicks rear end. It is usually near or covering it’s vent. This can become a serious issue if it is not taken care.
It can build up, block the vent opening and prevent the chick from relieving itself. If left unattended, it can kill the chick.
However, with a few minutes of your time pasty butt can be taken care of. Often times temperature changes can cause it, so make sure to keep your brooder temperature correct.
Temperatures should start at 95 degrees and decrease 5 degrees per week. Also watch chick behavior to see if they are panting and spread out (too hot) or inactive and piled on top of one another (too cold).
Molting chickens may be a huge surprise for first time chicken owners. I know that it was for us. One day we went out to check on the girls and there were feathers EVERYWHERE!
What the heck?! I mean, it seriously looked like a huge pillow fight had happened overnight. None of the chickens seemed to be hurt, injured or missing. But we wondered what would cause this? Were they sick?…