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Chick Care

Live Chick FAQs 
 

What does the term PULLET mean?

A pullet is a female chicken, also known as a hen.


At what age can I tell males from females? 

With most breeds, you can tell the sex of the bird at around 16-18 weeks. With some birds, such as guineas or some breeds of geese, you will not be able to tell unless you observe them mating. 

 
How are chickens, ducks etc. sexed as day old chicks? 
 
There are some breeds that are color sexable and some breeds that are bred to be feather sexed. If the bird has not been bred to be feather sexed or color sexed, it must be vent sexed by a professional sexor. 

 
My ducks came in fine and suddenly started dying. 
 
Ducks will water log easily. Give them water for about 15 minutes and then take it away for about 15 minutes. Repeat this about 4 times. Do not let them run out of water. 

 
Can I start my chicks on newspaper? 
 
No, newspaper is too slippery and will cause spraddle legs. 

 
What type of shavings should I use? 
 
We recommend Pine. Do not use Cedar, as it can be lethal. 

 
My Cornish Rocks are sitting around, have a distended abdomen, and are starting to die. 
 
These are the symptoms of Ascites (fluid in the body cavity), which comes from overfeeding the poultry. 

 
Can I mix my new babies with an existing flock? 
 
This is not recommended. Poultry have a pecking order established within their flock, and if you add babies, they will become an immediate target. You should wait until the new poultry reaches maturity to mix them together. There may still be some pecking while establishing the new order, but it will be less of a factor. 

 
What causes my poultry to peck? 
 
There are many things that cause poultry to peck. They are naturally cannibalistic, and many factors will bring out that trait. Cannibalism will occur more often under crowded conditions. You should make sure you are allowing plenty of room for your poultry. Mature poultry need 3 to 4 feet per bird. Be sure your birds are receiving the right nutrients in their diet and that they are not "bored." You might add some grass or hay to their diet. If the poultry does pick enough to draw blood, you should clean up the bird quickly. Once they taste the blood, they will go back for more. You may want to purchase anti-pick lotion from your local feed store. 

 
When will my hens begin to lay? 
 
Hens will begin to lay at about 20 weeks of age. It does vary some from breed to breed. You also need to be sure that your hens are getting enough light. Poultry need 14 hours or more of light per day to lay efficiently. This means you will need to apply artificial light during the winter months.