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1. What breed of chicks should I order?

It depends on whether you want them for eggs, meat, or both. If you want eggs, our top layer is the Red Sex-Link, but if you want a larger hen that does better under variable conditions or that will give you a respectable amount of meat at end of lay, try one of our five regular dual purpose breeds. For meat, the top producer is the White Rock, but if you want a lighter but hardier bird, we suggest our heaviest dual purpose breed, “Frey’s Special Dual Purpose.” For a colourful variety of layers, try our “Layer Variety”

2. How can I minimize the possibility of sexing errors in my order of layers?

Avoid ordering Barred Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, and Colombian Rock X, which are more difficult to sex as chicks. In all other breeds the sexes have distinctive colour or marking patterns, which will greatly reduce the chance you’ll get unwanted males.

3. Can I mix chickens of different ages?

We do not recommend this, since it may lead to pecking-order problems and the spread of disease from older birds to younger birds.

4. Can I raise chickens with turkeys?

We do not recommend this. Chickens and turkeys require different feeds for optimum growth. And to prevent Blackhead disease in turkeys, thoroughly disinfect the pen between flocks, and do not allow turkeys into an outside area previously occupied by chickens, for at least three years.

5. What is Coccidiosis (cock-sid-ee-oh’-sis)?

It is a common protozoan disease. Symptoms include diarrhea, dehydration, weakness, depression, and ruffling of feathers. Medicated chick starter contains a coccidiostat to protect against this disease, but cleanliness, dry litter, and sufficient space in the pen are also critical.

6. Why are my birds losing feathers?

The most common reasons birds lose feathers are nutritional deficiencies (particularly amino acids such as methionine if birds are fed corn and other grains in addition to complete feeds), frequent mating (hens will have feathers missing from the back and head, males from the breast area), cannibalism (due to factors such as overcrowding and inadequate nutrition), and external parasites such as mites and lice (feathers will be missing from abdominal and vent areas). It should be noted that hens that are laying well will naturally lose feathers over the laying period. Your “pretty girls” are likely to be your less productive layers!

7. My White Rock chickens are dying. What can I do?

For young chicks, carefully review the Care and Comfort section, paying particular attention to temperature. Temperature fluctuations and deviations of even a few degrees from ideal temperatures can stress these delicate birds. USE A THERMOMETER! If your chicks are showing symptoms such as droopiness, wheezing or diarrhea, adding a broad-spectrum antibiotic (need a veterinarian prescription) to their drinking water for a few days may be helpful. Birds over three weeks of age that are subject to stress and excessive heat may benefit from extra vitamins and electrolytes. Restricting feed will prevent them from growing too quickly for their legs and hearts.

8. My birds are pecking each other. Help!

Pecking and other forms of cannibalism are almost always management problems. In that way chickens are like children. If something is amiss, they start picking on each other. See the Trouble Shooting section for more information.

9. Why aren’t my hens laying?

There are many possible reasons. The most common are improper light and feed or immaturity caused by a setback (periods of stress, moving, etc.) during the growing period. See the Trouble Shooting section for more information.