Basic  Chicken Information

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Chicken Health Information

Sexing Baby Chicks

If you look at the wings, you will see that the hen chicks have longer pin feathers.
You can also turn them over and if there is a ring around the hole it is a hen

Now don't laugh.  but we were told by some man at our local feed store, that if you flip the baby chick (or duck) over upside down in your hand, if it's a hen, both legs draw up towards it's chest...if it's a rooster, one leg draws upward, the other stretches way out...there we were, turning these guys upside down...and guess what, we have 7 hens, 1 rooster??  Now is that only by accident, or is it so?? lol....................(it worked when we picked out ducks, two...out of 25)

Home Made Chcicken Feeds

What is happening is when your feeding them egg mash you are feeding them all kinds of
chemicals and you think they are molting but in fact they are eating each others feathers for
protein. Stop feeding the egg mash instead mix together cracked corn, oats, wheat, barley, sunflower seeds most local mills will mix this for you. Also add some kelp & nettles at
least once a week over the winter. Anne has raised chickens for over 30 years as her father and
grandfather did. She also helped my grandfather and he had 7,000 free range chickens.

You can buy chicken scratch (cracked) - It only has millet, corn & I barley, wheat, rye I think.
Nothing else just grains.

Layinng Eggs??

Most chickens will start to lay eggs at around 5-6 months of age. They will not lay an egg every day till about 6-7 months of age. The amount of protein in the feed can be adjusted, to encourage egg production, thus, chick starter is about 17% protein, and laying scratch should be 20% - 22%.
In winter time, you can encourage egg laying, but leaving a light on in the chicken coop for an extra 2 hours at night, and 2 hours in the moring. You can also take out HOT water, morning and night for them to drink. This way, they can save energy to make eggs, and not use it up keeping warm.

Pecking Order, and adding NEW chickens to the group

As with any animal breed, there is a difinate pecking order with chickens. Dont be alarmed, just watch that they dont get carried away, and kill one of the group. If you want to add a new chicken or two to the group, go into the chicken house at night, and add the newcomers. Chickens dont count to well, and since they woke up with them in the morning, they figure they must know them. It works, try it.
As for chickens pecking eachother, to the point of having sores, or actually EATING eachother, try adding some fresh green things to eat, in their yard. Grocery stores are usually happy to save the clippings from the produce department. You can throw in weeds, cuttings from bushes or trees, etc.  Another thing to try, is throwing some meat scraps into the chickens. Chickens actually like a little meat now and then, and this will keep them satisfied, so they dont eat eachother.

Parasites in Chickens

From: "Kimberlie Cole" <>

joe said, in response to my comment on up to 2000 tapeworms in chickens that free-range, >Did they state whether these worms were bad for "chickens" as opposed to other animals?  Do beetles and other insects that chickens eat normally carry these worms or is this yet another byproduct of worm loads from pastures used  by chemically wormed animals?  Were these chickens confined to pasture but 
still called free range?  I would love a book that would describe what should  normally be found in animals that are healthy :).


The veterinary manual was Merck's, one of the more standard ones.  The comment on the tapeworms was in the section on poultry parasites and anthelmintics.  Tapeworms are bad for chickens if the load gets too heavy.  It reduces their egg laying (bad for their owners) and can causing them to lose weight and possibly die in bad cases.

The research used as the basis of the statements is unknown to me. Always a good question to ask.  As one of the standard, been-around-a-while vet manuals, I suppose it was based on more than one or two controlled studies and some observation.  Was it restricted pasture?  The comparison was between confinement birds and birds allowed to range on pasture.  The point was, birds that didn't get to injest the parasite's intermediate hosts were less likely to have the load of tapeworms that birds given the freedom to eat their natural diet were.  This bugged me too, but probably has some truth to it.  If you're never exposed to anything, you're probably not going to get it.  But woe to you when and if you are exposed to it later!  Is the bird with the sterile environment better?  No.  I'll keep mine free-range, thank you!  But, chickens on pasture can get worms; it's a reality of life.  If they are healthy and rotated on clean pasture, the load should usually stay in check, but they can sometimes get high. 

West Wind Farm
Cumberland Plateau


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