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Frequently asked questions

Questions I am often asked when people are looking to buy chicks
  1. Q

    Should I use medicated chick starter?

    A

    The medication added to starter is not an antibiotic, so it does not cause resistance issues, but it is unnecessary if you are providing good care and keeping the bedding dry
  2. Q

    How long should they get starter feed?

    A

    They can stay on starter until the first ones start to lay, or you can switch them to grower after about 6 weeks
  3. Q

    Do they need filtered or warmed water?

    A

    No, if the water is safe for people, it will work for chicks. Some commercial operations add chlorine to the drinking water, so chlorinated water is ok. It can be any temp, they will not get chilled drinking cold water. They really like clean over dirty water and can taste the difference
  4. Q

    What treats can I give my chicks?

    A

    BabyCake is specially formulated as a treat for chicks. You can also offer finely chopped greens or other table scraps. Some foods they will not like, and there are no rules about what they like. As a rule, if it is healthy for people, it is healthy for chickens. Finely chopped eggs (scrambled or hard boiled) are very good for them, as are most vegetables (fresh or cooked), just be aware of the size pieces that they are capable of swallowing, since they cannot chew their food
  5. Q

    How much can they be handled safely?

    A

    They are very social and in frequent physical contact with other chicks. People handling them is well accepted also, and essential if you want a very tame adult chicken. It would be hard to handle them too much. They need time to eat, drink and sleep of course, but could spend hours every day being held. It is also ok to take them outdoors and let them play in the grass, with supervision to protect them and ensure they don’t get stressed. *** Always remember to wash your hands before and after to protect you and the chicks ***
  6. Q

    What can I do to reduce the odor?

    A

    Change the bedding more frequently. Adding Sweet PDZ Stall Freshener to the bedding will help control odors between changes. If that’s not enough, maybe it is time for them to move outside.
  7. Q

    When can they go outside?

    A

    If you can provide enough heat in a sheltered building, they can go outside from the start. Once they are fully feathered that can stand temperature extremes much better, but you would still want to adjust them gradually to extreme cold.
  8. Q

    Why are your chicks more expensive than the ones that other places sell?

    A

    We work hard at getting breeds of poultry that you can't readily get from other sources. For example, a typical hatchery or store that buys their chicks from a commercial hatchery has exactly 1 breed of blue egg layer, the Easter Egger (often mis-labeled as Araucana or Americauna). We have 3, and multiple varieties of 2 of them.
  9. Q

    What does "straight run" mean?

    A

    It simply means that the chicks are mixed sexes, presumably about 50% will be roosters. If you cannot handle having roosters, so not buy straight run chicks. I once bought 6 straight run Ameraucanas and all of them were male. The Marans and Amerauacanas we have all straight run, they are impossible to sex as chicks without the specially trained personel that work at hatcheries.
  10. Q

    How do you sex your chicks?

    A

    The chicks we sell as sexed are breeds that have been designed to show differences in the color patterns in the chicks. Some are pure-bred and some are hybrids. In most cases we can guarantee the sex by the presence of a white spot on the heads of the males. Any chicks that lack this spot are female. Welsummers are a special case that takes a more practiced eye, and even then we can't guarantee that the Welsummer chicks you purchase are female, but we can get it right most of the time.
  11. Q

    Are your chicks vaccinated?

    A

    I don't vaccinate because it is quite difficult and expensive. It's also hard to decide what diseases to be concerned about. They all seem so bad, but small flocks are less likely to be exposed to the really bad pathogens. Something could come in with wild birds, like Avian Influenza, but there is no vaccine for AI. Most other diseases are survivable and the prevention not complete anyway. My primary defense is to take excellent care of them. Healthy and happy birds have stronger immune systems. The parent stock is not protected from anything and any that are weak simply don't survive, nor do their genes.
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