Recent Articles on Poultry Farm Raising Information & Help

Egg Binding

I am not sure what is wrong with my hen. She is a Red Star Hen about 11 months old. She is the only one acting like this. She humps up her back and shakes her head. She started doing this last week one day. The next day she was fine, then started again about three days later. Then she has been a week free of this. This morning when I went down to read more »

Dealing with and Managing Rooster Spurs

The radiograph shows the tarsometatarsal bone (A) with the calcar (B) protruding from it. The calcar is surrounded by an extensive horny, keratinized layer (C). The calcar and the horny layer make up the spur.   The photograph shows the leg (A) and the horny layer of the spur (B). Under this layer is the calcar, seen in Figure 1. The horny la read more »

Pine Shaving vs Cedar Chip Bedding/Litter

Not too long ago, I ran out of pine wood chips, and my feed store was closed. So I went to Wal-Mart for pine wood chips, and they had no more, only cedar. Ever since I got those wood chips I had two, 5 week old chicks die, and my other seven chickens have some weird bumbs on their combs, ear lobes, beaks, eye lids, and/or wattles. The only things read more »

Clipping Wings to Prevent Flight

Because I live in a rural or residential area I need to know how best to clip their wings so they will stay on my property. Due to complaint from only one neighbor, I'm afraid this is now necessary. You should use a pair of sharp scissors to clip about half to 2/3 off the length of the Primary Flight feathers. These are the last 10 feathers on the read more »

Justine's Wooden Chickens

Justine cut out and assembled a pair of wooden "Yard Chickens" and three chicks. She got the patterns from her step-dad before he passed away last year and just now got around to cutting the pieces out of 3/4" plywood and assembling them. If you're interested, the pattern came from Meisel Hardware Specialties of Mound, MN.   Hen and rooster o read more »

Odd Eggs, Double Yolks, No Yolks, etc.

Why does my hen lay double yolkers nearly every day and is it normal? It's not normal. Double yolks are a "mistake" in the chicken's reproductive system that sometimes happens when a hen just starts laying eggs and her system is still trying to figure out how to do it correctly. It may also be hereditary. Looks like your hen falls in the latter ca read more »

Incubation and Brooding Help

Brooder Houses for the Small Flock - Univ of Nebraska Brooding and Rearing the Home Meat Flock - Univ of Nebraska Bantams as Incubators - Univ of Georgia Candling Incubated Eggs for Embryo Development - Mississippi State Univ Candling and Analysis of Unhatched Eggs - Univ of California, Davis Common Hatchery Terms - Definitions - Univ of Californi read more »

What and How to Feed Birds

All birds are fed "free choice".  This means that food is available to them at all times and they eat what they want.  Chickens will not over-eat like some pets and livestock will. According to Evergreen Feed Mill's feed sack labels, they indicate an appropriate daily quantity of layer ration is 3.5 ounces per bird or 22 pounds per 100 b read more »

Impacted Crop

People often suspect something is wrong with a chick or chicken if their crop is full. In the case of chicks or juvenile birds this is usually normal as they will eat quite a bit during this fast growth period.  It often happens with full grown chickens as well and is usually normal as long as they all have the same sized bulge.  You sho read more »

The Avian Embryo

Credits: Mississippi State University and Dr. Tom W. Smith Jr., the author.   The earliest stages of a bird in its egg are amazing and exciting. In only three weeks a small clump of cells that do not seem to resemble any animal species changes into an active, newly hatched chick. A study of this change is educational and interesting and gives read more »

Bantam & Gamebird Breeder Cages

  We built cages for our bantam breeders that are 24 inches Deep by 72 inches Wide by 20 inches High.  They have a divider in the middle creating two 24"x36" cages.  These are stacked two high and supported by pine 2x4 legs (photo 1). Construction is of 1"x2" - 14 gauge and 1/2"x1"  - 16 gauge welded wire both 24" wide, as foll read more »

Barn Pen Construction

Before we got started, we had to move several stacks of lumber out of the way.  The cages at the north end were moved out into the aisle as well.   Detail of the treated 2x6 boards that frame the bottom of the pens connected to the 4x4 posts.  We used Simpson "Stong-Tie" metal connecting plates and power drive 1 1/4" screws exclusiv read more »

Plants Toxic to Poultry

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) American Coffee Berry Tree see Kentucky Coffee Tree Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis L.)  Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis L.) Bull Nettle (Solanum carolinense L.)  Bracken or Brake Fern (Pteridium aquilinum L.)  Burning Bush see Fireweed Buttercup (Ranunculus spp.) Carelessweed see Pigweed Castor Be read more »

Incubation and Hatching Procedures

Welcome to our "hatchery".  We'll give you a quick tour.  The room is a small bedroom about 10' x 12'.  The GQF Sportsman Cabinet incubator model 1503 is in the back left corner.  The 1503 is just like the popular 1202 except that it's equipped with the multi-turn electronic thermostat.  We've also added the automatic humi read more »

Cheap and Easy Chick Brooders

Have you looked at the prices of commercial brooders lately??  Who's got that kind of money?? We originally described our home made brooders on the " Our Hatchery " page of the website with photos.  James Davis, one of our website visitors used our instructions and made a few improvements to our design.  He emailed us photos of his read more »

Toxic Plants and Their Effects

Abrus precatorius (CRAB'S EYE, JEQUIRITY BEAN, PRECATORY BEAN, ROSARY PEA); seeds; gastrointestinal tract affected by toxalbumins. Acacia spp. (CATCLAW, GUAJILLO); foliage; plant is cyanogenetic. ACKEE (Blighia sapida); pink raphe attaching aril2 to seed, arils in immature fruit; gastrointestinal tract and nervous system affected by toxins. Acokan read more »

Coloring Chick Embyos

The main purposes in coloring embryos are to provide a practical method of identifying chicks from different groups of eggs and so you can watch their movements after they leave the nest. In wildlife management studies, where identification and observation of ducks are difficult, identification and observation are made easy by coloring the embryos read more »

Spraddle Legs

Spraddle Legs is a condition caused as a result of a newly hatched chick not being able to get good footing in the hatcher or brooder right after hatching.  The photos here are of a Silver Spangled Hamburg chick that hatched in a GQF Sportsman and jumped out of the tray and tried to walk around on the tin foil in the bottom of the incubator f read more »