Poultry

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CHICKS OF THE TRADE

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Make sure you have all the necessary supplies to raise healthy chicks with this helpful checklist.

Tips on Chicks

Signs of a Healthy Chicken

Best Breeds for Beginners

Raising Backyard Chickens

Signs of a Healthy Chicken

Eyes:

Chicken eyes should be clear and shiny. When a chicken is alert and active, its eyelids shouldn’t be showing. You shouldn’t see any discharge or swelling around the eyes.

Nose:

Both nostrils should be clear and open, with no discharge from the nostrils.

Mouth:

The chicken should breathe with the mouth closed, except in very hot conditions. If cooling the bird doesn’t make it breathe with its mouth closed, it is ill.

Wings:

The wings of chickens should be carried close to the body in most breeds. A few breeds have wings that point downward. (You need to study breed characteristics to see what is normal for your breed.) The wings shouldn’t droop or look twisted.

Sometimes droopy wings are a sign of illness in the bird. A damaged wing that healed wrong won’t affect the laying or breeding ability of the bird. However, some birds are hatched with bad wings, which is usually the result of a genetic problem. These birds should not be used for breeding.

Feathers:

In general, a chicken shouldn’t be missing large patches of feathers. Hens kept with a rooster often have bare patches on the back and the base of the neck near the back. These patches are caused by mating and are normal. You should never see open sores or swelling where the skin is bare.

Sometimes feathers are pulled out, particularly tail feathers, when capturing a bird. If the bird appears healthy otherwise and the skin appears smooth and intact, it’s probably fine.

A healthy bird has its feathers smoothed down when it is active. Some breed differences are noteworthy — for example, obviously, a Frizzle with its twisted feathers will never look smooth. A bird with its feathers fluffed out that isn’t sleeping or taking a dust bath is probably ill.

Feet and toes:

The three front toes of chickens should point straight ahead, and the feet should not turn outward. The hock joints shouldn’t touch, and the toes shouldn’t point in toward each other. Chicken feet shouldn’t be webbed (webbing is skin connecting the toes), although occasionally webbed feet show up as a genetic defect. You shouldn’t see any swellings on the legs or toes. Check the bottom of the foot for swelling and raw, open areas.

Vent:

The feathers under the tail of the chicken around the vent, the common opening for feces, mating, and passing eggs, should not be matted with feces, and you shouldn’t see any sores or wounds around it.

Mental state:

The chicken should appear alert and avoid strangers if it is in a lighted area. Birds that are inactive and allow easy handling are probably ill. Chickens in the dark, however, are very passive, and this is normal.

Activity level:

Here again, differences exist between breeds, but a healthy chicken is rarely still during the daylight hours. Some breeds are more nervous and flighty; others are calm but busy. In very warm weather, all chickens are less active.

*information from chicken health for dummies (2nd edition - Kimberly Willis, Robert T. Ludlow)

*Please note these are general guidelines. Consult your vet for more detailed information and guidance.

Best Breeds for Beginners

Rhode Island Red
  • Excellent layers, producing more than 250 medium-sized eggs per year
  • Very friendly and docile
  • Easy to care for – can adapt to confinement or free ranging
  • Hardy breed
Leghorn
  • Lay 250-300 medium eggs per year
  • Not a great choice if you’re looking for a pet as they aren’t very friendly or tame
  • Lightweight, just around 4 lbs.
  • Tolerate the heat well
Cornish
  • Great meat bird – fast growing, large bird
  • Less active and easily contained
  • Should be kept separate from the rest of the flock
  • Cold-hardy breed

*Content taken from the book, Little Giant, a beginner’s guide to raising chickens.

Raising Backyard Chickens

Backyard chickens are becoming more popular than ever! And with more and more communities across the nation relaxing their regulations on owning poultry within city limits, the backyard chicken movement is really taking flight!

Whether you choose to raise your birds for eggs, meat or just their funny personalities as feathered companions, we’ve compiled some facts and tips on making the most out of your flock.

Why raise chickens?:

  • Nutritious and delicious eggs
  • They make great pets
  • Great for fertilizing your yard
  • Natural pest control
  • Great fertilizer

Fun facts about chickens:

  • Chickens have more than 30 types of vocalizations
  • Chickens have more bones in their neck than a giraffe
  • It takes 25 hours for an egg to be made inside a hen
  • There are more chickens on Earth than humans
  • Chickens can recognize up to 100 individual faces
  • Chickens can run at speeds up to 9 mph
  • Chickens have full colour vision
  • The average hen lays up to 300 eggs per year
Leghorn - White

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Leghorn - White

Leghorn - Brown

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Leghorn - Brown

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Western Rustic

Rhode Island Red

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Rhode Island Red

Columbian Rock

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Columbia Rock

Dual Purpose Assortment

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Dual Purpose Assortment

Red Rock Cross

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Red Rock Cross

Red Sussex Cross

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Red Sussex Cross

Cornish Giants

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Cornish Giants

Barred Plymoth Rock

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Barred Rock

Orlopp Brown Turkey

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Orlopp Brown Turkey

White Turkey

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White Turkey

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Leghorn White

  • North America’s most popular
  • White Egg Layer-Hybrid
  • Produces large white eggs
  • Unsurpassed eggshell quality
  • The best feed conversion in the industry
  • Quiet temperament

Leghorn - Brown

  • Top Quality Brown Egg Layer-Hybrid
  • Capable of producing approximately 320 eggs per 52 weeks of production
  • Very calm & docile layers that produce large rich brown, strong shelled eggs
  • Hens are red and roosters are mostly white to buff in colour
  • Hens will reach 4 lbs live weight
  • Cockerels 5-1/2 lbs live weight
  • Roosters are a good alternative as a meat bird

Western Rustic

  • A hardy slower growing meat bird
  • Ideal for a backyard flock.
  • Quality meat bird
  • Beautiful mottled colouring and excellent strong legs
  • Hardy and resistant to disease
  • Slower Growth- 5.5lb live weight at 9 weeks.

Rhode Island Red

  • Extremely docile
  • Good dual purpose breed (Meat and Eggs)
  • Hens are hardy throughout the winter
  • Dark brown eggs
  • Well flavored non-fatty meat!

Columbia Rock

  • Heavier of the dual purpose breed
  • Hardy breeds
  • Beautiful colour pattern
  • Strong producer of quality brown eggs
  • Quiet
  • Docile bird in the laying pen
  • Typically heavier than hybrids

Dual Purpose Assortment

Dual Purpose chicks that have not been sold breed specific will be combined for packages. These will be compiled of one or more of the 5 dual purpose breeds. DUAL PURPOSE PACKAGES MINIMUM 25. HATCHERY SELECTION FOR DISCOUNTED PRICE.

Red Rock Cross

  • Combination of Barred Rock hens with Rhode Island Red cockerels
  • Early maturity
  • High egg production and heavy body size
  • Can be aggressive with other breeds
  • Good Layers of light brown medium sized eggs

Red Sussex Cross

  • Heavy cross breed
  • Early maturity
  • Good egg production - produces lighter brown eggs of medium size
  • Very quiet

Cornish Giants

  • Meat bird - almost 1 lb of meat for 2 lbs of feed
  • Provide good, even, high-quality meat
  • Not recommended as a layer

Barred Rock

  • Dual purpose breed
  • Cold hardy breed and adaptable to many enviroments
  • Calm temperment

Orlopp Brown Turkey

  • A premium broad breasted turkey
  • Feed conversion is good reaching up to weights of 23 lbs for Hens and up to 40 lbs for toms at 20 weeks.

White Turkey

  • Exceptional size and has superb flavorful meat
  • Good value for your money
  • Hens at 20 weeks should weigh 20 lbs. and over. Toms at 24 weeks should weigh 40 lbs. and over.

Poultry

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