Ask the Knowledgeable

Stopping Boredom

Are you able to give newbies some concepts for protecting younger chicks/pullets from losing interest of their pen? The bottom is naked.

Susan Creamer


Hello Susan,

Thanks for asking! Boredom is a typical explanation for behavioral issues with chickens, and including the correct components to the coop and run can remedy this downside. Listed here are some nice tales that debate each the explanations for these wants and methods to alleviate boredom:

This one is from Tamsin Cooper, one among our foremost specialists in livestock welfare, that talks a couple of hen’s primary wants and find out how to present for them inside your coop:

This one discusses the necessity for enrichment and provides a couple of concepts:

Plus: a tutorial on find out how to construct a hen swing:

My go-to favourite hen toys are a string of purple beads, encouraging the chickens to peck the beads as a substitute of one another, and meals on strings resembling a cabbage suspended on a rope. Be certain any components you introduce can’t be eaten, resembling utilizing beads which might be too massive to suit inside hen mouths and durable strings that gained’t break and enter the hen’s crop.

Good luck in your new chicken-keeping journey!



Good morning,

Please inform me how lengthy I can retailer hen eggs for hatching and at which temperature and humidity I ought to retailer eggs. Give me full element thanks. God bless you and all your loved ones members.

Aqeel Ahmad


Hey Aqeel,

After a hen has laid an egg, retailer it pointy-side-down in a room that’s round 50-60 levels F (10-15 levels C) for as much as 10 days. With every day of age, the hatchability is compromised, particularly after that 10 days. Humidity earlier than hatching doesn’t matter as a lot, and most of the people can retailer them in a breathable cardboard field inside their homes if the home is the correct temperature. Here’s a story about setting the eggs for incubation as soon as they’re collected:


Chilly Lonely Hen

I want a heater for my hen. I solely have one. May I put a hen in together with her?



Hello Charlene,

In the event you solely have one hen, then including one other would offer a number of companionship advantages, together with serving to her keep heat. That will be one of the best ways to supply warmth, in my view, since combining physique warmth whereas combating loneliness is so wholesome for her in comparison with the fireplace hazards of supplemental warmth. There will likely be a couple of ruffled feathers as they work out which one is boss, then they need to get alongside simply advantageous.

Relying on the place you reside and your hen’s age, you might not want any extra warmth sources. In case your climate doesn’t get under 0 levels F and her coop isn’t drafty, she shouldn’t want any electrical warmth. Including straw to her coop can elevate the temperature fairly a bit and make the coop way more snug.

I hope this helps. Good luck!



Swollen Foot

One in every of our chickens has a swollen foot. We thought she broke it, however she’s actually sick now. I don’t suppose it’s bumblefoot as a result of we will’t discover any wound in her foot. It is perhaps a staph an infection or scaly mites. What are some signs of those two ailments, and what else might be inflicting her foot to be swollen? What can we do to assist her?



Right here is an incredible story that discusses totally different hen foot issues, all of which have totally different causes, signs, and coverings. It’s worrying that your hen is sick, so I’d suspect staph first. I like to recommend giving this story a very good learn to see which matches your hen’s signs then, if crucial, seek the advice of a veterinarian for any medicines which you can’t get over-the-counter.

I hope she recovers quickly!



I’m sorry to say that she died earlier than I acquired your e-mail. I don’t know what it was, however I did learn by the article. Her demise was fairly quick. From what it appeared like she had solely been sick for 3 days. So, if one other one among our chickens had been to get it, we must deal with it instantly. Thanks for the article.



Chickens Not Laying


I’ve 4 hens which have stopped laying because the smoke from the Oregon fires precipitated us to have very hazardous air high quality in September. I stay in Vancouver, Washington. The hens had been laying up till the air acquired dangerous and now haven’t laid since. I even put a faux wood egg within the nest field to assist remind them, however to no avail. Do you might have any concept find out how to get them again on monitor? It’s been over a month now. The hens are three years and 9 months previous, so I do know they decelerate, however didn¹t suppose they might fully cease. I admire any ideas. Thanks.



Hello Greg,

Apart from the smoke, I’m certain what your hens are doing is completely pure. Sadly for you and your egg provide, your girls hit a quartet of mitigating situations: The stress of the smoke, their older age, a discount in sunlight hours, and so they’re in all probability about to molt in the event that they haven’t already began. Simply one among these alone may cause a cessation in laying. Though including a lightweight to the coop, so that they obtain 14 hours of sunshine a day, will assist, it gained’t remove all these components. My advice could be so as to add extra protein to their food plan to assist them regrow new feathers sooner. You are able to do this safely by merely mixing their layer feed half-and-half with a grower or sport fowl feed, and even switching fully over to that higher-protein feed whereas providing oyster shell on the facet. However the exhausting fact is that you could be be visiting a grocery store till their our bodies determine that they’re over all 4 of those components, and that might not be till spring. Winter is a hen’s time to rejuvenate her well being whereas taking a relaxation from manufacturing.

Good luck,



Frozen Eggs

I’m new to chickens, and this morning I discovered an egg that one among my women laid in a single day, and it was frozen. What do you recommend I do?


Rebecca Thomas


Hello Rebecca,

I’m glad you requested! No one desires to throw away eggs, however frozen eggs do occur, so the USDA addressed this particularly within the Meals Security Portion of their website “Shell eggs shouldn’t be frozen. If an egg by chance freezes and the shell cracked throughout freezing, discard the egg. Maintain any uncracked eggs frozen till wanted; then thaw within the fridge. These could be hard-cooked efficiently, however different makes use of could also be restricted. That’s as a result of freezing causes the yolk to grow to be thick and syrupy, so it won’t move like an unfrozen yolk or mix very nicely with the egg white or different substances.”

Micro-cracks might have fashioned within the shell throughout freezing, and also you don’t see them, but when the egg then sat on a counter for a couple of days, micro organism could develop contained in the shell. By protecting the egg frozen then refrigerated till it’s time to cook dinner, micro organism don’t have a lot time to develop.

In the event you’re undecided in case your eggs have frozen, you possibly can “spin” the egg; place it in your counter and spin it to see the way it strikes. Frozen or hard-boiled eggs spin quick whereas recent, unfrozen eggs simply form of wobble. If the egg spins freely, hold it frozen because the USDA recommends, then you should definitely totally cook dinner it.

I hope this helps!



Turkey Debate

If a few you who additionally hunt would write me again, it might be very good. We’re in an argument right here over turkeys on this block: over 100 individuals on this block, and so they have it of their heads that turkeys can’t fly … I advised them perhaps the tame ones raised for meals.

However I took photos once I was 16-18 years previous of untamed turkeys flying up into the bushes, so I do know turkeys most definitely can fly at the least that far. I’d like to share some data with these guys.


Glenn Bailey, Pennsylvania


Hello Glenn,

Thanks to your letter! I can attest, from years of attempting to retrieve my turkeys from rooftops out of concern that predators would eat them through the evening, that turkeys can certainly fly. Broad-breasted turkeys, the sort offered en masse for Thanksgiving, can not fly as a result of they’ve a lot breast meat that they will’t raise themselves off the bottom and even breed naturally. Heritage turkeys and wild turkeys, nonetheless, can fly very nicely and generally roost in bushes.

I hope this helps remedy the argument! Your block-mates are midway appropriate: the commercially raised Thanksgiving varieties can not fly. And that is one motive I favor to lift heritage birds. They will bodily do what most birds had been born (hatched) to do.




Difficult Hen Scenario

I’ve a number of generations of hens and at present no roosters. Every group has its personal coop and yard. As their numbers dropped this summer time on account of quite a few predator assaults, I needed to maneuver them round, however the youngest wouldn’t keep within the new pen at evening however flew into bushes and on shed roofs. Their unique pen is simply too small for grown birds, however after a lot chasing, and so on., I returned them to their previous website. They’re two breeds, a set of Goldens and Easter Eggers. I needed to set up quite a few perches to maintain them from flying into the facet of the pen. All relocation has been at evening. Additionally, the older hens by no means accepted them even after two weeks. Everybody was sad. I plan to maneuver the Goldens to a separate pen with a roof. Any concepts on find out how to combine generations?

I even have a younger hen that was the sufferer of a raccoon assault; below her wing, the pores and skin was pulled again to the bone. After in the future, she didn’t enable a bandage. It isn’t oozing, but it surely smells.  Now I wash it every day with Wound Wash and spray with Dermoplast. She doesn’t put the foot down on that facet.


My favourite means of integrating youthful birds with an older flock is to place them in pens the place they will see one another however can not damage one another, often with wire in between. This might imply placing the youthful ones in a big wire canine crate, then setting that contained in the coop. Or you could possibly stretch wire throughout half of the coop to separate them for a couple of weeks. While you take away the wire, they already know one another, so the scuffles are a lot much less. (There should still be a couple of scuffles, although. Such is the character of chickens.)

Concerning your hen’s an infection: dangerous odor is a nasty signal. You’re caring for the surface very nicely, but it surely’s in all probability value your time to name a veterinarian and inquire about one of the best ways to manage inner antibiotics, whether or not it’s the injectable treatment offered at feed shops or feed-based antibiotics which you can solely get from a veterinarian.

Good luck together with your chickens!



Hen Feed

Is there any means it might damage my women if I feed them two totally different layer crumble feed manufacturers? I imply concurrently, in fact. It looks as if they might simply select and eat the one they like greatest. Right?

Lynn Yamas


Hello Lynn,

No, there could be no hurt in that, so long as they’re each nutritionally sound manufacturers. It might then be a matter of choice.

I hope this helps!



White Eggs

Some eggs from my Easter eggers have turned nearly white, and a few of my brown eggs, the darker coloration washes off. I present them with high quality feed and oyster shell with floor eggshells.

I additionally give them a head of cabbage daily for greens. When out there, pumpkins or squash. My flock is made up of many alternative hens. Have a light winter and keep nicely.

Carman Spadafora

P.S. I purchase my feed at Tractor Provide.


Hello Carman,

A number of components affect how a lot oocynin/biliverdin (blue/inexperienced eggs) and protoporphyrin (brown layer on the surface) go into shell manufacturing. Genetics can decide the bottom quantity for a hen, however colours could lighten on account of stress, mineral deficiencies, ailments that have an effect on the shell gland (resembling infectious bronchitis), and housing. It’s typically simply due to the hen’s age or that they’re close to the tip of a laying cycle and transitioning into molt and winter. So, your hens might be prepared for a relaxation. Primarily based on what you’re feeding them, I doubt it’s a mineral deficiency, but it surely doesn’t damage so as to add a poultry multivitamin to their feed and water. In case your coop isn’t too scorching, your chickens seem completely satisfied, and also you haven’t seen any indicators of illness or malaise prior to now six months, then I’d assume the pale colours are as a result of your hens could also be getting older or that it’s simply late fall.

I hope this helps!




I had a two-year-old Silver Laced Wyandotte go away yesterday. I saved her until at this time and reduce her open to see what I might discover, checking to see if she could also be egg sure. I did discover a flat piece of what seems to be an egg inside her, however once I reduce her vent open, she was filled with water like perhaps a fourth of a gallon. Do you have any concepts?



Hello Ernie,

I’m sorry to listen to about your hen!

It seems like she had ascites (additionally known as water stomach), a situation the place the fowl retains water on account of an infection like peritonitis, organ failure, or ingesting one thing poisonous. Mildew is poisonous and will additionally trigger organ failure, which might then trigger the ascites. Or your hen might have laid an egg internally, inflicting an an infection (peritonitis). It’s tough to inform what precipitated the ascites with out getting a necropsy.

In the event you can in any respect get a necropsy proper now, with Covid-19 occurring, I like to recommend it. That may give you a definitive reply. However many labs are closed due to the pandemic.

Here’s a story about one expertise with ascites. Although the story is a couple of duck, the identical points trigger ascites in chickens. It’s a members-only paid story, so you will have to log in together with your All-Entry membership to learn it:

Good luck, and I hope this helps!



Unusual Factor in Egg

Ask the Knowledgeable – February/March 2021 4 My Chicken Coops

My aunt lately discovered one thing odd in an egg from one among her hens, and I used to be questioning if you happen to may need any concept what it is perhaps? I’ll connect the image under.

She has no roosters, however one thing appears to have been rising within the egg. We’d like to know what it’s when you’ve got any concepts as to what it is perhaps.

Chloe Sofa


Hello Chloe,

We’re amassing fairly a group of “bizarre issues present in eggs” pictures. Yours isn’t as odd as some that we’ve obtained! On the danger of grossing you out with biology, right here goes: Meat spots are when a bit of tissue is picked up by the egg touring down the oviduct, earlier than shell formation. That tissue might have been a small tumor or an infection that the hen’s physique remoted and shed because it healed, or the epithelial lining of the oviduct from a healed an infection. (I warned you this is perhaps gross.) Meat spots, blood spots, and shed tissues occur in industrial eggs as nicely, however the candling course of identifies them so that they by no means attain the client. Is it fit for human consumption? So long as there isn’t any odor or odd coloring, sure it’s. However whether or not you truly need to eat it’s as much as you.

I hope this helps!



Brown Egg Layers

I’m a brown Bovans Goldline farmer. I’ll prefer to know the way I can produce my very own breed of fine brown layers.

Elikem Keteku


Hello Elikem,

Bovans Goldine are an important laying breed, as you already know. They’re not widespread in the US however different hybrids of the Rhode Island Pink are — resembling ISA Browns.

This nice story talks about find out how to breed chickens, together with deciding on for the very best traits and making certain the breeding pairs aren’t associated:

And if you wish to create your individual breed of sex-linked hybrids, this story is efficacious for figuring out which hens to breed to which roosters:

Good luck!



Cleansing Hen Feces

Please are you able to talk about extra on the very best methods to scrub hen feces and find out how to save the chickens from the stench of odor that oozes from the ground.

Trying ahead to listening to from you on this.

Form regards.



Hello Irene,

I’m glad you requested. An extreme coop odor signifies the presence of ammonia, or micro organism, or each. This nice article, from Yard Poultry contributor Jeremy Chartier, focuses on hen coop odor by addressing the issues that trigger it: feces, moisture, bugs, and bedding. Including a mitigating product under the bedding, resembling zeolite (Candy PDZ), lime (you should definitely select a mild sort that gained’t burn toes), and diatomaceous earth (under the bedding so it doesn’t hurt chickens’ lungs or yours) additionally helps hold the ammonia down.

Initially printed within the February/March 2021 concern of Yard Poultry and repeatedly vetted for accuracy.