7 Natural Chicken Keeping Mistakes New Owners Make

7 Natural Chicken Keeping Mistakes New Owners Make

The second we got our farm, natural chicken keeping became a priority.

 

The egg itself is said to be the perfect source of protein, and chickens are so easy to keep that they make sense for any farm.

 

Natural chicken keeping also has the added benefit of saving you money, as long as you do it right (and there certainly are times when it’s best to not cut financial corners.)

We’ve saved by using fermented feed, herbs to keep our chickens healthy, and using food we could easily grow on our farm.

 

Buuuut….

 

We also made mistakes. 

 

At one point, we went 6 months with no eggs. That’s a huge bummer, believe me!

 

We’ve also had chickens stop laying in nesting boxes—and had to figure our way out of that one! (hint: placing eggs where you want them to lay helps!)

But we improved and got better.

 

Trust me, as a chicken owner, you will make mistakes (which you’ll learn from and get better from!)

 

As I’ve gained more experience in natural chicken keeping, and become a resource for new hen owners, there are certain mistakes I see time and again.

 

Here’s the top 7 natural chicken keeping mistakes that you can avoid—and the chickens you have hunting and pecking in your backyard will thank you!

 

1. Worrying too much about the GMO/Non-GMO debate

 

I frequently get emails from new owners who want to know whether they should provide non-GMO feed, or who don’t know what to do because they can’t afford organic non-GMO layer mash.

 

The bottom line is the quality of your hen’s diet is the most important thing. If you can’t afford organic, non-GMO feed, then just opt for what you can afford.

 

While people will tell you that natural chicken keeping begins with feeding non-GMO, organic feed, it’s also about using naturally-found herbs, fermented grain and vegetables, or even crafting your own feed to raise healthy hens.

 

It’s more important that you enjoy your “pets with benefits” and feel good about them—and if you’re stressing about not being able to afford organic feed, or if you’re putting yourself in financial distress over it, then keeping a backyard chicken flock won’t be any fun. 

 

Do your best, and enjoy the parts of natural chicken keeping that are within your budget and time constraints.

 

2. Getting a rooster so your hens lay eggs

 

Every so often I encounter new owners who believe they need a rooster to get eggs from their hens, and that roosters are a part of natural chicken keeping.

 

One of the nice things about owning hens is they’ll lay eggs whether a rooster is present or not—you only need a rooster if you want eggs to hatch. 

 

(If you’re wondering how chickens mate, it’s pretty wild.)

 

Getting a rooster isn’t a bad idea, and it helps your hens feel safer and completes their social hierarchy, but you definitely don’t need a rooster to start all natural chicken keeping.

 

Which is good news if your town doesn’t allow them!

 

3. Underestimating chicken predators

 

Every time I hear about a new owner who loses their flock to a formidable predator, I feel terrible for them. 

 

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than working hard to raise a natural, healthy chicken flock only to have it ripped apart in one night by a raccoon. 

 

I’ve found that a lot of new chicken owners don’t realize just how crafty predators can be, and how much energy they’ll exert to get a free dinner.

 

Part of natural chicken keeping is making sure your flock stays safe. 
Sometimes new owners think chickens will be fine left to their own devices, but hens are pretty much defenseless against chicken predators

 

Usually, they either run away or fly up away from predators. Other than that, they don’t have many natural defenses.

 

You might not realize that predators aren’t just wild animals—domestic cats and dogs can cast an eye at your flock.

 

We made the same mistake, until we started losing them to our dog! I’ll never forget the day we learned that our dog, who was so great with people, was a chicken killer.

 

So, even if you don’t have wild predators, remember that a secure coop and run will help prevent your flock from becoming a chicken chew toy.

 

4. Assuming chickens will fend for themselves and stay healthy

 

Probably one of the biggest mistakes I see is when new owners assume that natural chicken keeping means letting the hens forage for their own sustenance.  

 

Natural chicken keeping doesn’t mean allowing your hens to fend for themselves, and if you go this route, you run the risk of unhealthy hens, no eggs.

 

You won’t believe how many emails I get from owners who aren’t getting eggs and have no idea that diet is the issue.

 

You might also lose chickens to predators as they stray further and further from their home.

 

Sometimes I read advice that it’s natural to allow a chicken flock to feed itself because our ancestors did it, but it’s simply not true.

 

For example, what happened in the winter with snow on the ground and nothing growing? Were the hens foraging then?

 

Natural chicken keeping doesn’t necessarily mean throwing chickens in your backyard and forgetting about them until you want eggs, but it’s a common mistake I see new owners making.

5. Thinking oyster shells and grit are the same thing

 

When I read Facebook posts from people trying to explain natural chicken keeping, they frequently say something like “give your hens oyster shells or grit to help them digest.”

 

While you should offer both to your chicken flock, oyster shells and grit serve two different purposes.

 

Oyster shells are used as a calcium supplement so your hens can form healthy, hard egg shells. 

 

Without some sort of calcium supplement, your hen might become deficient in the mineral.

 

She then might start to lay soft shell or other abnormal eggs, or she might start drawing calcium from her own bones to lay natural normal-looking eggs.

 

Grit, on the other hand, helps your hen digest food, and without it, she might develop an impacted crop or even sour crop.

 

Your hen will swallow the grit, and it will make it’s way into her gizzard, where the stones will sit and help “chew” whatever food she’s eaten.

 

So, each serves a very different purpose, and shouldn’t be confused (but both are equally important for your chicken.)

 

6. Using vinegar to clean wounds

 

While vinegar works well in natural cleaning solutions, it’s not a good idea to use it in wounds. 

 

I do see this advice from time to time, and it’s a common issue in my area.

 

Even my vet asked me whether I use vinegar to clean wounds when I brought a rabbit to see her, and was relieved to hear that I don’t use it.

 

Vinegar doesn’t have the same bacteria-killing qualities as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, for example, and it simply won’t be as effective in preventing an infection.

 

You’ll be doing your chicken a disservice by using it.

Failing to learn about common illnesses and how to treat them

 

Although many of my readers DO try to learn about common chicken illnesses before getting a flock (and a hearty high-five to them!), many owners out there DON’T—and then use Facebook groups as a way to diagnose their chickens.

 

Similarly, about once a week I get a message over Facebook from an owner who asks me to diagnose their sick chicken—something that’s virtually impossible to do over social media.

 

While I feel for every flock owner out there with a sick hen, and it’s natural to want answers, don’t wait until you’re in trouble to learn about chicken illnesses.

 

There’s many natural remedies out there for common illnesses, but the time to learn about them is not when you have a sick chicken.

 

Learn about common ailments and how to treat them (natural remedies or conventional) before or as soon as you get your flock—life will get a lot simpler, and you’ll be better prepared to help your hen when she’s in trouble.

 

While as a new flock owner, you will likely make mistakes, natural chicken keeping is full of rewards—just give it your best shot!

I’d like to hear from you!

Is there anything on this list of natural chicken keeping mistakes you would add? Leave a comment below!

Best Hatcheries to Buy Lavender Orpington Chickens

Best Hatcheries to Buy Lavender Orpington Chickens

Lavender Orpington Chickens are a beautiful chicken whose charcoal or light grey feathering is distinguished and mesmerizing. In the right light, these fluffy birds can even appear every bit as purple as their name implies. They are a relatively new variety of chicken, which is excellent news for individuals or families wanting something new and hip! Indeed, if chickens were fashion icons – and who is to say that they are not? – they would carry the same weight as Vuitton, Versace, and Karan. Such are the designer stylings of these cute, floofy fowl. 

Of course, being a designer breed could come with problems. Does this title come from their overall rarity? Or is it just symptomatic of how they were created? This article will delve into some of the best places to get these amazing birds and we’ll look at just how rare a designer breed they are. We will also consider whether or not they cost more for their status. 

Now that we’ve given a rough breakdown on why you might want to add these birds to your home coops, it’s time to consider where you can get these wonderful birds!

1. Meyer Hatchery ((hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.meyerhatchery.com/productinfo.a5w?prodID=LAOS)

Average Straight-Run Lavender Orpington Chicken Price: $19.83

Meyer Hatchery is based in Polk, Ohio, and boasts itself as the “premier Poultry Source.” Priding itself on customer service and availability, Meyer Hatchery provides a variety of chicken breeds to meet customer demands for color and diversity. They welcome mixing and matching of breeds of the same poultry type to meet minimum order requirement for safe shipping. To help with orders, they have a calendar of hatchings. 

Meyer has a variety of means of communication, including multiple phone numbers, fax, and email. They also run a blog that covers everything from breeds to plant pairing with chickens, feed, cooking recipes, fowl entertainment, and survival tips. They have an abundance of breeds available for sale, including the much-coveted Lavender Orpingtons.

Advantages

  • Website is up-to-date in real time. 
  • Accepts checks and credit cards
  • Guarantees gender of chicks either through refund or store credit.
  • Optional vaccination.
  • Member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), and provide NPIP VS Form 9-3 free of charge. 
  • Offer orders of over 100 chicks. 

Disadvantages

  • Limited store hours that change with the season. 

2. Cackle Hatchery (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.cacklehatchery.com/lavender-orpington-chicken.html)

Lavender Orpington Female Chicks Price: $12.95

Cackle Hatchery proudly boasts that they have been hatching and shipping since 1936. A third-generation hatchery based in Missouri, their mission is to provide customers with quality poultry for showing, meat, enjoyment, and eggs. They ship throughout the USA, including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. They offer nearly 200 different types of chickens at all stages. 

Cackle also offers many other kinds of poultry including ducks, water fowl, game birds, turkeys, and other fowl. They are also a good source for supplies and book. Lavender Orpingtons are available only as baby chicks, and they are a very seasonal bird, available only early March through July

Advantages 

  • Discounts if you buy male chicks
  • Vaccinations available
  • Only need 3 birds to ship (or just one for male birds)

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability (February through September)
  • Sold as baby chicks only.

3. Hoover’s Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://hoovershatchery.com/BlackLavender Orpington.html)

Unsexed Lavender Orpington Chick Price: $7.45

Hoover’s Hatchery is a massive poultry production hatchery located in Rudd, IA. Hoover’s supplies many farm and garden supply stores in the United States with their chicks, making them a smart choice if you want to skip the middleman and order from the hatchery directly.

Plus, Hoover’s offers free shipping on practically everything you order. You’ll have to buy at least 15 chicks; so Hoover’s might not be the best option if you live in a city with chicken restrictions. However, as long as you’re willing to buy in bulk, it’s a smart choice. You can even mix and match your order by adding other birds of other chicken breeds along with poultry species like pheasants, turkeys, guineas, ducks, and more. 

Lavender Orpington chicks are out of stock until mid-September 2020. 

Advantages:

  • Excellent guarantee and refund policy in case of shipping problems
  • Hatches chicks during the winter, one of the few hatcheries to do so
  • Discounts on increased orders up to 25+.

Disadvantages:

  • Large minimum order (15 to 20 depending on size)

4. My Pet Chicken: (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Baby-Chicks/Lavender-Orpington-p1471.aspx)

Average Straight-Run Lavender Orpington Chicken Price: $19.85

 My Pet Chicken got started in 2005 by Traci Torres and her husband, Derek Sasaki, two novices to the chicken world who had a dream to help other novices in their farmers’ goals. To do this, the put free how-to information on the web and offered some unique products and services. 

The website launched in 2005 and in 2006, their flock had grown to the point to where they started offering chicks for sale from their headquarters in Monroe, CT. The site has been mentioned in another of publications, and serves tens of millions of page views per year. Lavender Orpingtons have limited availability and the website should be consulted for the next available batch. 

Advantages 

  • Offers Marek’s vaccinations on all standard chicks at the click of a button.
  • Consistent hours of operation. 
  • A good source for questions about ordering chickens, chicken care, and about raising chickens.
  • Full refund for any bird that has been incorrectly sexed. 

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability.
  • Does not have a storefront
  • Offers only Day-Old Lavender Orpington Chicks

5. Purely Poultry: (hyperlink name to https://www.purelypoultry.com/black-Lavender Orpington-chickens-p-356.html)

Not Sexed Day-Old Lavender Orpington Chicken Price: $22.99

As a family-owned business, Purely Poultry has some of the best customer service around. They pride themselves on their knowledge of their products, selection, and how-to details related to everything they offer, including ducks, chickens, geese, and lots of other birds! 

Located in Durand, WI, they guarantee live birds with every order, which is a good promise, indeed! Lavender Orpingtons are in high demand, thanks in part to their fluffiness.

Advantages:

  • Each order backed by live arrival guarantee
  • Small order minimum on chicks 
  • Other kinds of poultry offered, too

Disadvantages:

  • Not a huge advantage to buying multiple chicks – discounts are minimal
  • Expensive, especially for females. $4.50 extra on top of the Not Sexed rate.

6. Northwoods Poultry (hyperlink name to https://northwoodspoultry.com/lavender-orpington.htm)

Average Straight Run Old lavender Orpington Chicks – $10.00 each

After leaving a life of Nine to Five, Charmaine and Jeff headed out into the countryside of Florence, WI to start a life of horses, chickens and trees. In the nine years since, they have built up a happy home supported by their chicken habit. They have made a point to select among some of the rarest and unusual chicken breeds to accommodate the demands of all manner of chicken enthusiast.

Northwoods selected their Lavender Orpingtons from the Kink-JC blood line. 

Advantages

  • Very affordable
  • All chicks are sold as a straight run
  • 48 hour live chick guarantee
  • Offers Marek’s Vaccine to order
  • Mixing and matching is possible

Disadvantages

  • Expensive shipping
  • Requires orders of 15 or more. 

7. Chickens for Backyards: (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.chickensforbackyards.com/product/lavender-orpington/)

Average Straight-Run Lavender Orpington Chicken Price: $7.15

Chickens for Backyards is an online poultry store that ships orders from Phillipsburg, MO. It sells over 100 breeds of day-old chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guineas with orders as low as three fowl. They have a mix and match option for all breeds, which can be shipped all in the same order. 

Shipping schedules run from February through October. On their website, they offer a comprehensive FAQ page and Chick Care information. On the Lavender Orpington product page, there is a breakdown of the bird and information on the live chick guarantee. 

Advantages 

  • Orders can be cancelled up to 24 hours before shipping. 
  • Free shipping on supplies.
  • Comprehensive FAQ that covers a range of questions from care, feed, shipping, sexing, local laws relating to chicken farming, and terms.

Disadvantages 

  • Offer a 90% sexing guarantee, and will refund 90% of the purchase price once the 90% guarantee is surpassed. 
  • Limited availability

8. The Chick Hatchery.com (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://thechickhatchery.com/home/lavender-orpington/)

Average Straight Run Lavender Orpington Chicken Price – $7.50

The Chick hatchery is Michigan’s “premier source for superior quality poultry.” With a creed that revolves around the sharing and joy of raising chickens, they operate in no-kill facilities. They raise their chickens humanely, with any unsold chicks going to Amish farms. Much of the experience of raising chickens is the awareness of the individual chicken and the relationship between food and our own health.

Their Lavender Orpington Chickens are available from February through August. 

Advantages

  • Ships a minimum of 3 of each sex
  • All poultry guaranteed live delivery
  • Offers discounts on orders of larger quantities of birds* 

Disadvantages

  • Ships a maximum of 15 total chicks (the above discounts do not apply to Lavender Orpingtons, due to their product limitations)
  • Does not ship to Hawaii or outside the USA

9. Murray McMurray Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/lavender-orpingtons.html)

Average Unsexed Lavender Orpington Chicken Price: $6.08

Murray McMurray started his chicken business in 1917. As a banker, he sold his chicks to locals through the bank and by 1919, he had developed his own stock of chickens. During the Great Depression, he devoted himself to chickens full time. Since then, Murray McMurray Hatchery has developed into one of the largest chick hatcheries in the country. They sell more than just chickens, with ducks, geese, guineas, turkeys, other fowl and game birds all in the catalogue.

They take great pride in the Lavender Orpingtons that they produce, and are big fans of them.

Advantages:

  • Very affordable
  • Bulk discounts available
  • Excellent breed availability with clear Availability chart
  • Mixing and matching chick breeds is possible

Disadvantages:

  • Minimum order of six birds at a time

10. Papa’s Poultry (Hyperlink name of hatchery to https://papaspoultry.com/collections/orpingtons/products/orpington-lavender)

Average Lavender Orpington Chicken Price – $20.00

Papa’s Poultry is a family owned business located in Redding, CA. They got started in finding, gathering, and sustaining rare and heritage breed poultry in 2010. Despite some setbacks and family member that would “tolerate” the business, it has become a flourishing business that loves catering to other chicken lovers. 

Papa’s has taken a liking to Orpington chickens, and runs a range of them, including Lavender Chicks. These pretty chicks are available for pre-order and ship within weeks or months. Curious customers can contact them for shipping inquiries.

Advantages

  • 24-48 hour response time. 
  • Ships to California.
  • Minimum orders of 6 chicks, shipped Monday-Wednesday.
  • Guarantees provided for live as well as “weak upon delivery.” 

Disadvantages

  • Relatively expensive. 
  • Minimum orders of 6 chicks. 

While Lavender Orpingtons are a designer breed, they are quite available for purchase in a number of locations throughout the USA. They are a generally affordable chicken, but some hatcheries are exceptions to the rule.

How To Tell If Eggs Are Good (5 Best Ways)

How To Tell If Eggs Are Good (5 Best Ways)

Wondering how to tell if eggs are good? We’ve all been there. 

 

You open the refrigerator, excited to cook a delicious omelet or a healthy scramble. You open the egg carton, only to notice that the expiration date stamped on the cardboard has long since passed.

 

What’s an egg-lover to do? Don’t rush to toss the carton in the trash.

 

A stinking, rotten smell of sulfur is a telltale sign that your eggs are no longer edible, but it’s not the only technique that you can follow. Expiration dates are good estimations of how long you can let eggs sit in your refrigerator – but as mere approximations, they aren’t always reliable on their own.

 

Here are some of the best methods of how to tell if eggs are good – with or without an expiration date.

 

How long do eggs stay fresh?

Good info about how long eggs stay fresh!

Posted by I Love Backyard Chickens on Thursday, November 22, 2018

 

When Do Eggs Usually Go Bad?

Believe it or not, not all eggs go bad at exactly the same time – and you can’t always trust the posted dates. 

 

Remember that the estimated freshness and longevity of eggs is determined by the American Egg Board, an association whose job it is to increase national demand for products on behalf of U.S. egg producers – it wants you to buy more eggs, so the dates are going to be more conservative. 

 

Nevertheless, these dates are good first lines of defense against food borne illness. Eggs can usually last in the refrigerator for about 30 days after packing. When you look at your egg carton, you may see a variety of dates, including a sell-by, expiration, or pack-by date. Usually, you’re safe to eat eggs within 21-30 days of any of these dates. 

 

The quality of the egg will usually start to decline after a certain date, but will still usually be safe to eat. Unfortunately, if you are eating your own farm-fresh eggs, determining freshness and safety without an expiration date can be a bit more tricky. 

 

Usually, raw whole eggs are safe to eat for about four or five weeks, while raw eggs that have been processed in any way (for example, separated egg whites and yolks or hard-boiled eggs) are only safe for about two to seven days. Once heat has been applied or the eggshell has been removed, there is a greater likelihood that bacteria is going to interfere with the freshness of the egg.

 

How To Tell if Eggs are Good Past the Expiration Date

Unless you’ve cooked the eggs or altered them in some way, don’t toss them just because the expiration date has passed. As with meat and produce, it’s pretty easy to tell whether your eggs have gone bad without needing to look at the expiration date. 

 

Remember, refrigeration preserves the quality of the egg quite dramatically, so as long as your eggs have been stored properly, you have a bit of extra insurance.

 

Here are some easy methods of how to tell if your eggs are good.

How to Tell How Old Your Eggs Really Are

This is GENIUS! Chicken eggs only stay good for so long….

Posted by I Love Backyard Chickens on Sunday, September 24, 2017

Step One: The Visual Inspection

If you’ve already sniffed your eggs and can’t tell whether they’ve gone bad or not, using your eyes is another great way to tell whether your eggs are safe to eat. 

 

Before cracking your egg, make sure the shell is not cracked. A crack can not only indicate the presence of bacteria, but a crack can cause an egg to spoil more quickly than it would if it were contained in an unbroken shell.

 

You should also look out for a slimy or powdery appearance on the egg. A powdery appearance can indicate mold, while sliminess can be a sign of bacterial growth. 

 

Step Two: Eggs in the Bowl 

It sounds like the name of a fun Easter scavenger hunt, but this method simply refers to the act of placing your egg in a bowl of water to determine whether it is still fresh or not. This is also called “the egg float test.”

 

 

Eggs are porous, and the liquid that is contained inside the egg evaporates over time, replacing the liquid with additional outside air. When the egg fills with air, it will float. Therefore, by placing an egg in a bowl filled with cold water, you can determine whether it is safe to eat. An egg that sinks to the bottom and lays flat on its side is still fresh, while on that floats to the surface is no longer fresh.

 

What if your egg stands on one end at the bottom of the bowl? It’s still probably safe to eat, but it won’t be as fresh. 

 

Step Three: Audio Test

The audio test of determining egg freshness works according to the same science as the one above – older eggs begin to fill with air. 

 

To conduct the audio test, simply hold an egg to your ear and shake it. You’ll need to have good hearing, but if you can hear a sloshing sound inside the egg, you need to toss it – it’s not safe to eat.

Step Four: Crack ‘n Sniff

Here’s where we get more advanced. Perhaps you’ve tried the steps above and aren’t convinced that your egg is fresh – but you also don’t know for sure that it’s spoiled. Here’s what you need to do.

 

Crack the egg into a pan. Before you continue cooking, it’s important to make sure the egg isn’t loaded with nasty egg-borne bacteria. 

 

Take a close look at the egg. If it’s fresh, the yolk will be a bright yellow or orange and the whites should stay right in place. They may spread out a little bit, but they won’t be overly runny. Similarly, the yolks of older eggs may appear flattened or discolored. In particular, keep an eye out for any black, blue, pink, or green shades in the whites and yolk – this can be a sign of bacterial growth.

 

If either of these criteria is evident when you crack your eggs, discard them. If you still aren’t convinced, give the questionable egg in the pan a sniff. If it doesn’t have a smell, it’s probably safe to eat, but you might want to hard boil the rest of the eggs as they’ll taste fresher this way.

 

Step Five: Flashlight Test

If you have ever hatched your own baby chicks at home, you might already be familiar with the flashlight test, also known as “candling” an egg. You can easily use the candling or flashlight method as a way to tell if eggs are good in the kitchen, too. 

 

To do this, venture into a dark room with a flashlight. Any small flashlight or reading light will do. Place the flashlight so that the light is shining up into the large end of the egg. Tilt the egg and move it quickly from left to right. 

 

This will allow the contents of the egg to be illuminated. Look closely at what’s inside. You should be able to see the air cells in the egg. The fresher an egg is, the thinner and smaller the air pockets will be. 

 

How to Keep Eggs Fresher – For Longer

Do you feel as though your eggs begin to spoil as soon as you get them home from the grocery store? If so, you could be making a simple mistake in storing them. Although some refrigerators are equipped with egg compartments in the door, this is actually not the best place to store them – they will experience too many temperature fluctuations here. 

 

Instead, store your eggs in the main part of the refrigerator, where it’s colder and the temperature is more stable. If you are eating eggs from your own chickens, avoid washing them until you’re ready to use them. 

 

The outer layer of the egg contains bloom, a covering that helps prevent the buildup of bacteria and also works to preserve freshness. And don’t worry if you see a blood spot in the yolk. It’s perfectly safe to eat and is simply a sign of a fertilized egg.

 

You can also freeze your eggs if you have more than you know you will use in a given time frame. Frozen eggs will cook up just like fresh eggs, but the freezing process will help to keep your eggs fresher for longer. 

 

Why It’s Important to Know How to Tell if Eggs Are Good

You may eat eggs every day, or they may be an occasional treat in your household.

 

Whatever the case may be, it’s important for you to know how to tell if eggs are good or not. Not only can these strategies prevent you from unnecessarily throwing away safe, delicious eggs, but they can also help keep you safe from food borne illnesses.

 

Food borne diseases that are caused by bacteria, such as Salmonella, often produce eggs that look, smell, and appear completely normal. Therefore, it’s not only important to conduct these other tests but to make sure you completely and fully cook your egg to a safe temperature before you go ahead and eat it. 

 

And remember, even if you can’t eat your eggs because they’re past their prime, there are plenty of ways to avoid wasting them. Use the eggshells in your garden as a fertilizer or pest repellent, and in the meantime, maybe whip up some cereal for breakfast instead.

 

Best Places to Buy Wyandotte Chickens

Best Places to Buy Wyandotte Chickens

Whether you’d rather raise chickens for eggs, meat, or as pets, the Wyandotte chicken is an excellent choice. Not only does this illustrious bird lay up to 200 eggs each year, but it also produces a respectable carcass for the dinner table, weighing in, on average, at 7 lbs.

This bird is a real stunner to look at, too. There are multiple variants of the breed, including the silver-laced, gold-laced, and partridge Wyandotte. 

The result?

You’ll have plenty of colors to choose from when you raise Wyandottes. Luckily, you have plenty of hatcheries to choose from, too. Here are some of the best places to buy Wyandotte chickens.

1. Meyer Hatchery

Location: Polk, OH

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price: $3.24

There are actually two Meyer Hatcheries in the United States – while one is located in Pennsylvania (and spelled “Myers”), the other is located in Polk, OH. They both offer exceptional deals on baby chicks, but Meyer Hatchery in Ohio is one of the best places to buy Wyandotte chicks. 

Here, you’ll find all kinds of Wyandotte chicks for sale, including Black Laced, Silver Laced, Blue Laced, and Columbian Wyandottes. Straight-run chickens start at just $3.24 per bird, with discounts available for male chicks as well as for purchasing in bulk (buying 100+ chickens will save you roughly $0.80 per bird).

Meyer Hatchery has a minimum order of only three chicks and you can order at just about any time of the year. There’s on-site delivery as well as other products for sale, like books and coops. You can even buy fertile hatching eggs!

Advantages:

  • Small minimum chick order
  • Fertile hatching eggs also available
  • Discounts for buying large flocks

Disadvantages: 

  • Chicks don’t always meet breed standards for exhibition purposes 

2. Cackle Hatchery

Location: Lebanon, MO

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price: $3.90

Cackle Hatchery is not a small chick hatchery by any means. In fact, at Cackle, you’ll find well over 185 different kinds of chickens at all stages, including fertile hatching eggs, baby chicks, and pullets, too. The hatchery sells a variety of rare breeds, bantams, and other game species, too. 

You will have to buy at least 15 chicks, in most cases, but Cackle offers several kinds of Wyandotte birds for you to choose from, including Black-Laced Golden, Columbian, and Splash laced Red. 

Advantages:

  • Can reserve birds head of time
  • Vaccinations available
  • Discounts for male chicks 

Disadvantages: 

  • Birds only shipped seasonally

3. Murray McMurray Hatchery

Location: Webster City, IA

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price:

Shop for chicks with Murray McMurray, and you’re sure to find anything and everything you might be looking for. Located in Webster City, IA, this hatchery sells sexed, male, and female Wyandotte chicks. 

There are several colors available, including Blue Laced Red and Columbian. You can order just one or two chicks (with some restrictions) or you can buy as many as 100 or more. It’s important to note that female and straight run chickens sell out more quickly with this hatchery, but the beauty of ordering with Murray McMurray is that you can specify your order date well ahead of time. 

You will need to order a minimum of fifteen chickens (although some chicks, when purchased at Murray McMurray, can be bought in small batches of six birds). If you order before April 1st, you must order 25 chicks to help your birds stay warm. You can always mix and match your flock, too!

Advantages:

  • Mix and match options available for all breeds
  • Multiple kinds of Wyandotte chickens available
  • Discounts for bulk orders

Disadvantages: 

  • Must order 25 chicks when buying in the winter 

4. California Hatchery

Location: Walnut Creek, CA 

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price: $4.99

You’ll find all kinds of Wyandotte chicks when you shop with California Hatchery, including Gold-Laced, Silver-Laced, and White. These chicks are some of California Hatchery’s most popular. 

You can buy male, female, or straight run chickens when you shop with California Hatchery, with noticeable pricing differences between all three options. If you’re willing to pay a few extra dollars per bird, you can get a Marek’s vaccination, too – something that’s valuable for many people.

California Hatchery ships just about everywhere in the United States. You’ll get a safe arrival guarantee with your order, too, so you don’t have to worry about something going wrong with your chicks. 

Advantages:

  • All chicks backed by safe arrival guarantee
  • California Hatchery raises exhibition-quality stock 
  • Several types of Wyandottes available

Disadvantages: 

  • Costly per-chick price 

5. Chickens for Backyards

Location: Phillipsburg, MO

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price: $3.95

Chickens for Backyards, located in Phillipsburg, MO, offers some of the best chicks and the highest level of customer service, too. Here, you’ll find all kinds of chicks along with pullets and cockerels, too. 

The company is known for its superior communication. When you order, you’ll receive an estimated hatch date within just half an hour of submitting an order. The date is so accurate that your chicks will usually arrive within a day or two after that estimated hatch date. 

This is great because you can be guaranteed that your chicks will arrive safely and healthy. You don’t have to worry about them dying in transit, as they are shipped so close to their hatch date. 

Chickens for Backyards sells all kinds of Wyandotte chickens, including Black-Laced Red, Silver-Laced, Golden-Laced, Blue-Layed, and even Black Wyandotte bantams. 

Advantages:

  • Large variety of Wyandotte breeds
  • Superior customer service
  • High survival rate on baby chicks

Disadvantages: 

  • Shipping fees are not included

6. My Pet Chicken

Location: Monroe, CT

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price: $3.25

From fertile Chocolate Wyandotte hatching eggs to six-week-old Wyandotte pullets, you’ll find everything you could possibly want (and then some!) when you order from My Pet Chicken. This hatchery is known for its excellent customer service and high-quality chicks. 

Although My Pet Chicken sometimes offers only limited availability, the company does allow you to select your hatch date ahead of time. You can buy female, male, or straight run chickens, with discounts available for large orders. 

You can purchase as few as three chicks or as many as 100 or more. Vaccinations are available for chicks, if chosen, too. 

Advantages:

  • Discounts for large orders available
  • Can select your hatch date
  • Fertile hatching eggs available too

Disadvantages: 

  • Chicks aren’t always suitable for exhibition purposes

7. Hoover’s Hatchery

Location:  Rudd, IA

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price: $2.61

Hoover’s Hatchery is another top hatchery located in Rudd, IA. This company offers a variety of Wyandotte chicks, in addition to many other products. Hoover’s sells other kinds of poultry species, too, including bantams, geese, pheasants, guinea keets, and more. 

When you buy Wyandotte chicks from Hoover’s Hatchery, you can buy Wyandotte chicks by themselves or you can buy them with other kinds of poultry. You only need to order a minimum of five chicks per breed. This is ideal for people who want to start a small flock of Wyandottes and aren’t interested in hundreds of chickens running around!

Several types of Wyandotte chicks are available, including Silver Laced Wyandottes. Male, female, and straight run chickens are all options. You need to buy a minimum of five per breed as well as per sex. 

Advantages:

  • Good chick availability
  • Can select ship date
  • Minimum order of 5 per breed and sex

Disadvantages: 

  • Some orders require a minimum of 15 chicks to be ordered

8. Welp Hatchery

Location: Bancroft, IA

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price: $2.94

Located in Bancroft, IA, Welp Hatchery has been around for nearly a century. This company is one of the best, with shipping points in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and of course, Iowa, depending on the kind of poultry you order.

The benefit of this is that, in many cases, your chicks don’t have to travel quite as far to get to you. This can result in a flock that is healthier overall. 

When you buy chicks with Welp, you will need to order a minimum of 25 birds. Free shipping is standard on all orders, a huge advantage when you’re buying chicks online. 

You can buy various strains of Wyandotte chickens, like Blue Laced or Blue, or you can buy an assorted package (these tend to be cheaper). 

Advantages:

  • Assorted packages available
  • Free shipping
  • Multiple ship points in the United States 

Disadvantages: 

  • Limited availability 

9. Valley Farms Hatchery

Location: Spring Valley, AL

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price:$2.60

One of the few Southern hatcheries, Valley Farms is where you’ll find a wide variety of chicks at low prices. You only need to purchase three chicks at once. You can purchase as few as one, in fact – as long as you buy a male.

Each order is backed by a live arrival guarantee. You can also buy things like chicken raising supplies and hatching eggs, too. 

When it comes to Wyandotte chicks, Valley farms offers Gold Laced Wyandotte, Columbian Wyandotte, and Blue Laced Red Wyandotte. You can also purchase a general brown egg layer chick package, which frequently contains Wyandottes along with other chicks that will ultimately lay brown eggs. 

Advantages:

  • Low overall chick price
  • Each order backed by live arrival guarantee
  • Hatching eggs available 

Disadvantages: 

  • Poor availability at certain times of the year

10. North Star Poultry

Location: Hamilton, MT

Average Straight-Run Wyandotte Chick Price: $15

North Star Poultry is one of the few hatcheries you will find in the northern United States. Located in Hamilton, Montana, this hatchery sells a variety of chickens that are recognized by American Poultry Association judges as some of the best in the United States. 

In addition to Blue Laced and Red Wyandottes (all of which are show-quality), you will also be able to buy five exclusive varieties of laying chickens and Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats here, too. The hatchery is a member of a variety of professional organizations, including NPIP and APA, and is also registered as an Avian Influenza-Free Flock hatchery.

Advantages:

  • Registered, exhibition-quality chickens
  • Hatching eggs and laying pullets available
  • Chicks can be marked with leg band or toe web punch

Disadvantages: 

  • Pricy chicks
Best Hatcheries to Buy Australorp Chickens

Best Hatcheries to Buy Australorp Chickens

Congratulations! You’ve found the best one-stop shopping guide for Australorp chickens! 

Australorp Chickens (especially the black variant) are gaining popularity because they’re excellent layers. Originating in Australia, their parent stock is Orpingtons. The name “Australorp” is a mixture of “Australia” and “Orpington.” These birds are so popular because of their excellence in dual purpose lives: males make excellent broilers weighing in at up to 10 pounds. The hens are excellent layers, with an average production run of about 300 eggs per year.

Now that we’ve given a rough breakdown on why you might want to add these birds to your home coops, it’s time to consider where you can get these wonderful birds!

1.Cackle Hatchery (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.cacklehatchery.com/black-australorp.html)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $2.85

Cackle Hatchery proudly boasts that they have been hatching and shipping since 1936. A third-generation hatchery based in Missouri, their mission is to provide customers with quality poultry for showing, meat, enjoyment, and eggs. They ship throughout the USA, including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. They offer nearly 200 different types of chickens at all stages. 

Cackle also offers many other kinds of poultry including ducks, water fowl, game birds, turkeys, and other fowl. They are also a good source for supplies and book. 

Advantages 

  • Discounts if you buy male chicks
  • Vaccinations available
  • Only need 3 birds to ship (or just one for male birds)

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability (February through September)
  • Sold as baby chicks only.

2.  Meyer Hatchery ((hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.meyerhatchery.com/productinfo.a5w?prodID=BLAS)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $3.04

Meyer Hatchery is based in Polk, Ohio, and boasts itself as the “premier Poultry Source.” Priding itself on customer service and availability, Meyer Hatchery provides a variety of chicken breeds to meet customer demands for color and diversity. They welcome mixing and matching of breeds of the same poultry type to meet minimum order requirement for safe shipping. To help with orders, they have a calendar of hatchings. 

Meyer has a variety of means of communication, including multiple phone numbers, fax, and email. They also run a blog that covers everything from breeds to plant pairing with chickens, feed, cooking recipes, fowl entertainment, and survival tips.

Advantages

  • Website is up-to-date in real time. 
  • Accepts checks and credit cards
  • Guarantees gender of chicks either through refund or store credit.
  • Optional vaccination.
  • Member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), and provide NPIP VS Form 9-3 free of charge. 
  • Offer orders of over 100 chicks. 

Disadvantages

  • Limited store hours that change with the season. 

3. Chickens for Backyards: (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.chickensforbackyards.com/product/black-australorp/)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $3.95

Chickens for Backyards is an online poultry store that ships orders from Phillipsburg, MO. It sells over 100 breeds of day-old chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guineas with orders as low as three fowl. They have a mix and match option for all breeds, which can be shipped all in the same order. 

Shipping schedules run from February through October. On their website, they offer a comprehensive FAQ page and Chick Care information. On the Australorp product page, there is a breakdown of the bird and information on the live chick guarantee. 

Advantages 

  • Orders can be cancelled up to 24 hours before shipping. 
  • Free shipping on supplies.
  • Comprehensive FAQ that covers a range of questions from care, feed, shipping, sexing, local laws relating to chicken farming, and terms.

Disadvantages 

  • Offer a 90% sexing guarantee, and will refund 90% of the purchase price once the 90% guarantee is surpassed. 

4. My Pet Chicken: (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Baby-Chicks/Australorp-p234.aspx)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $3.05

 My Pet Chicken got started in 2005 by Traci Torres and her husband, Derek Sasaki, two novices to the chicken world who had a dream to help other novices in their farmers’ goals. To do this, the put free how-to information on the web and offered some unique products and services. 

The website launched in 2005 and in 2006, their flock had grown to the point to where they started offering chicks for sale from their headquarters in Monroe, CT. The site has been mentioned in another of publications, and serves tens of millions of page views per year.

Advantages 

  • Offers Marek’s vaccinations on all standard chicks at the click of a button.
  • Consistent hours of operation. 
  • A good source for questions about ordering chickens, chicken care, and about raising chickens.
  • Full refund for any bird that has been incorrectly sexed. 

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability.
  • Does not have a storefront

5. Murray McMurray Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/black_australorps.html)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $3.33

Murray McMurray started his chicken business in 1917. As a banker, he sold his chicks to locals through the bank and by 1919, he had developed his own stock of chickens. During the Great Depression, he devoted himself to chickens full time. Since then, Murray McMurray Hatchery has developed into one of the largest chick hatcheries in the country. They sell more than just chickens, with ducks, geese, guineas, turkeys, other fowl and game birds all in the catalogue.

Sexed male chicks tend to be the cheapest, meaning you can get some serious savings if you’re planning on raising these birds primarily for meat. You can also buy pullets or mix and match your order with chicks of other breeds, too. 

Advantages:

  • Males are extremely inexpensive
  • Bulk discounts available
  • Excellent breed availability 

Disadvantages:

  • Minimum order of six birds at a time

6. Purely Poultry: (hyperlink name to https://www.purelypoultry.com/black-australorp-chickens-p-356.html)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $3.62

As a family-owned business, Purely Poultry has some of the best customer service around. They pride themselves on their knowledge of their products, selection, and how-to details related to everything they offer, including ducks, chickens, geese, and lots of other birds! 

Located in Durand, WI, they guarantee live birds with every order, which is a good promise, indeed!

Advantages:

  • Each order backed by live arrival guarantee
  • Small order minimum on chicks 
  • Other kinds of poultry offered, too

Disadvantages:

  • Not a huge advantage to buying multiple chicks – discounts are minimal

7. Hoover’s Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://hoovershatchery.com/BlackAustralorp.html)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $3.36

Another established brand if you’re looking for chicks is Hoover’s Hatchery. Hoover’s supplies many farm and garden supply stores in the United States with their chicks, making them a smart choice if you want to skip the middleman and order from the hatchery directly.

Plus, Hoover’s offers free shipping on practically everything you order. You’ll have to buy at least 15 chicks; so Hoover’s might not be the best option if you live in a city with chicken restrictions. However, as long as you’re willing to buy in bulk, it’s a smart choice. You can even mix and match your order by adding other birds of other chicken breeds along with poultry species like pheasants, turkeys, guineas, ducks, and more. 

Another benefit of ordering from Hoover’s Hatchery? Despite the fact that this hatchery is located in Iowa, not necessarily a warm-weather state, it hatches chicks all throughout the year – a must-know feature if you plan on buying chicks around Christmastime. 

Advantages:

  • Excellent guarantee and refund policy in case of shipping problems
  • Hatches chicks during the winter, one of the few hatcheries to do so
  • Sells other kinds of poultry too

Disadvantages:

  • Large minimum order

8. Townline Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://townlinehatchery.com/product/black-australorp/)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $4.20

Townline Hatchery, out of Zeeland, MI, prides itself on its hands-on approach that its entire experienced staff observes. In fact, they have an entire series of how to raise birds! Their FAQ section is already quite comprehensive, and they encourage customers to contact them with any questions not already covered. They provide customers with 26 different breed of bird.

The only disadvantage to ordering from Townline is that you’ll have to buy in bulk. The hatchery has a minimum order of fifteen chicks, which can be a challenge if you live in a city that has restrictions on how many birds you can raise (most towns cap it at six hens). However, if you’re planning on shopping for a large flock anyway, Townline is the way to go – the hatchery offers a discount of several dollars per bird when you buy more than 100 chicks.

Advantages:

  • Superior customer service
  • Excellent reputation as one of the longest-standing hatcheries
  • Great for buying chicks in large quantities

Disadvantages:

  • Not many hatching dates available for fall, winter, or early spring shipping
  • Comparatively expensive

9. Valley Farms Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://www.valleyfarmshatchery.com/online-store/Black-Australorp-Chicks-p112829153)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $2.45

Valley Farms Hatchery is located in Alabama and is one of the few large commercial chick hatcheries located in the southern United States. If you live in the south, that’s one good reason to give Valley Farms a try – you won’t have to ship your new Australorp chickens long distances, which can cut down dramatically on shipping stress.

You can buy fertile hatching eggs along with Australorp chicks from this hatchery. You’ll find some of the lowest price, here, too, with a minimum order of just three chicks. If you buy males, interestingly, the order minimum is just one bird. Buying in bulk poses several advantages though, especially if you can buy more than 50 birds at once – you’ll get significant savings.

Advantages:

  • Each order is backed by a 100% live delivery guarantee, no matter where you live
  • One chick minimum order if you’re buying males
  • Optional Marek’s vaccination

Disadvantages:

  • Limited shipping dates

10. Stromberg’s Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://www.strombergschickens.com/product/black-australorp-chicks)

Average Straight-Run Australorp Chicken Price: $3.99

Stromberg’s is another well-known chick hatchery and also sells chicken raising supplies. You’ll find all kinds of gear at Stromberg’s, including coops, coop building supplies, wild birdhouses, feeders, waterers, and more.

You can find all kinds of chicken breeds when you shop with Stromberg’s, including New Hampshire Reds, Orpingtons, White Leghorns, and of course, black sex links! This company offers substantial discounts when you order large batches of birds – in fact, you’ll pay more than $2 less per bird when you order 100 or more chicks. There are similar (though smaller) discounts available for tinier batches, too. 

Plus, if you time your order right, you can even get free shipping, helping to save you even more money. Just expect to buy at least five chicks at once when you order.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

  • Shipping dates are not estimated at the time of payment
How to Stop a Dog from Attacking Other Pets

How to Stop a Dog from Attacking Other Pets

This is a very difficult topic to write about because there is not a one size fits all solution. Unfortunately, for some individual dogs, there may not be a win-win solution either. The key here is trying to identify warning signs early in order to take immediate action before the behavior becomes too much of a habit. 

Just like there will not be one solution that works for every dog or every situation, there is usually not just one miracle cure that will work to stop the behavior. A combination of training, medication, and avoidance will likely need to be implemented for best outcomes.

Work with your Veterinarian

If you notice your dog acting aggressively towards your other pets, the first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. You can discuss the situation with your vet and they can examine your dog to make sure there is not a medical reason for the aggressive tendencies.

There are, in fact, some medical conditions that can make dogs behave more aggressively. If a dog is in chronic low-grade pain, or if they anticipate pain, they can act more aggressive toward another pet. Although rare, it is possible for a dog to develop a brain tumor or even a tumor in their adrenal glands, causing them to become more aggressive and attack other pets.

Once medical conditions are ruled out, your vet can refer you to a positive reinforcement dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist. This is extremely important because you will need to work on changing your dog’s behavior. Working with a professional who has the knowledge and experience is crucial.

Work with a Dog Trainer or Veterinary Behaviorist

Once your vet refers you to a dog trainer or veterinary behaviorist, make the call. A veterinary behaviorist is a veterinarian who has extensive training and knowledge in animal behavior. They also have the added benefit of being able to prescribe behavior-modifying medication.

If there is not a veterinary behaviorist near you or if their services are too expensive, a dog trainer will still be needed. Make sure they only use positive reinforcement in their training and not punishment. Punishment techniques will only make your dog’s behavior worse.

It is best if the trainer can come to your home to see how your dog behaves in their own environment and with the other pets around. Then they can work with you, your dog, and the other pets to find a workable solution.

By evaluating your dog, they should help you identify triggers that set your dog off and cause them to attack other pets. Is it just one pet in particular? Is it one action a pet does? Is it always during a particular time, such as feedings? Are there multiple triggers involved?

There are many things the trainer will need to help you narrow down to determine the underlying trigger for the aggression. Once that is determined, you and your trainer can work on ways to redirect the behavior before your dog has a chance to attack.

Medications 

If your dog has high anxiety or the behavior of attacking other pets has become a habit, your dog will likely need to be started on prescription medications. The is because in order for your dog to learn how to respond to things in new ways, they need to be able to relax their brain. 

The medications that can help with this are anti-anxiety and anti-depressive human medications. The most common ones used are Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Clomipramine. Every dog is different. One medication may work wonders in one dog, while have no effect in another. It can sometimes be a game of trial and error.

These particular medications need to be given to your dog for at least 2-3 months for you to know if they are helping. They need to build up in your dog’s system over the course of 1 month before they start working. 

Your vet will also want to check bloodwork before starting one of these medications to make sure your dog’s organs are functioning properly.

Avoidance

If you know what the trigger is that causes your dog to attack other dogs, try to avoid it if at all possible. It is best to just not put your dog into that situation. This may also mean that you keep certain pets away from your dog. You just do not let them interact in any way. You may need to give them separate living spaces and separate feeding times.

It is understandable that not all situations are avoidable. This is where your training comes in handy. It is very important to be able to redirect your dog’s attention to focus on you if they are in a negative situation. 

Basic Obedience Training

Work on basic obedience and commands that make it impossible for your dog to do the negative behavior in the heat of the moment. For instance, train your dog to lie down and roll over with very specific words and hand motions that your dog can easily understand in any situation. If you notice them about to attack, do the command. They cannot attack when lying down, especially not when lying on their back. 

Have high value treats at your fingertips so you can reward your dog when they do redirect their attention and focus on you, doing the command. This will work to reinforce their good behavior. 

Safety

Never get in the middle of a dog fight. If your dog attacks another pet, do NOT put your hands or arms in between them as this only ensures that you will get bit. Your dog will not realize they are hurting you if they are in attack mode. 

Trying to distract your dog with a really loud sound or by pouring lukewarm water on them may work. But, never put yourself in the middle of it.