Feeding Vegetables to Backyard Chickens

Feeding Vegetables to Backyard Chickens

Best Vegetables for Healthy Chickens

Most backyard chicken farmers provide their chickens with pre-ordered chicken feed which is fast and easy, providing your chickens with the nutrition needed to grow and flourish. However, to keep your chickens in prime condition, maintain healthy egg production, and flourishing plumage, we recommend adding some vegetables to your chicken's diet. Once your chicks reach two months of age, they will develop an appetite for vegetables, and  will eat many common vegetables, although a few stand out as favorites which are preferred by most chicken breeds. The list below provides the best vegetables to maintain healthy backyard chickens:

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds have been shows to increase growth performance for young chickens as an ideal dietary supplement addition, helping them to reach full maturity and weight. This holiday season, consider pumpkin seed supplements for your chicken's diet, which will help to maintain weight and will serve to insulate, especially during the winter months in colder climates. 


Adding spinach greens to your backyard chicken's diet will boost their supply of Vitamin A and Vitamin C which are antioxidants essential for promoting healthy skin and immune system functions. Additionally, spinach will provide your chickens with essential folic acid, calcium, and iron. Many backyard chickens will eat spinach whole, although you can also chop up spinach to add to your chicken feed.


Cabbage provides antioxidants and selenium to your chickens to boost their immune system. Cabbage is an all-time favorite for most chicken breeds! In fact, studies show that selenium from cabbage is highly bioavailable and may improve chickens immune system. 


Broccoli is an excellent antioxidant for your chicken's diet, serving as an favorite vegetable for your chickens, which can be served whole or chopped. Additionally, broccoli extract may effect the antioxidant response element in broiler chickens, which may serve to reduce oxidative stress and improve the health of farm animals. 

Red Pepper

For backyard farmers looking for extraordinary egg yolk color, red pepper dietary supplement may help to improve egg yolk color quality. This is important for backyard chicken owners that produce eggs for personal consumption, as red pepper supplement for chicken diet may improve the egg yolk colorant quality of your eggs. 

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How to Raise Chickens- Frequently Asked Questions

How to Raise Chickens- Frequently Asked Questions

How to Raise Happy Chickens- Frequently Asked Questions

A chicken egg a day keeps the doctor away! Depending on your breed, your chickens will behave differently. More broody and guarding chicken breeds tend to be more stubborn and reluctant, such as the cochin, orpington, brahma and Sussex. While other breeds are more friendly and docile, such as the rhode island redeaster eggerblack australorp, and jersey giant. Depending on your desired egg quality and production, we recommend selecting a chicken breed that meets your interest. Here are a few helpful answers to some frequently asked questions to guide you through chicken breed selection.

Can I Have Chickens if I Have a Dog and Cat?

Yes! Although you will need to keep your chicks separate from family pets until they are adults, many proud backyard chicken owners also have dogs, cats, horses, llamas, cows, and more! Although we do recommend that you keep dogs on a leash when introducing them to your new backyard chickens, a slow process until they recognize each other will help to reduce social anxiety.

Can chickens ship safely?

Yes, day old chicks ordered through californiahatchery.com are shipped via USPS and are shipped with packaging to survive for several days to anywhere in the continental United States. Believe it or not, day old chicks thrive in warmer temperatures, so you don’t need to worry if the summertime temperatures are high, you’re chicks will be just fine during transit. Additionally, we include instructions for your local post office to call you when you’re chicks arrive, so you can pick them up immediately. We advise that you provide them with sugar water upon arrival, as this really helps them rejuvenate after their journey.

Is it hard to raise chickens?

Raising backyard chickens requires a small time commitment, to anything from feeding, watering, and cleaning, although the work is worth the effort. In the end, the health benefits from fresh backyard eggs goes way beyond the work. In the morning, you will need to let your chickens out of their coop, and provide them with fresh water and feed. At night, we recommend that you lock your chickens inside their coop to protect them from predators. We highly recommend cleaning your chick bedding from their coop once a week, and also that your rinse their feed and water dishes as well.

How much does it cost to have chickens?

Believe it or not, chickens are less expensive than most typical household pets. A 50 lbs. bag of chick layer developed feed costs $65 (including shipping) through californiahatchery.com, which provide enough feed for six chickens for one month. Chicken maintenance is fairly easy, as long as you provide your chickens with shelter, food, and water, you can enjoy fresh chicken eggs every morning. By far, the biggest investment will be your chicken coop, which is more affordable when you build on your own, or you can purchase a chicken coop for as low as $200. On rare occasions, you may need to provide veterinary care to your chickens (a listing of avian vets can be found on tillysnest.com). 

Do I need a rooster?

No, you do not need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs. Generally, you will only need a rooster if you want your eggs to hatch. However, if you’re looking for the morning ‘cock a doodle doooooo’ at sunrise, then you may want a rooster to have a traditional farm experience. Fortunately, we offer a guarantee when you select the sex of your breed, so you can be assured that 99% of chicks shipped are sexed accurately.

How Many Days do Backyard Chicken Eggs Stay Fresh?

We recommend that you collect your backyard hens eggs daily, although the eggs should be considered fresh even after several days. After you wash chicken eggs, we recommend that you refrigerate them immediately.

Happy Chickening!


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Starting a Duck Farm

Starting a Duck Farm

Six things to know before starting a duck farm- guidance and tips to keep in mind when keeping ducks on your farm to keep your ducks the happiest and healthiest they can be:

Ducks are Waterfowl

If you want your ducks to be the happiest and healthiest they can be, you will need to setup pools and provide an adequate source of water for your ducks. This means, you will need at least 5 gallons of water per adult duck per day. Ducks require water for drinking and bathing, and several ducks will require multiple duck baths in your backyard, or access to a natural water source such as a pond or a lake. Also, when the seasons change to the winter months you may need to purchase a water defroster to prevent their water source from freezing.

Ducklings Need Extra Attention

Ducklings need to be able to dunk their heads in water and clear their eyes, however, you will need to make sure your ducklings water supply is very shallow, otherwise your ducklings could submerge if they aren’t old enough to swim. Young ducklings will not have their adult feathers, so you should use caution when introducing them to their water supply until they are young juveniles, making sure their water supply is shallow.

Ducks are Hardy

Ducks are considered to be hardy because they generally tolerate a variety of climates, from very cold to fairly warm. Their behavior may change based on the weather, but in general, ducks can survive in colder temperatures because of their coat of feathers, and they will be fine in warmer weather as well, provided they have access to a cool source of water.

Ratio of Males to Females

Generally you want to limit the number of drakes (males) in your flock as they will compete for females. In general you should have five females for every male, this will keep your flock calm and generally easier to manage.

Ducks for Egg Production

If may take seven to eight months for your ducklings to grow large enough to start laying eggs, with the first eggs starting the lay at five months of age. However, once your ducks reach egg laying age, they will typically lay one egg per day, depending on the breed and variety. Ducks eggs are slightly larger than a chicken egg, have more yolk, and have been referred to as the “baker’s secret”! If your goal is to lay quality duck eggs, we highly recommend the khaki campbell duck breed. The average khaki campbell duck will lay about three hundred (300) eggs per year . Khaki campbells start laying eggs at seventeen weeks of age. The other popular egg laying duck breed most highly sought after is the golden 300 hybrid layer duck, which can lay up to three hundred fifty (350) eggs per year. 

Ducks Have Personalities

Ducks are very open to human connection when they are young, and if you raise them as ducklings they will form a bond with their owners. This is especially helpful for keeping them as backyard ducks, since they will not leave your property once you form a bond with them. However, not all ducks are the same, and each will have a unique personality! Ducks will also respond to verbal commands, and you can train them with word associations using food as a reward. Ducks tend to stick together in flocks, so you can often times train them to move together. While all duck breeds will form bonds with their owners, some duck breeds will bond faster than others, such as the runner duck breed and pekin duck breed, which are also known to be extremely friendly.

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Henhouse Tips- Keeping Backyard Chickens

Henhouse Tips- Keeping Backyard Chickens

As the popularity of backyard chickens continues to grow nationwide, many first time owners are making their own hen house/chicken coop on their own. This can be an exciting project that must be handled with detail and care, as there are so many different chicken coop plans available online, you might be asking yourself where to start, which chicken coop plans are the best to meet your needs, how expensive is building a chicken coop on your own, what additional supplies do you need for your henhouse, how big does your henhouse need to be for all of your backyard chickens, which henhouse features will work best for you? All of these questions depend on the number of chickens your own and the state that you live, as weather will be a factor in selecting the type and style of your backyard henhouse. 

Essential Henhouse Features

As you build your backyard henhouse, you will need to choose the type of henhouse flooring. While many chicken coop plans suggest using wire coop flooring for ventilation and ease of passing through chicken droppings, we strongly discourage chicken wire flooring for several reasons: 1) If a predator is able to break-in beneath the floor in your chickens, they can easily reach through the wiring on create a hole in the wiring and grab a chicken leg. Chicken wire flooring doesn't keep your chickens safe from predators 2) If you have a heavy chicken breed in your coop, chicken wire flooring is hard on your chicken's feet. 3) If a younger chicken or baby chick enters your coop, they might slip a foot through the chicken wire if the holes are too large. We recommend using wooden pine shavings or straw on a wooden floor to ensure your chickens will maintain healthy feet and stay safe from predators. Also, cleaning on the pine shavings is relatively easy, and worth your time to ensure that your chickens are safe with healthy feet. Additionally, make sure your henhouse is designed to provide plenty of ventilation and shaded areas.

Roosting Bar

Some other essential henhouse features include nest boxes, a roosting bar, and chicken waterer, all of which can be uniquely placed inside your coop. What is a roosting bar? Chickens naturally seek to find higher elevation at night to stay safe from predators when they sleep. A roosting bar allows your chickens to perch higher off the ground, providing your chickens with a feeling of safety. When selecting your roosting bar, make sure the width is at least three (3) inches wide, ideally four (4) inches wide. Ideally, your roosting bar should provide a minimum of ten inches per adult chicken and should be placed about two feet above the coop flooring, at least one and a half ft (18 inches) from the coop wall and coop ceiling. Additionally, you can offer several roosting bars to allow your chickens to spread out during hot summer months, but also be able to huddle together for warmth during the wintertime. Chickens have a natural pecking order, so having several roosting bars with different height levels will accommodate their natural behaviors, taking care to set up some stairs for your chickens to reach rooster bars at higher elevations. 

Nest Box

What about egg laying chickens and how should you plan to collect their eggs? A chicken nest box is designed to provide your egg laying chickens with a secure and private area to lay their eggs. Most nest boxes will also allow your to gather their eggs in the morning. Chickens will start to lay eggs at five (5) months of age, so it is essential that you have a nesting box to gather their eggs, and it is equally essential that your train your chickens to lay their eggs for collection in the nesting box, otherwise you may end up with random eggs throughout your coop and yard. Generally, this is accomplished by laying decoy eggs at the entrance to your nest box, which will give your chickens an idea of where to lay their eggs. Additionally, make sure your nest box is always clean as your chickens may choose to lay elsewhere should your nest box appear unusable. Once your chickens become familiar with laying in your nest box it will be second nature. 

Feeder and Waterer

Depending on the number and age of your chickens, you will need to select or build a chicken feeder. We highly recommend using a gravity based feeder to ensure that your chickens will always have access to feed, and this will also make your feeding process cleaner and easy to maintain. For young chicks, the baby chick bulk feeder is an excellent option as this feeder is gravity based and designed to prevent your chicks for stepping into the feeder. For young chickens, we recommend building a high capacity poultry feeder that holds at least 25 lbs of feed. Building or purchasing a chicken feeder that can handle large quantities of feed is optimal when your have more than 3 chickens. In order to prevent predators or other animals from using your chicken feeder, make sure you place the feeder in an enclosed location that only your chickens can access. Additionally, it is essential that your provide an optimal sized waterer for your chickens, keeping in mind that you may want to purchase a heated poultry waterer for cold months to prevent freezing. For day old chicks, use of a bucket waterer is not a good choice for chicks. Instead, we recommend a smaller base waterer (baby chick waterer) to ensure your chicks have easy access and cannot accidentally fall into their waterer. 

Common Chicken Coop Questions

How big should my chicken coop be?
Depending on your property size, we recommend allowing three (3) square feet per chicken for free range chickens. However, if your chickens will spend a majority of their time inside your coop we recommend at least eight (8) square feet per chicken. It is generally better to plan for more space as you may choose to add chickens to your flock in the future. Additionally, chickens will demonstrate aggressive behavior when there isn't enough space, so providing them with more than enough space will help to keep them friendly with one another. 

Should my chicken coop be insulated?
Depending on the weather in your state, your may want to insulate your chicken coop walls, flooring, and ceiling. Generally, if you live in a climate with colder winters and humid summers, it is recommended to insulate your chicken coop walls, flooring, and ceiling which will keep your chickens warmer during the cold winter months, and cooler during the hot humid months. However, if you live in a warm non-humid climate this additional step may not be necessary. In order to avoid problems associated with commercial insulation such as styrofoam, which is not safe for chickens, we recommend using non-commercial insulation for your chicken coop walls such as blankets, hay/straw, or sawdust. 

How often should I clean my chicken coop?
This depends on the number of chickens living in your coop and the type of cleaning. Generally, if you have five or more chickens you may need to clean their shavings once a month and change their bedding two (2) times per year, however, this will depend on your personal preference for cleanliness. 

Should my chicken coop have a window?
Your coop should have clear visibility for your chickens depending on the run materials used. However, if your coop is solid wood and does not provide a window, you should create an area within their coop for outside visibility. Additionally, it is absolutely essential that your chicken coop has adequate ventilation which can be accomplished with mesh windows. Some backyard owners choose to create a ventilation system with fans, making sure that air is not blowing on the chickens which may create a dust buildup within the coop. Generally, a cool fan breeze may be helpful during the summer months, but is not recommended during the cold winter months as the coop fan will create a draft. Therefore, it is important to design your coop with ventilation based on seasonality. 
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Incubator Temperature Guidelines for Hatching Eggs

Incubator Temperature Guidelines for Hatching Eggs

Hatching your own eggs can be an exciting and satisfying experience as you watch young chicks arrive after careful planning and preparation. However, in order to have the best chance at successfully hatching your chicken hatching eggs or duck hatching eggs, you may consider some tips such as proper incubator temperature guidelines, egg incubation duration, and quality of your hatching eggs. Chicken hatching eggs will usually hatch twenty-one (21) days after incubation, depending on the breed variety, while duck hatching eggs will take at least twenty-eight (28) days to hatch after incubation. 

Incubator Temperature, Humidity, and Ventilation
First, allow your hatching eggs to set to room temperature before placing them in your incubator. Next, slowly raise your incubator temperature to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature change will need to occur slowly over the course of a few hours, as immediate change in temperature can cause humidity problems that will reduce hatch-ability. It will help if your incubator is setup in a well insulated area, so that short changes in temperature won't affect the viability of your hatching eggs. Even small fluctuations in temperature can decrease your chances for successfully hatching your eggs. Additionally, you will need to ensure adequate humidity within your egg incubator, roughly fifty (50) percent humidity for the first seventeen (17) days, and about seventy (70) percent humidity the last three (3) days before hatching.Humidity set too high during the first seventeen (17) days, and set too low during the last three (3) days is one of the most common causes of a poor hatch rate. Your hatching eggs will also need to be setup in an incubator that has adequate ventilation, as the embryos will need fresh air circulation at all times. Many incubators have a built in fan to maintain ventilation, and depending on your incubation settings your may opt to purchase an incubator with this feature. 

Turning Hatching Eggs
You will need to turn your hatching eggs two to five times daily for optimal hatch-ability, however, you will need to be delicate when turning them, as the embryos are developing blood vessels and are sensitive to movement. Do not turn your eggs the final three days of incubation as your embryos are getting ready to hatch. If you are planning to turn your hatching eggs by hand, it may be helpful to the top and bottom of each egg to keep track of them. Alternatively, your can purchase an egg turner to automatically turn your eggs for you, just make sure to turn off this feature the final three days before hatching. 
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Backyard Chicken Terms- What is a Broody Chicken?

Backyard Chicken Terms- What is a Broody Chicken?

Raising backyard chickens comes with responsibility for caring for your broody chickens, and learning about their natural behavior when in comes to your hen sitting on eggs all day long. Backyard chicken owners new to raising chickens may ask, what is a broody chicken? You may notice your hens laying in their nesting pen, refusing to leave. This article explains their occasional behavior changes when your hens simply wants to hatch her eggs. 

What does "Broody" mean?- The term "broody hen" refers to a chicken hen with instinctual behavior to hatch her eggs, so she will sit on her eggs all day long attempting to hatch them. Broody hens may seem agitated when you approach them, as their sole focus is to hatch their eggs, even if her eggs aren't fertile. This behavior becomes clear when hens squawk and ruffle their feathers when you approach their nest, attempt to peck at you when you are close to their eggs, and remove some of their feathers to heat their eggs quicker. Some hens will even lay on other egg shaped objects when broody, such as rocks or backyard decorations. This behavior change is caused by a variety of factors ranging from hormones, seasonality, and natural chicken instinct. 

Why do Hens get Broody?- Hens become broody when they are one and a half to three years of age, and their behavior change may return from one laying season to the next, typically in the springtime when your hens starts laying the bulk of her eggs for the year. It's only natural for your hens motherly instincts to take place during laying season. Additionally, genetic factors have a role to play in your hens broodiness- with some breeds being more broody that others. Some of the most broody chicken breeds include silkie chickens and cochin chickens. Of course, backyard chicken owners are fond of their broody hens, and want to stop their hens broodiness out of compassion. This is a good perspective to have, as broodiness is natural chicken behavior, and is not a problem for most backyard flocks. 

How to Stop a Chicken from Brooding?- If your hens broody behavior becomes a nuisance, here is some advice to change her attitude: 

Remove your hen from the nesting box and close the door to the nesting box- While your hen won't forget about her eggs and her desire to hatch them, simply creating some distance from her eggs may alleviate some of her broodiness. You can also create a separate nesting box for her to return to without the eggs, changing her environment to relax her broodiness. This strategy is especially effective towards the evening, as she will be more calm and less likely to relocate her eggs at night. 

If environmental change isn't enough to stop your hen's broody behavior, another strategy is placing a bag of frozen peas in her nesting box for her to lay on top, reducing her body temperature may stop her broodiness and desire to hatch her eggs. This environmental change may be just what the doctor ordered, letting her know that its time to calm down and relax. 

If environmental temperature change doesn't work, the last resort may be to isolate your hen in an isolated cage for a day, providing limited bedding. Of course, you will need to make sure she has plenty of food, water, and care that her isolation cage is placed in a safe environment with plenty of sunlight. This strategy is not recommended if you live in an area with natural predators, so please take care when isolating your broody hen. 

If none of these strategies work for you, you may have to let your hens broodiness run its course, this could last for a few days and up to one month. Eventually, with plenty of socialization your hen will return to normal behavior. 
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Customer Experience Ordering Day Old Chicks at CaliforniaHatchery.com

Customer Experience Ordering Day Old Chicks at CaliforniaHatchery.com

Would you like to read about a customer's experience after ordering chicks from us? If so, please check out a blog post written by Amy Renea of www.nestforallseasons.com, her article can be found here: 

Amy writes about her wonderful experience using californiahatchery.com to order her rare chicken breeds. Amy also shares some pictures of the safe packaging used to ship her day old chicks, and some great pictures of her chicks after arrival.

Happy Chickening!


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Rare Chicken Breed Highlight- The Egyptian Fayoumi Chicken

Rare Chicken Breed Highlight- The Egyptian Fayoumi Chicken

We would like to introduce you to a new chicken breed now offered at californiahatchery.com, the The Egyptian Fayoumi Chicken. Backyard chicken enthusiasts that treasure rare chicken breeds will appreciate this breed for its unique plumage and magnificent foraging and free ranging capabilities. The Egyptian Fayoumi Chicken is truly a splendor for any backyard flock. Originating from Egypt, this breed can be traced throughout history as a favorite within the Mediterranean, having an exceptional tolerance for hot weather and the Mediterranean climate. The Egyptian Fayoumi Chicken lays an abundance of small white eggs and is an excellent selection to highlight your flock. 
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Vitamins and Electrolytes for Day Old Chicks and Chickens

One of the most common questions customers ask is how they can rejuvenate their day old chicks after they arrive. We typically recommend that our customers provide their day old chicks with some sugar water, as this will give them some energy after their journey to your local post office. However, to ensure they receive top notch care after delivery, our customers now have the option to add a chick energy vital-pack to their order that can be sent along with their chicks. This will ensure that you can immediately provide your young chicks with an optimal blend of vitamins and electrolytes as soon as they arrive, and you can continue to provide them with these nutrients throughout adulthood (following directions for use). The chick energy vital-pack comes in a powder form that is added to water at a concentration of 1/10 teaspoon per gallon of water. The chick energy vital-pack will include enough powder to make approximately 250 gallons of vitamin/electrolyte solution. 

What are the Benefits of Vitamin Supplementation for Chicks and Chickens?
Vitamin A- Lack of vitamin A in a chick's diet may increase the chances of poor appetite, poor growth, and overall weakness. In adult chickens, lack of Vitamin A may lead to decreased egg production. It is always a good idea to supplement your chicken's diet with sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes to provide an additional source of vitamin A. Additionally, because day old chicks are not yet accustomed to these foods, it is always a good idea to mix their water with the chick energy vital-pack, to ensure they receive adequate vitamins and electrolytes. (Click "Read More" to continue to full article)

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Best Summertime Chicken Breeds

Best Summertime Chicken Breeds

Summer is officially here! And on that note, we would like to provide our recommendations for chicken breeds that stay cooler in summertime temperatures, and maintain quality and consistent egg laying capabilities when the weather is hot. Also, we'd like to share some tips on keeping your chickens healthy in the summertime.

In general, chicken breeds that are smaller can stay cooler in summertime weather better than larger breeds. Chickens that have fewer or lighter weight feathers can handle the hot temperatures better because they can cool down faster than larger breeds with more feathers. Also, chicken breeds that originate from Countries with hot climates will generally maintain quality egg laying capabilities in the summertime.

Best Chicken Breeds for Summer

1) White Leghorn Chicken- The white leghorn stays cooler in the summer better than most other breeds due to its white color and small size. The white leghorn is a smaller chicken breed, weighing approximately 5 pounds (lbs), which makes it easier for this breed to stay cooler in the summertime. Additionally, the white leghorn chicken breed originates from Italy, making this breed accustomed the very hot Mediterranean summer temperatures. The white leghorn is also one of the best egg laying chicken breeds, laying large white eggs.

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Indian Runner Ducks- A Favorite Backyard Duck Breed!

Indian Runner Ducks- A Favorite Backyard Duck Breed!

Most Popular Duck Breed

With so many different duck breeds to choose from, you may be wondering which breed will be the best for your property. If you're looking for our most popular backyard duck breed, we highly recommend the Indian Runner Duck, which comes in a variety of colors including: Fawn and White Indian Runner Ducks, Blue Indian Runner Ducks, Black Indian Runner Ducks, and Chocolate Indian Runner Ducks

Indian Runner Duck Basics
The Indian Runner Duck breed are well known for their friendly personalities and their excellent backyard foraging abilities. Also, they stand upright and tall, with figures that are unique and majestic. Runner ducks are unique as they do not have flight capability, making them excellent backyard and garden ducks. The runner duckling breed are well known for their excellent egg laying and gardening aesthetics, as they are light on their feet and their step will be gentle to gardens and backyard environments. The runner duck is true to it's name, as they will run or walk instead of waddling. This is due to their upright posture allowing them to move gracefully and quickly. Indeed, male runner ducks will grow to nearly 30 inches in height, and females will grow to nearly 25 inches in height. A mature female runner duck will lay nearly 200 eggs per year, typically between February and September.

Feeding Runner Ducks
Runner ducks will naturally search for bugs to eat in your backyard, and they are one of the quieter breeds of ducks, occasionally quacking at low volume. The runner duck will typically live up to ten years, and generally require approximately a quarter pound of feed per day, with females preferring duck maintainer feed on a regular basis. 

If you're interested in purchasing runner ducklings, we offer them from Spring to Winter seasons. Feel free to order your backyard runner ducks or our Runner Duck Assortment directly through our website!

Happy quacking!

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Feed and Nutrition for Ducks

Feed and Nutrition for Ducks

Feed and Nutrition for Ducks Young ducklings require water, carbohydrates, and protein in order to survive before and after they are delivered to you. In order to provide proper nutrition for your ducklings during shipment, we recommend orderering Gro-Gel which we will include for your ducklings to eat while in transit.

What is Gro-Gel?
Gro-Gel is a special formula that has a jello-like consistency with a vibrant green color, designed for day old ducklings to enhance the development of their immune and gastrointestinal systems. It is prepared and attached to a plastic trough during shipment, so that your ducklings can receive proper nutrition during shipment. Gro-Gel will hydrate and provide nutrition to your ducklings during shipment. Gro-Gel contains grains, proteins, fish-by products, vitamins, and amino acids. Gro-Gel will reduce the stresses of shipping and travel for your ducklings.

Gro-Gel can be added to your order of ducklings during checkout. We recommend ordering 1 pack for every six ducklings in your order.

What to Feed Day Old Ducklings?
After your ducklings arrive, feed them duck starter feed to provide proper nutrition. Duck starter feed should contain the right amounts of proteins and vitamins. Plan on ten ducklings eating about a pound of duck starter feed per day. Make sure to always provide water for your ducklings as well.

What to Feed Young Ducks?

After your ducklings are 4 weeks old, we recommend transitioning to duck maintainer feed. Duck maintainer feed should be slowly added to duckling starter feed for the first week to make the transition from duck starter to duck maintainer feed. Duck maintainer feed should be fed to your ducklings until they start laying eggs, once your ducklings start laying you should transition to duck mash feed.

What to Feed Adult Ducks?
Duck mash feed should be fed to your ducks as soon as they start laying eggs. You may also supplement duck mash feed with calcium or osyster shell supplement depending on the density of the egg shells your ducklings are laying.

Duck feed for ducks of all ages can be purchased at californiahatchery.com!

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Raising and Caring for Turkey Poults

Raising and Caring for Turkey Poults

Many backyard farmers choose to raise turkeys for a variety of reasons, not only can raising your own turkeys provide a source of healthy meat for your table but turkeys can calso produce a plentiful stock for your backyard.

Turkeys are not any harder to raise than chickens or ducks, but they do require some special considerations:

Domestic Turkeys vs. Wild Turkeys

- Domestic turkeys generally lack the ability to fly, so you will generally only need to make sure they are protected from predators. However, wild turkeys usually have the ability to fly, so you will want to consider a covered run to prevent them from flying.

- Domestic turkeys are generally larger than wild turkeys because they are raised for meat. In general, domestic turkeys have as much as 2-3 times more breast meat than wild turkeys. So if you choose to raise your backyard turkeys for their meat, consider choosing domestic turkey breeds such as the Broad Breasted White Turkey, Broad Breasted Bronze Turkey, Narragansett Turkey, Bourbon Red Turkey, and Midget White Turkey.

Food and Water for Turkeys
To provide a healthy start for your turkey poults, we recommend adding vitamin and electrolyte supplement to their water supply once you first receive them, this will help them to recover from any stresses they may have encountered during shipment. Also, we recommend making sure the water you provide to your turkey poults is luke warm in temperature, not too cold or too hot. Provide non-medicated Turkey Grower Feed to your turkeys for optimum performance and growth. If you want to maximize turkey egg production, add some calcium supplement to your turkey feed once they reach egg laying age.
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How are Chicks and Ducklings Shipped?

How are Chicks and Ducklings Shipped?

Many customers want to know, how are baby chicks and ducklings shipped?

The answer: Chicks purchased from Californiahatchery.com will ship through the US postal system using either express or priority delivery, depending on the quantity of chicks in your order. All chicks will ship the day they hatch. Typically, your chicks will arrive within 2-3 days after they ship. We include instructions for the post office to call the customer as soon as their order arrives at their local post office. We advise our customers to contact their local post office and let them know they are expecting a delivery of live poultry, which will help to facilitate our safe arrival guarantee.

- Californiahatchery.com
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CaliforniaHatchery.com Reviews

Californiahatchery.com a great resource for ordering poultry online, with small minimum order quantities, and a safe arrival guarantee to anywhere in the United States, we offer the backyard poultry farmer the option of placing a smaller order to accompany their needs. Additionally, we offer high quality poultry at reasonable prices. We consistently receive positive reviews from our customers, and we thought we would share some of these reviews with you:

- "I purchased the duck maintainer to switch my duckling over from chick starter feed when he was about 4 weeks old. I gradually mixed this feed with the chick starter until I had fully switched him to the maintainer. He loves it, and showed a lot of interest in it from the first day I offered it to him. I also really like how all the supplements necessary for ducklings (niacin!!!) are already added into this food so there is no need for me to continue adding brewers yeast to prevent him from being bow legged. Most of all, its extremely convenient that this feed is available in a 10 lb bag instead of 25-50 lbs only, which is much more than I need and would be a huge waste. Thank you, I will definitely be ordering more!"

- "I have mallard ducklings in my yard annually. In short, the journey to a pond is not survivable so I have opted to help the hen nurture them for a period of about one month after which we relocate the family intact to a local pond where they successfully brood. This year I purchased the baby duckling starter feed from CaliforniaHatchery.com and they loved it! As well, these ducklings were the strongest and best-developed of all of my clutches. After 3 weeks I transitioned them to the maintainer feed. If I have another clutch next year, I most definitely will be getting feed from CaliforniaHatchery.com! The ducklings thank you!"

- "I ordered 4 hatchlings and got them on May 3rd in the middle of a heat wave. But baby chicks like to be warm, so not a problem. They are now almost 3 weeks old, growing fast, getting plumage and combs, eating well and seem eager to get out and do some serious bug hunting. I think I have 3 females and a little rooster that seems to be lagging behind the girls a bit in size, but he's just as playful and active as they are. So far, so good. They certainly have vigor and are strong, healthy and fun-loving. I am pleased with my little R.I.Reds."

(Click below to read more customer reviews and comment to share your experience at californiahatchery.com with others!)
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Raising Pheasants

Raising Pheasants

Raising pheasants can be a tough task, and there are many considerations to account for when starting with day old pheasant chicks. We recommend starting with one large flock, and starting early during the pheasant chick hatching season which usually begins in May. Pheasants are usually sold only in large quantities because they require a decent amount of heat when they are chicks, so we recommend having a brooder large enough to accomodate at least seventy five (75) chicks. Your pheasant brooder should allow at least 3/4 square feet per pheasant chick. Your brooder should not allow any drafts or breezes and should be set between 90-95 degrees fahrenheit for the first week. For additional tips and guidelines for raising pheasants, see our guidelines for raising baby chicks.


After your pheasant chicks arrive we recommend dipping thier beeks in fresh water before placing them in the brooder box. Make sure you have prepared sufficient amounts of feed and water which should always be available for your pheasants. Make sure your temperature is set correctly for your pheasants based (see guidelines for raising baby chicks), as most pheasants will not survive the first two nights unless the temperature of their brooder remains consistent and is set correctly. Additionally, make sure there is ample branches and alphalpha hay (away from the heating lamp) in the pheasant pen for the pheasants to peck on, otherwise they may begin to peck on each other.

(Read more and please feel free to comment on your backyard pheasants...)
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Favorite Chicken Breeds

Favorite Chicken Breeds

Some of our favorite chicken breeds the the barred rock chicken, easter egger chicken, and the buff orpington chicken. Each one of these chicken breeds offers a unique characteristic!

Barred Rock Chicken
The Barred Rock Chicken originated in Holland and lays large dark brown eggs about three (3) times per week. The barred rock chicken has a friendly and calm personality and a greyish "rock like" coloring  making them a popular backyard chicken breed in the United States. The barred rock chicken has a friendly personality and can be housed with any other breed of chicken. 

(Pictured Above: Barred Rock Chicken Breed)

Buff Orpington Chicken
The Buff Orpington Chicken originates from England and lays large brown colored eggs about three (3) times per week. The buff orpington is a favorite breed for many backyard chicken owners due to their appearance, as they have been bred as a show bird rather than for utility purposes. Their docile and friendly personalities make them easily adaptable to live with other chicken breeds!

Buff Orpington Chicken Breed

(Pictured Above: Buff Orpington Chicken Breed)

(Click below to read more about our favorite chicken breeds and please feel free to comment on your favorite breeds!)
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Chickens for Eggs- Best Egg Laying Chickens

Chickens for Eggs- Best Egg Laying Chickens

The best egg laying chicken breeds will generally lay five (5) or more eggs per week, have a high tolerance for laying conditions, and provide high quality eggs. We would like to provide our customers with a list of our most popular egg laying chickens that produce high quality eggs. 

1) Delaware chicken- This breed will usually lay four (4) large brown eggs per week depending on conditions. The breed originates from the United States and will provide a calm and friendly demeanor as one of your backyard chickens.

2) Rhode Island Red Chicken- The Rhode Island Red chicken breed typically lays five (5)extra-large brown eggs per week. This is by far one of our most popular egg laying breeds. This breed is calm and easily handled as part of your backyard chicken flock.

3) White Leghorn chicken- This breed will lay about four (4) large white eggs per week of excellent quality. They are an active and energetic breed that will add some personality to your backyard flock! We highly recommend the white leghorn chicken as one of your primary white egg laying chicken breeds.
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What to Feed Chickens

What to Feed Chickens

Chickens require different kinds of feed at different stages in their life. Chickens are omnivores, which means they will eat just about anything from worms, vegetablkes, fruits, flowers, and grass. However, you should consider feeding your chickens feed with the proper amount of protein and nutrients designed to keep your chickens healthy.

To get started, we have listed the kinds of feeds to provide for your chickens at different stages in their lives:

Chicks- Should be fed organic chick starter feed with at least 20% crude protein, and other ingredients to include lysine, crude fat, crude fiber, calcium, phospohorus, and salt. Other ingredients in chick starter feed may include corn, soybean meal, dicalcium phosphate, diatomaceous earth, lime, potassium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, kelp, dried lactobacillus fermentation product, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, folic acid supplement, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, and Vitamin B12 supplement. Chick starter feed should be fed to your chicks up to 14 weeks of age before transitioning to chicken layer developer feed.

Chicken layer developer feed contains the same ingredients as chick starter, except it should have less protein- generally around %17 crude protein. Chicken layer developer should be fed from 14 weeks of age until your chickens start to lay eggs, at which point you should switch to Organic Layer Mash Feed, or Organic Layer Pellet Feed. Organic Layer Mash Feed and Organic Layer Pellet Feed should contain about %16 crude protein and various amounts of other minerals. It should be fed to chickens that are laying eggs in order to provide the right amount of nutrients for your chickens!
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Guidelines for Raising Baby Chicks

Guidelines for Raising Baby Chicks

Before you receive your day old chicks or ducklings from californiahatchery.com, there are a few things you should have ready:

1) A heating lamp and brooder area- The heating lamp temperature should change according as your chicks grow. Follow the heating lamp temperature guidelines below to provide optimal temperature for your chicks: 

Week 1: 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 2: 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 3: 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 4: 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 5,6,7: 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 8: 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 9: 65 degrees Fahrenheit 

The heating lamp should be placed 12-18 inches above the floor of the heating area. Some signs that your heat is too low- Your chicks will huddle together in the brooder. If the temperature is too high, your chicks may be dispersed throughout the heating area, and they may look tired. If the temperature is set correctly, your chicks will be evenly dispersed throughout the heating area, and they will look lively while making lots of peeping sounds!
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