Basic information about chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sandbellie, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Sandbellie

    Sandbellie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 21, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Hey all. I know some stuff about chickens, but I'm just getting into the world of knowing all the important stuff you should know if you actually own chickens.

    I have read online articles, but there seems to be some pretty smart people here!

    I have a few questions, but other than that, if you could just explain away... that would be great! Just a summary, or quick paragraph if you like. Or something longer. Your choice. Details make everything better, too!

    Questions-

    What is a pullet?
    How old are hens when they start laying?
    When do chickens start growing their adult feathers?
    Are there any fancy names for different chickens, like a young female, a layer, a roo, a young roo, ect?
    What are some known major chicken diseases?
    Any popular breeds?

    And anything else you wanna add in!

    Thanks!! [​IMG]
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    What is a pullet? A hen less than 1 y.o.
    How old are hens when they start laying? 17-40 weeks old (usually) depending on breed.
    When do chickens start growing their adult feathers? As soon as they hatch. They finish growing in all the feathers (fully fledged)at about 6 weeks old.
    Are there any fancy names for different chickens, like a young female, a layer, a roo, a young roo, ect? Young female is a pullet. Female greater than 1 y.o. is a hen. Young male is a cockerel. Male greater than 1 y.o. is a rooster. Fixed males are capons. Females obsessed with hatching babies are broodies. Meat birds have all sorts of fancy names.
    What are some known major chicken diseases? Here's a list: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/
    Any popular breeds? Here's another link: http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    Hope that helped.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    St. Louis, MO
    Pullet = young female.
    The agerage age is 20 weeks, some as early as 18 even earlier, some can take MUCH longer. Especially if that age comes when light is diminishing like autumn, early winter.
    Adult feathers are pretty well in by 5 or 6 weeks. Sometimes breed specific.
    A young roo is a cockerel
    Here is the disease rundown from University of Florida
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
    Everyone has a favorite,
    Commercial growers raise Leghorns for eggs (because on average they lay the most) and White Cornish Cross for meat because they just sit and eat so they can be butchered at 6 weeks.
    Backyarders, small farmers and homesteaders prefer others. Normally dual purpose (egg and meat) like Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Orpingtons, Wyandottes.
    Everybody has a favorite.
    I like Jersey Giants, Wellsummers (Dark Eggs), both gentle birds. Ameraucanas for blue/green eggs,
    Good egg breeds are Anconas, Minorcas and Jaerhons - all white eggs.
    Australorps lay lots of eggs and are better tempered than Leghorns.
    People like different breeds for various reasons. Some people like broody birds (readily incubate a clutch of eggs) others don't (no need if there isn't a rooster.
    Some people like birds that do well foraging on pasture for their own food, others who need to keep them locked like breeds that bear confinement well.
    For meat even small holders often rely on the Cornish Cross but I have had great luck with a batch of Freedom Rangers, they got huge fast and loved to run, flap their wings and eat lots of pasture.
    I'm sure you'll get lots of more input.
    For a quick rundown of breeds and their qualities I like this bird chart.
    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010
  4. Sandbellie

    Sandbellie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the info! One more question- When do the chickens feathers change color?
     
  5. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

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    Quote:Some breeds never change color, others like the Mille Fluer D'uccle don't get their spots until they are a year or so old.
     
  6. Sandbellie

    Sandbellie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 21, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Some breeds never change color, others like the Mille Fluer D'uccle don't get their spots until they are a year or so old.

    Well heres my problem: I have three, 18 week old birds and they haven't changed color yet. But, I'm not sure what breed they are. I took them in from a friend who has a bunch of roo's and hens. So they could be a mix of anything. They're still a white yellow color!

    Could they still change colors?
     
  7. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    At 18 weeks they are the color they are going to be.
     
  8. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    If you have a pictur post it in the breed and gender section they will be able to tell you what you have
     

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