FREQUENTLY ASKED CHICKEN QUESTIONSFrom Backyard Chickens…Will racoons hurt my chickens?Yes. Racoons are one of the most common predators of chickens. They will attack mainly at night, and can tear a bird apart very quickly. They frequently will kill more than one. Good secure coops will help to protect your flock from racoons.Should I buy pullets or straight run chicks?Pullets have been sexed by the hatchery and are usually sexed 90% accurately. Most hatcheries or feed stores will refund your money or buy back the cockerels which exceed 10%. Straight run chicks are usually less expensive, but they are 50% pullets and 50% cockerels (more or less). submitted by admin , answered by admin , last updated Apr 27, 2009When can my chicks go outside?You should wait until they are fully feathered to put them outside. Depending on the temperature, they can go outside when they are from 5 to 12 weeks old.How many eggs will my hens lay?On the average, 3 hens will give you 2 eggs a day. That means to get a dozen eggs a day, you would need 18 hens.Should I wash the eggs my hens lay?This argument rages forever – I wash mine with a scrubby sponge and cold water when I'm ready to eat them. Some people use anti-bac soap, others claim you are washing off the “bloom” and letting bacterian INTO the egg by doing that. I like a nice clean egg when I'm going to cook it or give it to someone.How long do chickens lay eggs?Chicken can lay eggs into their teens, although they sometimes stop earlier.When will my hens start to lay eggs?Most hens start to lay around 4-6 months of age, more or less. However, for various reasons (time of year, temperature, etc.) they may wait until the next Spring to start laying eggs.What should I use for perches?Wooden perches should be 2″ in diameter for regular sized chickens and 1″ for bantams. Plastic or metal is too smooth for the chicken to grasp. You can also use branches for a more natural setting. Note: in cold climates, people use flat 2x4s for perches. That makes the chicken sit on its feet, keeping them warm.How much roosting space do I need on the perches?You will need a minimum of 8″ of perch space for each chicken.How many nest boxes do I need?Generally, one box for every 4 hens.How big should my nest boxes be?For larger breeds, a box 12″ high, 12″ deep and 14″ high is fine.How much space do I need in my chicken house and run?Inside a minimum of 2 square feet of floor space. Outside, a minimum of 10 square feet in the run per bird (some say 4 sq. ft., but that's only 2×2, and I personally think that's restrictive).What should I feed my chickens?Starter ration until they are 8 weeks old, grower ration until they are 18 weeks old, then layer ration; or combination starter-grower until they are 18 weeks, then layer ration. It is a good idea to supplement the layer ration with ground oyster shell. Oyster shell helps keep eggshells thick. Can I feed my chickens treats? Yes. Scratch is a good treat for chickens. Chickens like many things: cooked spaghetti, clean vegetable peels, fruit, cereal, meal worms, bugs, and snails. Avoid strong tasting foods like onions and garlic; some sources say this makes their eggs taste funny submitted by admin , answered by admin , last updated Apr 27, 2009What is scratch?Scratch is a cracked corn and wheat mix for chickens. It is available at most feed stores.Will my hens lay eggs if I don't have a rooster?Yes. A hen only needs a rooster in order to lay fertile eggs that could hatch.What is the best breed for laying eggs?Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Australorps and Orpingtons are all very productive breeds. There are many chicken breeds from which to choose…What is the moult?The moult is an annual process in which the chickens lose and regrow their feathers. Usually chickens molt in the late summer or early fall. They may stop laying eggs while they are moulting.Do chickens smell bad?No. The only time chickens will smell bad is if they are sick or their coop is not cleaned often enough.