Friday, July 26, 2013

Poultry FAQS


Often asked Questions about Poultry and Eggs
By Joe Berry, Extension Poultry Specialist, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

1. How long do chickens live?
Answer: Chickens in small flocks live several years if conditions are correct. A life span of six to eight years may not be unreasonable. Most commercial layers are kept for two to three years. 

2. How old are chickens when they begin to lay eggs?
Answer: Under optimum conditions; good nutrition, ideal day length, adequate housing, and good management practices, most layers should begin egg production at about 20-22 weeks of age. 

3. What should chickens be fed?
Answer: Commercial rations will usually produce the best results from all types of poultry. A ration designed specifically for a particular type of bird should always be used (ie. layer ration for layers, broiler ration for broilers, etc.). The commercial ration should not be supplemented with scratch, corn, or table scraps because the birds will not be eating a balanced diet. 

4. How can the sex of baby chicks be determined?
Answer: Vent sexing by an experienced chick sexer can be done at one day of age. This technique is difficult and requires a great deal of experience. If a fast feathering gene has been introduced into the breeding flock, chicks can be sexed by observing the differences in the appearance of the primary wing feathers. The feathers on the wings of the female will be a little longer and in a different pattern than those on the males. Most chickens cannot be sexed in this manner. 
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