Author Archives: Gail Damerow

All Chicken Keepers Face These 3 Challenges

All Chicken Keepers Face These 3 Challenges

Chicken keepers vary in levels of experience, from novice to expert. But no matter how knowledgeable we might be, and how carefully we manage our flocks, all chicken keepers face the same three challenges. Predators Everyone who keeps poultry sooner or later experiences that heart-stopping moment of realization that a predator has come to call.… Continue Reading

Dealing with Scaly Leg Mites in Chickens

Dealing with Scaly Leg Mites in Chickens

The scaly leg mite (Knemidocoptes mutans) is a tiny pale gray round creature, only about 1/100-inch in diameter. Despite its small size, in large numbers it can cause big problems by digging under the scales of a chicken leg and deforming the shank, feet, and toes. Unfortunately, dealing with scaly leg mites is a common… Continue Reading

Why Does a Rooster Have Wattles?

Why Does a Rooster Have Wattles?

A rooster’s wattles come in flexible pairs that dangle beneath the beak, while its comb is a single structure prominently affixed to the top of the head. Researchers have determined that hens base their choice of mates, in part, on characteristics of the comb. But when it comes to wattles, they scratch their scholarly heads… Continue Reading

The Origin of Modern Chickens

The Origin of Modern Chickens

Since the 1800s humans have believed chickens were domesticated from red jungle fowl of Southeast Asia. The main reasons for this assumption are that red jungle fowl (pictured above) look similar and can interbreed with modern chickens. However, we had no real proof of the origin of modern chickens until the advent of gene sequencing.… Continue Reading

No Guarantees When Ordering Hatching Eggs by Mail

No Guarantees When Ordering Hatching Eggs by Mail

Eggs that are sold specifically for hatching are called, fittingly enough, hatching eggs. They cost more than eating eggs but come with no guarantee they will hatch. Too many variables are not under the seller’s control. Even eggs laid by your own hens, or otherwise sourced locally, are not guaranteed to hatch. But when hatching… Continue Reading

How to Treat Crossed Beak in Chickens

How to Treat Crossed Beak in Chickens

A chicken’s beak is handy for gathering food, drinking water, and exploring and manipulating objects in the environment. It’s also used for preening, nest building, and engaging in social interactions. Occasionally a chick hatches with a deformed beak or develops a deformity as it grows.   Crossed Beak One common deformity occurs when the upper… Continue Reading