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  • What is a Pre Sale?
    This means that eggs aren't immediately available and will ship as soon as they become available. I do this so that during the "off season" when our birds aren't laying, you can order hatching eggs from us and be placed on a waiting list, essentially. Once our birds begin laying, we check hatch rate of the eggs and then proceed to start shipping out our Pre Sale orders. We have a "first come first serve" policy meaning that we ship in the order the eggs were purchased. When purchasing pre sale hatching eggs, please expect wait times of 6 weeks or some times even longer. If at any time you have questions or concerns about when your eggs will be shipping out, don't hesitate to contact us. In our line of work, we are in the business of counting eggs before they are layed. By doing Pre Sales, it allows us to have a better idea of how many eggs we can hatch versus ship out. We have such a large hatching egg operation that if we didn't do it this way, we would end up with thousands of eggs and chicks that would, essentially, have no "Happy Home" to go to. The Pre Sales also allows those who are really interested in certain, hard to find breeds to purchase them before they are sold out. We start our Pre Sales typically as soon as the previous laying season ends. The orders pick up heavily in January/February and we are typically sold out for the rest of the laying season by the end of March. Once we have fulfilled our Pre Sale orders, we occassionally have some birds that are still laying. We will post their availability on our website. If you have any questions about how our Pre Sale works, don't hesitate to ask.
  • Why do you do Pre Sales and not just ship out eggs as they are laid?
    In our line of work, we are in the business of counting eggs before they are layed. By doing Pre Sales, it allows us to have a better idea of how many eggs we can hatch versus ship out. We have such a large hatching egg/chick operation that if we didn't do it this way, we would end up with thousands of eggs and chicks that would, essentially, have no "Happy Home" to go to. The Pre Sales also allow those who are really interested in certain, hard to find breeds to purchase them before they are sold out.
  • When do your Pre Sales start?
    We start our Pre Sales typically as soon as the previous laying season ends. The orders pick up heavily in January/February and we are typically sold out for the rest of the laying season by the end of March. Once we have fulfilled our Pre Sale orders, we occassionally have some birds that are still laying. We will post their availability on our website. If you have any questions about how our Pre Sale works, don't hesitate to ask.
  • How do I know if eggs are "Pre Sale" or available now?"
    Good questions- in my listing it will specifically say "Available Now". For example, "Reeves Pheasant (Available Now)"
  • Can you ship to Southern California?
    Yes! Effective June 1st, the shipping ban into and out of zip codes 90000-93599 is lifted.
  • Can you ship to Canada?
    No, sorry, we are not able to ship to Canada at this time.
  • Do you ship to Hawaii and Alaska?
    We do not ship to Hawaii at this time but we are able to ship to Alaska
  • Why are my hatching eggs taking so long to ship?
    It could be because you purchased hatching eggs from us during our Pre Sale which is essentially purchasing eggs before they are laid and being put on a "waiting list", per say. We try to ship out orders as promptly as we possibly can but please be prepared for Pre Sale orders to take several weeks and possibly months for them to arrive. This is all based on when you purchased your hatching eggs, of course. We ship in the order the hatching eggs were purchased so if you were the first to order a particular hatching egg, you will be the first to recieve your order once that species begins laying (and after we check hatch rate, of course :) If you did not purchase during our Pre Sale and you have purchased "End of Season" eggs, please contact us. They typically ship out within 3 business days (if not sooner) from the day they were purchased.
  • Do you ship internationally?
    No, sorry! At this time we can only ship within the United States
  • What Postal Service do you use for shipping your hatching eggs?
    Hatching eggs are sent out via USPS priority mail throughout the week. You will recieve an email from me once your hatching eggs have shipped along with your tracking number. We generally have great success with USPS
  • Fragile Stickers...? No Xray....?
    Sorry but we typically DO NOT mark the parcels as "fragile", "no xray" or any of the above as this seems to encourage rough behavior with the packages. If you would like us to mark your parcel, we will gladly do so upon request.
  • Do you "Hold for Pickup" at the Post Office?"
    We normally don't however, if you would like us to we absolutely can! You can either send us an email with your information attached (ie Phone Number) or you can type your phone number into the prompt when you are purchasing eggs
  • How do you ship your hatching eggs?
    We guarantee that eggs will be packed appropriately with intentions to arrive to you completely intact. We typically use foam shippers and peat pellets. However, on very small quanties we use bubble wrap and peat pellets and have had excellent success with this. For larger eggs that are too big for foam shippers for (Example: Canada Goose) we use bubble wrap, as well.
  • What if my eggs arrived damaged?
    If your eggs arrive with any damage, please contact us immediately. Photos will be requested of damaged eggs. We have $50 insurance on all parcels and will gladly help you file a claim with USPS if you choose to do so.
  • Can I request that my hatching eggs be sent/delivered on a certain day?
    Due to the high volume of orders we get during our Pre Sale, we cannot accomodate eggs being shipped and/or delivered on a particular day. The reason being is we ship in the order the hatching eggs were purchased so, all though, we may have a rough estimate when your eggs will arrive to you, to get it on a certain day is near impossible.
  • Do you have a cancelation fee?
    Yes, we do. Any orders placed and then canceled will have a $10.00 fee deducted from the total purchase and shipping price. The difference will be refunded to you. The rationale for the fee: Orders paid for/booked are taken off the market for sale and are marked sold. Canceled orders create bookkeeping and labor cost to process the canceled order, labor to recalculate deletions and adding back on the sale sheets, along with postage or credit card fees to process credits. Our prices are not formulated for a canceled order cost. So PLEASE make sure before purchasing that these are the hatching eggs you want.
  • Do you guarantee hatch rate?
    No, we do not guarantee hatch rates as this is something that is not under our control. By ordering hatching eggs from us, you accept this reponsibility. We DO NOT give refunds on eggs because of hatch rates under any circumstances.
  • My eggs did not hatch, can I return them to you for a refund?"
    For those of you reading this, I do get asked this question A LOT. The answer is, sorry, but no. A hard no. We cannot accept a return on rotten, already incubated eggs. Not only is that a bio-hazard but that's just plain gross! Please understand that hatching eggs are a gamble. Shipping can be rather hard on them which will certainly affect your hatch rate. And due to the many variables that can influence success or failure during incubation, we are unable to make any guarantees on hatch rate or process any returns/refunds on hatching eggs
  • Why order from Spring Hollow Acres versus other farms/hatcheries?
    There are a number of good reasons. First and foremost, we LOVE all of our birds (and our animals in general for that matter) They are not just a paycheck to us- they are considered our pets and part of the family. We also keep our birds outdoors throughout the year, and they tend to be hardy as a result. They live in roomy pens and are allowed to forage on pasture; a humane and healthy way to treat animals.
  • How do you know your eggs are fertilized eggs?
    We sell hundreds of chicks locally each year out of the same eggs that we send to our customers. Before we start shipping eggs, we check the hatch rate of all breed/species to make sure our customers have the aboslute most viable eggs we can offer. Then once shipping begins, throughout the Spring/Summer/Fall we are constantly hatching chicks out of these same eggs we are shipping. Buy with confidence knowing that we truly do everything in our power to make sure our hatching eggs are the most viable eggs we can offer.
  • Can you check if an egg was fertilized after the incubation period?
    Sadly, no you cannot. Prior to incubation, you can crack open an egg and look for what is commonly referred to as a "bulls eye" however, cracking open an egg after the incubation period and seeing no bullseye does not mean you had unfertlized eggs- it simply means the eggs did not develop. Under a normal situation, the blostoderm expands (ie "bulls eye" obliterates) after incubation starts and then proceeds to become a chick. But in many situations, it never proceeds beyond the expansion state for whatever reason, particularly with transported eggs. Check out this link if you would like to read more about this
  • Can you give me some pointers on hatching shipped eggs?
    Absolutely! With each and every order, I include some "tips of the trade" and my own personal tried and true methods on having success hatching transported eggs. I've had some amazing hatches with shipped eggs (and some not so amazing ones) but knowledge is power, and every little bit helps, right? Right. Feel free to email me with any questions you have on this subject. I will gladly offer any help that I can.
  • Are some eggs easier to hatch than others?
    Yes! Absoultely! I find chickens to be quite easy and Coturnix quail. Other quail and pheasants seem to somewhat vary but I would not say you need to be exceptionally skilled or have a very expensive incubator to have success hatching. However, with that being said, the most difficult eggs I have experienced hatching are grouse eggs. These eggs require skilled individuals and precise incubation parameters. I do not recommend hatching grouse eggs for beginners.
  • Do you sell chicken eggs that have been in a incubator for a while and will only take a couple days to hatch?
    I'm afraid it's not possible to stop incubation, ship the eggs, and then restart incubation afterwards. The chicks would die. It would be akin to a human woman deciding she wanted to take a break from pregnancy for a while to get a nice night's sleep, and asking to have the baby removed for a day or two. Although I think most women would like having the option, especially during the last trimester- it's just not possible to stop gestation for the fetus (or incubation for the embryo) for a few days without killing it. Make sense?
  • Are your birds "show quality"?"
    Especially with our fertile hatching eggs, we have some great lines that produce amazing show prospects. Ours is an NPIP hatchery and our birds are purebred. (The exceptions are designer hybrids which are a hybrid "mixed breeds" by nature.) All that said, no one---hatchery or breeder---can guarantee you'll get a show winner. Even when purchasing from a top breeder of show birds from winning lines, not every chick hatched will make good show material. Even the prettiest chickens may not have the personality for the show circuit. This is why no one can guarantee their chicks are "show quality." The honest thing to say is that chicks may have show potential, or that they come from show lines (meaning mother, father, grandfather, etc, have won shows). Do remember that even top breeders may hatch hundreds of birds from very good lines before they find The One they feel will be a grand champion at a poultry show!
  • How can I incubate eggs that will hatch female chicks only?
    The question of temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) in chickens has been an important subject for scientific study over the last several decades. For most backyard chicken enthusiasts, females are preferred for egg laying and unwanted roosters often have to be rehomed. Wouldn't it be great if you could incubate and hatch all females, or at least hatch a much higher ratio of females than males? Sure! But as we shall see--don't get your hopes up just yet... An Australian study published in 1960 (Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 11(4) 664 - 672) found that eggs stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (rather than the recommended 60 degrees) for at least 24 hours and up to 7 days before incubation hatched out 54.6% more females than males. It was postulated that the male embryos were preferentially killed off by colder storage temperatures, while the female embryos handle the chilling better. At the time of this writing, we have not found a study that replicated this result. Another study (Ferguson, M. W. J. 1994 Temperature dependent sex determination in reptiles and manipulation of poultry sex by incubation temperature. In Proc. 9th European Poultry Conf., Glasgow, pp. 380–382) purportedly demonstrated sex reversal in chicks in ovum by pulsing eggs with higher or lower temperatures, but the results were never replicated. A much more recent study published in 2013 (Poultry Science, Volume 92, Issue 12, 1 December 2013, Pages 3096–3102, found no evidence of temperature-dependent sex determination or sex-biased embryo mortality in the chicken. At this time, unfortunately, there is no replicated empirical evidence of temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) or sex reversal in chicken embryos, but poultry scientists are always working on this question, so perhaps an answer is forthcoming?
  • How can I tell if my hens' eggs are fertile?
    Crack a fresh, unincubated egg into a bowl in good light. If you have sharp eyes, you will see that a fertile egg has a faint bullseye, the fertilized blastoDERM, on the yolk, while for an infertile egg, it will just be an irregular spot, a blastoDISC. If you don't have sharp eyes you might make use of a magnifying glass--or ask someone to help. Remember to check the bottom of the yolk; sometimes the way your egg lands in your dish will make the bullseye difficult to see.
  • What is a Lash Egg?
    A lash egg is less of an egg than it is a roughly egg- or sausage-shaped exudate, consisting of thickened pus and other materials. It is probably the grossest egg your hen will ever lay, and will often look like cheesy, bloody strata or other matter arranged in strappy, skin-like layers. You may think she's expelled an internal organ. Ew.
  • What is a worming schedule?
    If your birds have worms, you will want to treat them. Some signs you can look for at home are pale combs, a drop in laying, and watery poo. However, it does no good to worm your flock--even on a seasonal schedule--unless you know precisely what type of infestation they are suffering from. Keep in mind that particular wormers are only useful for particular parasites, so it is best to get a diagnosis as to which you are addressing. That way you will know which wormer will help their condition. Otherwise, you simply may be stressing their systems out by giving them a medication that does not treat the issue they have.For instance, tape worms and round worms are treated by different anthemintics (wormers), so if your chickens have tapeworms, using a wormer for round worms will not address the problem at all. And worse, it can conceivably make your birds sicker from the stress of medication they don't need. You will not want to worm your flock at all unless they actually have worms AND you know which parasites you are treating them for. Your veterinarian will be able to perform a fecal smear and tell you what parasites your flock may be suffering from. Avian vets can be hard to find, but in many cases, any vet can perform a smear for you, whether they treat birds/chickens or not. Extension agents will sometimes make this service available, as well, and in most cases, you can find someone to do a smear for a nominal fee. On a preventative basis, diatomaceous earth mixed in with feed at a ratio of 2% can reduce internal parasite load. If your flock has an acute infestation, it is not enough. Instead, these other dewormer products are also safe and effective... but do confirm the presence of worms and what type before worming your flock, so you can treat them with the right anthelmintic. Your extension agent or vet will be able to recommend the best medication for your flock's particular issue. Finally, if your get your fecal smear test results back and your flock is clear of a significant problem with internal parasites, you'll know that if your birds are showing signs of illess such as a drop in laying, it must be due to a cause other than worms.
  • Is your breeder chicken stock vaccinated for Merek's Diseas?
    Yes, all of our chicken parent stock breeders are vaccinated.
  • Do you sell chicks?
    Yes! We sell chicks of nearly all of our varieties offered. However, currently, we only offer them for local pickup only. If you are interested in ordering chicks from us, please touch base with me via email and we can set something up.
  • Do I need any state permits to own any of the species you offer?
    You need to check with your state Division of Wildlife Services and make sure your state doesn't have specific requirements for you to meet. For example, in the state of Utah, you are required to obtain what is called a COR permit to own any of the species I have available. Some states require something similar and some states require nothing at all. Best to be sure and call your local DWR to see what your state requirements are.
  • What is a Federal Migratory Waterfowl Permit?
    This permit is only for those of you who want to SELL federally protected migratory waterfowl (such as Canada Geese or Sandhill Crane) If you want to purchase these particular breeds from me, I will send you a sale/transfer form I need you to fill out and return to me. If you plan on keeping these birds for your amusement and NOT selling them, you DO NOT need to get a Federal Migratory Waterfowl Permit. If you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to ask.
  • What Permits does Spring Hollow Acres have?
    We are a licensed Poultry Dealer and Hatchery in the state of Utah. We also have our Federal Migratory Waterfowl permit, our COR permit with the state of Utah, and our Native Endangered and Threatened Species Permit. If you have any questions about any of the permits listed above, please get in touch with us. Always happy to help!
  • Bursal Disease
    It's always a good idea for chicks to have a lot of protein in their diet, right? Not necessarily! Infectious Bursal Disease is more prevalent in flocks that are fed high-protein (24%) feed. It can cause illness and death, especially in chicks that are are 3 - 6 weeks of age. Infectious Bursal Disease Also called: IBD, Gumboro Prevalence: Common in large flocks General signs: Fluffed feathers, general lethargy, loss of appetite, illness/deaths usually at 3 - 6 weeks of age. This is the time period when the cloacal bursa are most active. Older birds that contact this disease are more likely to have been exposed to a highly virulent strain. Cardinal or diagnostic signs - The above general signs paired with the bird's picking of its own vent, difficulty pooping, loose droppings. Post-mortem findings show swollen or undeveloped bursa, flecks of blood in muscles, pale kidneys Cause/s: Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), a birnavirus. This infects the chickens' "bursa of fabricus," which is an organ in the chicken's vent/cloaca that is necessary for developing good immune function. Communicability: Yes. It is very contagious and is expelled in droppings and then picked up by other birds in the litter. It can become airborne in dusty litter. It survives for many months in the coop and is difficult to eliminate because it is carried by rodents and even insects in the litter like the darkling beetle. It can also be carried on shoes or equipment. It is more likely to occur in young birds, in highly productive laying breeds, in chicks fed a high amount of protein in the feed (24%), and in birds ill with other diseases such as coccidiosis or bronchitis. Communicability to humans: No. Humans don't have a bursa of fabricus, and the virus doesn't have any known pathenogenicity for humans. Incubation period: 1 - 2 weeks Latent: No. However, recovered chickens may have a suppressed immune response and can sometimes be more susceptible to other illnesses. Endemic: Yes. Home treatment and/or prevention: Prevention: Vaccination. Practice good biosecurity. Don't feed excessively high protein feeds. Keep the coop comfortable and well-ventilated. Treatment: None. Mortality can be relatively low if the birds are well-cared for and have a comfortable coop with plenty of fresh air and clean water. Keep bottoms cleaned up to prevent birds from picking at their own vents, and prevent them from getting too chilled during the process. Veterinary care: There is no treatment for the IBD virus. However, if your bird has another illness at the same time, such as coccidiosis, treatment for the other illness can help them recover more quickly, so veterinary consultation is always a good idea. Recovery: In most cases, 70% survive. However, birds who have survived may not develop an appropriate immune response to other vaccinations, and may have suppressed immune systems in general. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Coccidiosis, other conditions causing loose droppings and a dirty vent.
  • Marek's Disease
    Marek's disease is a dreaded illness that can be contracted by chickens nearly anywhere in the world. It is almost always fatal, and even birds that survive will be continue to be carriers their entire life. Most healthy birds are capable of fighting off the virus so symptoms do not develop, but in times of stress the virus may overwhelm their defenses and they may become symptomatic. We offer a vaccination for Marek's disease, which can greatly reduce mortality in a flock if the disease is contracted. Read on to find out more. Marek's Disease Also called: Neurolymphomatosis, MD, range paralysis, grey eye, Marek's, uveitis, neutitis, pseudobotulism, false botulism, cancer Prevalence: Very common General signs: In chicks, weight loss despite good diet, followed by deaths starting at around 8 weeks old. In older birds, scabby tumors on skin, clumsiness, leg paralysis, cloudy eyes w/frozen irises, rapid weight loss, followed by death. There are four main forms the Marek's can take: ocular (in the eye), neural (causing paralysis), cutaneous (tumors forming on skin), and visceral (tumors forming on internal organs) Cardinal or diagnostic signs: Cancers can be diagnosed in the laboratory. Cause/s: Viral. Marek's disease virus (MDV) or Gallid herpesvirus 2. Communicability: Yes. It is very contagious and can be passed from bird-to-bird through feather dander and in used litter. It is inhaled in fine particles. It survives for many months in dust. Some strains are especially virulent and can overcome vaccination. Communicability to humans: No. Incubation period: 14 days, but outward visual signs may take longer to become apparent Latent: Yes. Chickens who survive are carriers. However, most chickens probably have been exposed to Marek's disease, but in most, their immune systems can successfully fight it off. If they become stressed their immune response may be insufficient to fight it off, and they can become sick. Endemic: Yes. Marek's is ubiquitous all over the world. Home treatment and/or prevention: Prevention: Vaccination. In vaccinated flocks exposed to Marek's, only about 10% will contract the disease if exposed (primarily to virulent strains). Vaccination also reduces the amount of virus shed in dander. We recommend you have your chicks vaccinated for Marek's disease. For best effect, make sure newly vaccinated birds are kept away from possible exposure to Marek's (in an enclosed brooder, for example) for one or two weeks until their immunity fully develops. Treatment: Almost all chickens that contract Marek's will die. If you wish to try to nurse a bird, though, your job will primarily be to make sure the chicken continues to eat and drink. That said, consider carefully that you are not simply prolonging suffering. This is a difficult, personal choice, and we empathize with anyone having to face that decision. Veterinary care: There is no treatment for this virus. Recovery: Unlikely, but we have read reports of sporadic recovery. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Lymphois leucosis, botulism, star gazing, Newcastle, others.
  • Airsacculitis disease
    Airsacculitis--or inflammation of the air sac--can be caused by many different bacteria and will present symptoms in fowl that look something look bronchitis or pneumonia in humans. There are many other respiratory illnesses that present similar symptoms, however, so it's always a good idea to get a veterinarian's assessment to make sure you have the proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your bird. Read on to find out more: Airsacculitis Also called Air sac disease, air sac infection, air sac syndrome, sac disease Prevalence Common General signs - Coughing, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, weight loss or stunted growth, ruffled feathers, difficulty breathing, clogged nares, rattling breath, lethargy, and (for mature hens) a drop in laying Cardinal or diagnostic signs - Generally occurs in younger birds, 6 - 12 weeks old. Post-mortem: Air-sacs, throat, and nares filled with congestion Cause/s Various bacteria infect air-sacs, including E. coli and Mycoplasma. Air sacs are a part of a chicken's respiratory system, which is rather different than the respiratory systems of mammals. In birds, for example, the respiratory system helps to regulate body temperature; also, they have no diaphragm. Air sacs move air through lungs in a one-way direction. Birds' lungs are comparatively small, and through a complex process the air sacs help to keep the air in birds' lungs more oxygen-filled. That means birds can breathe at higher altitudes than mammals. That is helpful to high-flying birds, but probably less helpful for ground-dwelling chickens... save those in high-altitude places like Silverton, Colorado. Communicability Very communicable between birds. Exact mode of communicability depends on the particular bacteria infecting the birds. Communicability to humans Humans don't have air sacs. However some bacteria causing the illness can affect humans, such as E. coli. Practice good biosecurity. Incubation period One to three weeks, varying depending on the infecting bacteria Latent In some cases, yes. For instance, M. gallisepticum is carried by survivors and can infect other birds. Endemic Yes. Bacteria that can cause this disease are commonly found in most environments Home treatment and/or prevention Sometimes this illness follows vaccination for other respiratory diseases, or in concert with them. In other words, infection from another illness can move from bronchial passages to air-sacs, for example. So keep your brooder and coop dry and as dust-free as possible, make certain your birds have plenty of fresh air and don't get chilled or over-heated. Veterinary care Antibiotics are sometimes quite effective, but you'll need to have your bird examined for a few reasons. One is that you'll want a firm diagnosis so you'll know what respiratory disease your bird has, and another is that there are other illnesses that can occur at the same time as airsacculitis, and you'll need to know if your bird has more than one illness. Finally, what antibiotics to use will depend on the bacteria causing the infection/s. Some will be effective, while others will just case further stress on the system without helping. Recovery This is a serious illness, but about 2/3 of the birds should recover---more with prompt care. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Chronic Respiratory Disease, coryza, gapeworm, IB, CRD, and other illnesses affecting the respiratory system
  • Salpingitis disease
    If your hen lays a lash egg (something you won't soon forget--they're pretty gross!), you can be pretty sure that she has Salpingitis, meaning her oviduct is infected. This is really bad news for your hen and may be fatal, and she could continue to be a carrier even if she recovers! Read more to find out more about this disease: Salpingitis Also called Inflammation of the oviduct, infection of the oviduct Prevalence Common General signs: No or mild signs in adult birds, including lethargy, loss of appetite, drop in laying, yellow poo, wheezing, coughing, sneezing, discharge from nares or eyes, or other general signs that a hen doesn't feel well, such as staying away from the flock or in the coop. Cardinal or diagnostic signs: Lash eggs. A lash egg is less an egg than an egg-shaped exudate (a mass of cells and fluid that has seeped out of blood vessels or an organ, especially in inflammation) consisting of thickened pus and other materials. Cause/s Salpingitis is not itself caused by one specific bacteria. It is a condition that can be caused by other systemic bacterial diseases, including Fowl Cholera, MG (Mycoplasma ), E. coli, or Salmonella when they occur in the oviduct. Communicability Yes, in the sense that the bacteria causing the infection is communicable (see specific entries below). However, a hen with salpingitis from Salmonella will not necessarily communicate the ovarian infection even if the Salmonella is communicated. Communicability to humans Some bacterial diseases that cause Salpingitis---Salmonella, for instance---can be communicated to humans. Incubation period Depends on the bacterial cause. And in fact, if a hen is ill with E. coli, it may be some time before the infection passes to her ovaries---or never. Latent Dependent on the bacteria causing the condition. For instance, with Fowl Cholera (Pasteurella) and Mycoplasma, recovered chickens can be asymptomatic carriers. Endemic Yes. Home treatment and/or prevention Prevention: As for the individual illnesses, there is no way specifically to prevent those illnesses from resulting in ovarian infection, but prompt veterinary attention when you notice a hen is ill is always a good idea so the illness doesn't progress or communicate to others. Treatment: No home remedies Veterinary care Your vet will be able to make a firm diagnosis and recommend treatment options based in the specific infection your hen has. Contact your veterinarian for more information. Recovery Salpingitis producing lash eggs is usually a fatal condition. Recovery is rare, and because in some cases hens can be carriers for life, recovery can even present problems. Please consult with your vet about your hen's chances of returning to health, and being able to safely return to the flock. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Salpingitis shares general symptoms with many illnesses, but the lash egg is diagnostic of an ovarian infection.
  • Blackhead Disease
    Blackhead disease isn't likely to actually turn your birds' heads black (thankfully!). In fact, it is much more likely to affect turkeys (wild or domestic) than your chickens. Interestingly enough, in history there were apparently some cases of turkeys whose heads actually did turn black because of this disease. Caused by a protozoan, it's important to keep your flock on a regular worming schedule to protect them from this disease. Blackhead Also called Enterohepatitis, histomoniasis Prevalence Common in turkeys, rare in chickens General signs - Sometimes no symptoms. Other times, lack of appetite, lethargy, huddling near heat source and fluffed up feathers. Loss of appetite, increased demand for water, loss of condition, flushed face. Cardinal or diagnostic signs - Occasionally bloody droppings. Lab diagnosis. Postmortem: sunken spots on liver (look like blackheads), cecal changes Cause/s - Histomonas meleagridis, which are protozoa that occur all over, but especially in soils that are moist or don't drain well. Communicability Yes. It can be spread by wild birds, insects, earthworms, and even by foraging in areas where infected droppings have fallen. It can occur as a secondary issue if your birds are suffering from cecal worms. Communicability to humans No. Incubation period One to two weeks Latent Yes, chickens who recover carry the protozoa. However, this is not a huge danger to healthy birds. You will want to put your flock on a regular worming schedule, though, to decrease the amount of protozoa they're exposed to. You will not want to start keeping turkeys with your chickens, either, as the turkeys are likely to get sick. Endemic Yes. The protozoa causing this infection are found naturally almost everywhere. However, chickens tend to be fairly resistant. If you keep turkeys with chickens (or live in an area with lots of wild turkeys), it's more likely your chickens will catch an infection from the turkeys, who are far more susceptible to this illness. Home treatment and/or prevention Prevention: The protozoa is ubiquitous, and spread by insects and wild birds, so keeping it out of your coop and run area can be difficult. That said, infection is unlikely if your chickens are kept in a clean, dry area, and any infestation of cecal worms is treated promptly. Treatment: None known. Veterinary care Consult a vet to get a firm diagnosis and treatment for any other illnesses, infections or infestations (like worms) that may complicate blackhead or increase mortality. Recovery Some birds--about 1/3--may die, but most will recover. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Many other conditions have a similar appearance to the layman's eye, since the outward signs of this illness are general signs of feeling ill (lethargy, ruffled feathers). Bloody droppings are common with other infections, like coccidiosis and digestive issues. Consult a vet for a firm diagnosis.
  • Pullorum Diesease
    Watch out for Pullorum Disease! Not only can it infect your flock, it can also make humans sick, too. If your flock becomes infected, you will likely need to euthanize them all to keep this highly communicable disease from spreading. Pullorum Disease Also called PD, Bacillary White Diarrhea, BWD, White Diarrhea Prevalence Rare General signs - In chicks: lack of appetite, lethargy, huddling near heat source and fluffed up down. Pain and shrill peeping during defecation. In hens, excessive thirst, shrivelled comb, drop in laying. Cardinal or diagnostic signs - White or green diarrhea. In chicks, white pasting. Mortality is extremely high. Cause/s Salmonella pullorum bacteria Communicability Can be communicated from mother to chick in ovo. Can be spread bird to bird directly and indirectly via feed or litter. Can be carried in by wild birds or by rodents. Can also be spread by and to humans from contaminated shoes or other equipment. Be sure to practice good biosecurity. Communicability to humans Yes. Humans can get infected with this salmonellosis, chiefly by eating infected meat or eggs, especially if they are improperly cooked. Humans can also become infected by using poor biosecurity practices (for instance, coming into contact with infected litter and then failing to wash hands), so be sure to thoroughly wash and sanitize hands after handling birds or equipment. Incubation period A week to 10 days Latent Yes. Chicks and chickens who survive can become asymptomatic carriers. When the latent infection remains in the ovary, as often happens, and chicks produced will be infected. Endemic Yes. This can be carried by song birds such as sparrows and finches. Home treatment and/or prevention Prevention: Buy only from NPIP hatcheries and breeders. Practice good biosecurity. Keep your coop and run clean and dry. Treatment: None. Mortality is extremely high in young birds. In addition, in most states, the disease must be reported to authorities, and the whole flock must be euthanized because this infection is so communicable in birds, also communicable to humans, and can remain latent in survivors. Veterinary care Consult a vet or your local extension agent to get a firm diagnosis and find out what the reporting laws are in your area. Regardless of the requirements of your local laws, though, we urge you to act responsibly and euthanize a flock infected with this illness so that it doesn’t spread to other flocks and pets, or pose a risk to your family. Recovery Unfortunately, this illness usually requires euthanization because it is so dangerous and communicable. Luckily, it is rare in the United States. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Can be mistaken for omphalitis, coccidiosis, and some other types of salmonellosis such as typhoid and paratyphoid. White diarrhea and pasting can also arise in chicks from simple chilling, so can be mistaken for pasting.
  • Coryza disease
    Coryza is the chicken equivalent of the "common cold" - but interestingly enough, colds in humans are caused by viruses, while coryza is caused by a bacteria in chickens. Thankfully, this disease is rarely fatal, and chickens recover from it within a matter of weeks. But it can look like many other respiratory diseases, so you will want your vet to diagnose any ailing members of your flock to be sure you're treating them correctly. Coryza Also called Cold, Infectious Coryza, IC, Roup Prevalence Common General signs - Loss of appetite, drop in laying, loose poo, wheezing, sneezing, or other general respiratory symptoms Cardinal or diagnostic signs - Bad-smelling discharge of various colors (often yellow, grey, brown or red) from eyes and nares, facial swelling Cause/s Bacterial - Haemophilus paragallinarum Communicability Yes. It can be passed from bird to bird in much the same way humans can pass colds to one another. Communicability to humans No. Although it is referred to as a cold, it’s actually caused by a bacteria that is not known to affect humans. (Human colds are caused by various viruses.) Incubation period Up to 3 days Latent Yes. Some chickens can be symptom-less carriers. Endemic The bacteria that causes Coryza is only thought to persist about 3 weeks in the environment outside a carrier. Home treatment and/or prevention Prevention: Disinfect; practice good biosecurity, including a 30-day quarantine when bringing new birds into your flock. Treatment: Coryza generally runs its course in 3 weeks, but if the flock is stressed or dealing with other illnesses or issues, it may take longer to recover. Weak birds may need veterinary care. There is a vaccine for Coryza, but it’s fairly uncommon to have your flock vaccinated. If your flock has had coryza in the past, you may want to vaccinate new birds before adding them to your established flock, since some chickens can be asymptomatic carriers of coryza. Veterinary care Contact your veterinarian for vaccination information. Veterinarians may also prescribe antibiotics for chickens suffering from coryza. Recovery Coryza is not often fatal, and not usually serious. Even so, it can easily be mistaken at home for other, more serious, respiratory illnesses. It’s recommended to contact a vet for a firm diagnosis. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Other respiratory illnesses can be easily mistaken for coryza, including infectious bronchitis, Newcastle, influenza, mycoplasmosis, and others. Vitamin A deficiency can sometimes cause similar signs of illness.
  • Perosis disease
    Perosis is a nutritional deficiency that can cause swollen, twisted, broken, or bowed legs, or loss of color in feathers, the comb, or the roof of the mouth. Thankfully, nutritional deficiencies can be avoided by making sure your flock has free-choice access to complete, nutritionally-balanced feed. Don't just feed them scratch or kitchen scraps; that can cause problems for them later on! Perosis Also called Slipped tendon, chondrodystrophy Prevalence Uncommon in layers, common in heavy, fast growing chicken breeds used for meat production. Signs General signs Swollen hocks, one or both legs twisted to side, appearance of broken or bowed leg/s. In some cases (caused by niacin deficiency) the Achilles' tendon may slip out of place and leg may be held at an odd angle, and the chicken may also have loose droppings. With folic acid deficiency, there may be brittle feathers, depigmentation of feathers, pale mucous membranes in the mouth, and pale comb. With biotin and pyroxidine deficiencies, the chicken may display dermatitis on the legs and feet. Cardinal or diagnostic signs Thickened bones in legs and wings on necropsy Cause/s Nutritional deficiency of choline, manganese, and/or B vitamins (such as niacin, biotin, and folic acid). Communicability Not communicable, but many members of a flock may share this problem if they're on the same deficient feed. Communicability to humans No. Incubation period None, but as a deficiency, it takes some time to develop. In chicks of fast-growing meat breeds, may start around 10 days of age. Latent No Endemic No Home treatment and/or prevention Prevention: Provide a good, fresh, nutritionally balanced feed for your flock. Don't make the mistake of offering something like scratch only, or kitchen scraps only. Treatment: Supplement with bholine, B vitamins, and manganese. Veterinary care A veterinarian can diagnose this problem and suggest good supplements. Recovery Treatment will not correct damage, but will prevent the problem from getting worse or developing in other birds. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Early stages may be mistaken for white muscle disease (nutritional muscular dystrophy), big hock disease (infectious synovitis), spraddle leg, broken limbs, or other illnesses causing leg problems.
  • VVD Diesease
    VVD disease produces twisted leg bones due to nutritional deficiencies or overly-fast weight gain in "broiler" breeds. Thankfully this is rare in backyard flocks that are fed a balanced, nutritionally complete diet, but it is more common in commercial broiler flocks. VVD Also called Varus/Valgus Deformity, Twisted leg, Crooked leg Prevalence Rare in home flocks; common in commercial “broilers” Signs General signs - Leg bone is bent or twisted (not broken). Cardinal or diagnostic signs - Be sure to differentiate this from a leg that is twisted at the joint; in VVD, the bone itself is bent. Cause/s This is common is factory farm broilers, where the bird’s fast weight gain may outstrip what the skeleton can bear. It can also be caused from nutritional deficiencies in young chicks or pullets. For instance, a lack of B vitamins, calcium, or vitamin D can cause the skeleton to be soft. Communicability Not passed from bird to bird, but if your flock is eating the same diet, several might suffer. Some breeds are more prone than others. It’s common in Rock Cornish crosses (meat birds). Among layers, leghorns are more prone. Communicability to humans No. Incubation period No incubation period. This is a deformity that can develop from a number of causes. Latent No. Endemic Not a communicable disease. Home treatment and/or prevention Prevention: Be sure to offer a balanced feed to your birds, and don’t feed too many treats, which can upset the nutritional balance. Allow your birds into areas of natural sunlight so they will have enough vitamin D. Medicated chick feeds with Amprol, designed to help protect against coccidiosis, work by “starving” the cocci of B vitamins. We don’t know of any studies that have shown this can increase the chance of VVD, but it won’t hurt to exercise caution. If you choose to use medicated feed, be sure to keep your birds on the medication no longer than the feed manufacturer recommends for their formulation. Treatment: None. This is a skeletal deformity. However, if you notice this developing in your flock, be sure to check their diet, which may help halt the deformity from developing further. Veterinary care Your vet may be able to provide you with insight into what the nutritional problem may be or make feed/supplement recommendations. Recovery Typically, no. As the bone itself is deformed, there is not a way to correct it, unless surgically… even then, I doubt there are many vets with the surgical experience to correct developmental bone deformities in chickens. In many cases, the chicken can still live a relatively normal life, even with some lameness. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Marek’s Disease and botulism can cause leg paralysis. A slipped tendon can give the appearance of a deformity.
  • Coccidiosis disease
    Coccidiosis is very common in chicks, especially ones that may be stressed from shipping or from being introduced to a new location. You can help by keeping your chicks as stress-free as possible, and by keeping their brooder dry. Some people choose to use medicated feed to combat susceptibility to this disease while the chicks develop a resistance, while others use regular feed and have no trouble with cocci. We discuss medicated feed and more, below: Coccidiosis Also called Cocci Prevalence Very common Signs General signs - Loss of appetite, weight loss or stunted growth, ruffled feathers, lethargy, and (for mature hens) a drop in laying Cardinal or diagnostic signs - Mucousy, frothy, or bloody droppings; hunched stance with drooping wings, fecal smear performed by a vet will show cocci infection. This stock photo shows the typical hunched stance with drooping wings of a young chicken with coccidiosis: Cause/s Protozoa (Eimeria spp). Different species may infect different parts of the gut; some affect the ceca while others affect the intestine. Communicability Very, spread by contact with feces of infected birds, including wild birds. You can generally expect that coccidia are already in your environment in low concentrations. Generally, chickens simply build up a resistance, but young chicks may be overwhelmed before their immunity establishes--especially if stressed from shipping. Older birds are also occasionally susceptible, especially if ill or weakened from another condition, or if a new type of cocci is brought in by wild birds, tracked in from the feed store, or brought in with new additions to the flock, for example. Communicability to humans Although most animals can suffer from cocci, they are host-specific, meaning that cocci infecting your chickens will not be communicable to humans, dogs, cats, etc. Incubation period 4 to 8 days Latent Yes. Chickens may be carriers of various types of cocci even when appearing perfectly healthy, because they have built up a resistance to that particular species. Endemic Yes. Cocci can be found in most environments. Home treatment and/or prevention Keep your brooder and coop dry, as cocci proliferate in warm, wet, or moist places. For baby chicks, some people prefer to use feed that has been medicated with an coccidiostat. However, chicks on medicated feed may still be infected; medicated feed simply reduces the risk of a serious infection, and only for certain species (not all medications are effective against all coccidia). In addition, when medicated feed is withdrawn, a latent infection may become acute. Chicks raised by broody hens on litter generally fare better, since they are gradually exposed and develop immunity quickly. Chicks raised on wire are more susceptible once they have access to pasture, since they will not likely have built up any immunity. Similarly, chicks raised in sanitary conditions on clean litter may struggle once they are exposed in the coop or in the yard, if they have not built up any resistance. When you change your flock’s environment, keep your eyes open for signs of coccidiosis, as they may be exposed to a type they have not built up resistance for. Veterinary care Most farm/feed stores have cocci medications on hand. However, a veterinarian’s advice is usually recommended, especially when the birds infected are already laying. Medications your hens are consuming can be transmitted through their eggs, so you will need to know for how long you must discard eggs before they are safe for you to eat. Your veterinarian may also be aware if any new or more effective medications have been developed, and will know when to prescribe a coccidiostat, and when a cocciocide would be better. Recovery The illness can be quickly fatal, especially in young chicks. However, they can also recover quickly if the illness is caught early, and if the birds are treated according to veterinary advice. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Salmonellosis, blackhead, worms, and other illnesses affecting the intestinal tract
  • Mycotoxicosis disease
    When feed gets wet, it can grow mold or other fungi that can produce toxins that are dangerous or even deadly for chickens. When a bird ingests those toxins, the result can be Mycotoxicosis, which can produce varied symptoms among your flock. The simplest preventative? Keep your feed dry. Mycotoxicosis Also called Aflatoxicosis, Aflatoxicosis, Ergotism, Fusariotoxicosis, Oosporein Mycotoxicosis, other mycotoxicoses (consumption of toxins produced by fungi) Prevalence Sporadic Signs General signs - Various, depending on the type of toxins ingested, but often watery droppings, egg quality issues, lesions, slowed growth or weight loss. Occasional partial paralysis or ataxis. Cardinal or diagnostic signs - Feed analyasis. However, mold can be localized in parts of feed rather than spread out evenly throughout the feed. Cause/s Toxins produced by molds or other fungi growing on grains or feed, including Penicillium, Aspergillis, Chaetomium, Claviceps, Fusarium, etc. Communicability Not communicable bird to bird, but often whole flocks will be affected at once if they're all consuming the same feed. Communicability to humans Not from birds, but occasionally if you are also eating infected or moldy food. Transmission via eggs is rare but does happen. Incubation period No, as this is not properly an infection. Onset can be gradual if small amounts of toxins are present, or acute with large amounts. Latent No. Endemic Yes. These fungi occur throughout the world. Home treatment and/or prevention Prevention: Buy good quality feed that has been stored properly. Store your feed in cool, dry areas. Don't place feeders in places where feed can be rained on, get wet, or be exposed to moisture. Use caution when allowing chickens to access a compost pile, as some foodstuffs may get moldy before properly composted. Don't locate feed beneath watering nipples or near windows where rain can blow in. Keep coop roof in good repair. Treatment: Replace moldy feed with fresh feed. Veterinary treatment Your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics to help ward off illness while your sick bird recovers. S/he may also prescribe activated charcoal and/or vitamin supplements. Recovery Varies, depending on type of mycotoxicosis and how much of the toxin was consumed. Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs: Can be mistaken for other illnesses or conditions with digestive symptoms such as coccidiosis, and some types of salmonellosis such as typhoid and paratyphoid.
  • Chick Illnesses (An Overview)
    When you're worried your new baby chicks are ill, there are a number of things that could be responsible! Here's a quick overview of the most common illnesses, conditions, and issues that may cause you concern with your new baby chicks. It is not an exhaustive list. Please click on the links for more details about each, or browse our longer list of chicken illnesses. Illnesses and conditions common to baby chicks Aspergillosis, or brooder pneumonia - Primary symptoms of this illness are respiratory. Brooder too hot or too cold - If chicks are too hot, they'll be as far from the heat source as possible and may be panting with their mouths open. If chicks are too cold, they may be huddling under the heat source, peeping in distress, and piling on top of one another in order to try to stay warm enough. Read how to keep your brooder the right temperature. for your chicks. Chicks suddenly falling over asleep - Sudden somnolence is fairly normal for baby chicks, like it is for puppies, kittens and other babies. However, it can give you a real shock when they suddenly just keel over, or when you see them laying on their backs with their legs in the air. Coccidiosis - This is a common chicken illness in young chicks that can cause a variety of general symptoms as well as loose droppings. Crossed beak - Baby chicks may sometimes get crossed beaks, where the top and bottom beak don't properly meet up. Curly toes - Neurological symptoms of this chicken illness can include paralysis/partial paralysis, ataxis Encephalomalacia - Symptoms of this vitamin deficiency can include loss of balance, circling, head shaking or tremors, eventually convulsions, and paralysis. Lump on your chick's chest -there is usually nothing to be concerned about in this instance, but read to see when you need to take action. Marek's Disease - Symptoms of this illness can include paralysis/partial paralysis (particularly of the legs), ataxis, blindness Omphalitis/infected yolk sac/ mushy chick disease - This illness causes a variety of different general symptoms like lethargy and loose stools Polyneuritis or "star gazing" - Symptoms of this illness can include head shaking, tremors, convulsions, paralysis of neck muscles Pasted vent - This occurs when dried droppings on a chick's vent keep the chick from being able to defecate. Salmonella - Please note that your chicks don't have to be sick with salmonella to pass it to you; salmonella is found in the feces of all animals, including humans, and including baby chicks, too. If you handle chicks that have been walking around in poopy litter, and you fail to wash your hands before bringing them to your mouth, for example, you could get sick. Read about Salmonella illness, and also about how to practice good biosecurity Spraddle leg - Your chick may have spraddle leg if s/he seems too weak to stand. This is an easy issue to address at home if caught early, so be sure to read more at the link Unhealed navel or umbilicus - Don't mistake an unhealed navel or drying umbilical cord for a pasted vent. Read how to tell the difference. Weak chicks not eating or drinking -Click the link to find out how to help weak baby chicks who are not eating or drinking.
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