What to look for when buying chickens.
There are a few very simple rules to follow when buying chickens, which can make all the difference.
- Take your time to find a reputable breeder. It’s all too easy to get excited and rush of to the first or nearest one. The trouble is, you might then find yourself in some dreadful place, where the birds are cramped and dirty, mite-ridden and feather-pecked and you end up buying birds just to rescue them. This would not be the best start to poultry keeping. Don’t get yourself into that position.
- Take a look at the animal husbandry. Are the coops clean? Do the birds have easy access to food and water? Are the feeders and drinkers clean?
- Take a look at each bird that you are interested in and make sure it has bright sharp eyes.
- Make sure the nostrils are clean and do not have any discharge coming from them.
- Check that the back end (vent) is clean .If the chicken has a dirty vent it is often a sign of a sick bird or one with worms.
- Part the feathers around the vent and take a minute or two to have a good look for lice on the bird. Take your time as lice are very small and you need to stand and stare for a while before you see them moving.
- Take a good look at the legs. Older birds have thicker rougher legs, whereas if the bird is young and healthy the legs will be clean and slim and shiny. (It’s not uncommon for people to try to sell older birds and say they are young).
- Check that the bird is bright, shiny and active in its appearance. If the bird has fluffed up feathers and is sitting quietly on its own away from the rest of the flock, it may well be sick and you should not buy it.
Do remember that when you are buying any birds there is always a risk. When you move them, they have to build resistance to any new bugs on the new land they will be living on. Also, the move itself is a very stressful occasion and stress can weaken birds and make them more vulnerable to disease. So it's important to start with healthy birds that can cope with the move, not ones that will spread disease to birds you may already have. These simple rules should help you to have happy healthy birds, which will give you years of pleasure and lots of eggs.