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Raising Specialty Poultry

In addition to the basic chick care information provided these additional tips and information should be helpful if you are interested in raising game or heritage breeds.

Bantam Chickens

  • Other than smaller space requirements, bantams require much the same care as standard size breeds.
  • Smaller and lighter, bantams are better at flying, making them more difficult to contain but more adept at caring for themselves.
  • Bantams are more susceptible to hawks and snakes.
  • Their speed makes bantams excellent for insect control.
  • It takes 2-3 bantam eggs to equal one standard egg.

Heritage and Game Chickens

  • Some heritage & game breed chicks require higher protein in the first eight weeks for optimal growth. We recommend a minimum 24% game chick starter, changing to 20% starter weeks 9-12 and 15% grower after week 12.
  • Not bred solely for traits beneficial to commercial production, heritage breeds can take longer to fully develop.
  • Heritage & game breeds are typically more hardy in backyard flocks.


  • Turkey poults require high levels of protein to grow properly. We recommend a 24% game chick starter for the first 6 weeks, changing to 20% in week 7, and 15% grower/finisher after 12 weeks.
  • Turkey coops should include at least 6' of space per turkey.
  • Hold off letting your turkeys free range until they are at least 8 weeks old.
  • Chickens have the potential to carry Blackhead disease which can be deadly to turkeys. Owners raising both should be aware and educate themselves on prevention.


  • We recommend 20% chick starter for the first 10 weeks, switching to 15% grower weeks 10-18, and 16% layer after 18 weeks.
  • Geese do well in a variety of barnyard environments and usually get along well with most other animals.
  • Geese typically do not like to be handled, but herd very easily if necessary to move them to a particular area or enclosure.
  • Geese have extremely good eyesight and memories. They love routine and make excellent "watchdogs."
  • Geese are excellent foragers, loving to graze on grass and bugs, but require feed to supplement their diet.


  • For keets (baby guineas) we recommend 24% game chick starter for the first 6 weeks, changing to 20% starter weeks 7-12 and 15% grower after week 12.
  • Keeping guineas inside their new coop for 6 weeks before allowing them to free range helps establish it as their new home.
  • Guineas voraciously eat insects (including ticks) and weed seeds, providing the pest control benefits of chickens without scratching which can damage plants.
  • Guineas are highly active and move in "swarm" or "school" like behavior.