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    Chick Days - Tractor Supply Co.

    Chick Days at Tractor Supply Co.

    Live chicks start to arrive at select Tractor Supply stores the week of February 25th and many breeds are available for purchase online year-round.  Breeds vary by store so call ahead to see which breeds are at your local store.  Tractor Supply offers everything a backyard chicken keeper needs to care for their flock, including chicken coops and runs, feed and treats, waterers and feeders, supplements, shavings, and other accessories.  Tractor Supply works closely year-round with most reputable hatcheries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control, the Livestock Conservancy, to ensure Tractor Supply is executing best practices in biosecurity, chicken care and education. 

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    Caring For Chicks At Every Stage

    Preparing A Brooder

    For most of the hundreds of years that people have been keeping chickens, incubating eggs and brooding chicks was the task of a mother hen. She provided the perfect nest temperature for embryos to mature until the magic day when they hatched.  Then she'd provide warmth, protection, and education for her brood.

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    Chicks to 8 Weeks

    Who doesn’t love a day-old baby chick? Their soft fuzziness holds the promise of years of companionship and egg-filled breakfasts. But they are fragile, too - utterly dependent on you to help them survive and thrive their first few days.  Fortunately, taking a few simple steps to prepare the right environment and provide proper nutrition will help them get off to a strong start.

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    Chicks 8-16 Weeks

    When pullets reach 8-10 weeks of age, they enter what might be considered their awkward teenage phase. They still have half their fuzzy down but have full-grown feathers cropping up in bunches, too. With their combs starting to develop, you’ll soon be able to tell your roosters from your hens (or if you accidentally brought home a rooster you weren’t expecting!)

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    Adult Chicken Care

    At four to five months of age, all that care and nutrition starts paying off in omelets and frittatas – your chickens are all grown up and laying their first eggs. Starting at 16 weeks or with the first egg, whichever comes first, it is time to gradually transition your flock to a complete layer feed. Layer feeds typically contain 16% protein and increased levels of calcium, a key nutrient for strong egg shells. 

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    Senior Chicken Care

    Even the hardest-working hens will eventually need a little break. That break often occurs when your hen starts molting, or shedding its old feathers and growing new ones. This typically happens in the chicken’s 2nd year, in fall or winter when the days get short. Although the mess of feathers in the coop may look alarming, this is a perfectly natural process that gives her reproductive system a much-needed rest. The molting process will take 2-6 months, depending on the hen, and there is really nothing you can do to hurry it along.

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    Adding Mature Chickens To An Existing Flock

    From time to time, nearly everyone who keeps backyard chickens wants to add a few birds to a flock. Often, it's because a friend must get rid of his birds or simply to expand the number of hens or add a new breed.

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    FAQs: Salmonella and Backyard Flocks

    All chicks — regardless of the source hatchery — have an inherent risk of Salmonella infection. Tractor Supply Company requires all of its source hatcheries to certify compliance with industry standards such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Poultry Improvement Plan. We also work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other experts and the hatcheries to adopt best practices to reduce the spread of Salmonella infections. We have developed an industry-leading Salmonella awareness program that communicates the importance of following the CDC's safe handling procedures in a variety of ways both in our stores and on our website. For example, we prominently display the CDC's official Salmonella risks/safe handling poster in our stores, provide customers who purchase chicks with a safe handling guidelines instruction sheet and print the guidelines on the take home box for the chicks. We also have brochures in our stores and information on our website regarding the importance of following the safe handling guidelines and taking other precautions to reduce the spread of Salmonella such as segregating new chicks from the rest of your flock for 30 days.

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