Buckaboo Farm
FAQ

FAQ


I receive LOTS of questions from all my fellow crazy chicken people, so I’ve decided it’s time for a Frequently Asked Questions page! Some of the questions are related to pricing, availability, and ordering. Others are related to chickens, genetics, and super geeky science stuff. Part of my goal in running this little specialty chicken farm is to help educate other chicken lovers, like myself. Hopefully you will find answers on this page, as well as on other parts of the site. Please note that I tend to answer the same questions a few times daily, so I would be very grateful if you try to find answers here first. Thanks friends!


FAQ Table of Contents


First and foremost! Which chickens lay dark brown, olive, green, blue, or cream eggs?

We love this question here at Buckaboo Farm. I mean, look at how beautiful all those egg colors can be! Each individual hen will lay the same color her whole life, but the exact shade will vary a bit from day to day and throughout the season. For example, black copper marans lay the darkest eggs at the beginning of their laying cycle, and they progressively become lighter throughout the season. They will always be brown, however. The following chart will help you figure out which Buckaboo Farm chickens lay which colors.

You can find all of these breeds on our shop page. Or, here are some quick links to Sky Eggers, F1 Olive Eggers, Olive Egger Backcrosses, Chocolate Eggers, Silkies, d’Uccles, and Barnyard Mixes.


General Farm Questions

1: What are Buckaboo Farm’s main breeding goals?

To be honest, we don’t get this exact question, but I think the answer will be helpful. Our main goal at Buckaboo Farm is to share the joy of chickens with our customers by offering healthy, fun, high quality chickens in a way that benefits both our customers and our family. We have collected specialty breeds…breeds that make us smile…from some of the best breeders in America for the last few years, and have been working very hard to continue to improve the genetics of our flocks, as well as keep them healthy! Since our goal is more about fun than showing we do not necessarily always breed towards SOP (standard of perfection), or show quality. Many of our birds are show quality, but this is not our top priority. For us, fun chickens are the kind that have sweet personalities, cool or unique feathers, and colorful eggs.

Please note that one part of our goal is that sharing our chickens will benefit both our customers and our family. We believe that any business venture should be mutually beneficial. At Buckaboo Farm we work many, many hours, and spend a lot of our resources to provide you with these animals. This business is part of how we provide for our family of 6, so if your main goal is to buy inexpensive chickens we may not be the right fit for you. This actually leads us right into the next question!

2: How does Buckaboo Farm determine prices?

This is a very important question, and I’d like to start out by saying that it is really ok if our little farm isn’t the right fit for you. There are some great hatcheries and breeders out there, and we believe everyone should do their research to find the best fit for themselves and their own particular context!

Pricing at Buckaboo Farm depends on breed, gender, and age. Our most inexpensive birds are straight run blue and olive layers. Some specialty breeds or traits, like feather type, are either more rare, or harder to breed for genetic reasons, and the prices reflect this. For example, the lavender feather gene is recessive and requires some special attention to ensure the health of the birds, so opal legbars cost a bit more than other sky eggers. They are also difficult to find, and it has taken us a couple of years to hatch, raise, and work out some of the kinks we experienced with some of our original group of babies.

Our most expensive birds are DNA tested silkie or satin girls near the point of lay. This is partly because of the DNA test, and partly because high quality silkies are harder to find and harder to breed (we will explain this in more depth later on this page). Many of our customers ask for coop ready girls. We only offer coop ready girls if we happen to have some available, but please note that it requires a lot of time and resources to raise chicks. For this reason, coop ready girls of any breed we offer will cost more. You can save money by ordering them younger. Please know that we run this business with a lot of love and care for our birds. If you account for the amount of hours we are investing we actually get paid less than minimum wage!

3: What can you expect when you order from Buckaboo Farm?

We do our very best to provide you with great customer service. Integrity is one of our main priorities in how we treat our customers. That means that you will receive what you ordered, and if we accidentally mess up we will do our best to fix it by replacing, refunding, or helping troubleshoot any issues you may have in the first couple weeks after receiving your birds. If you ordered females and we guess wrong on the gender we will refund or replace your bird. Most places will not guarantee gender, but we do. That doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean we will fix it if we are wrong! Since we are selling live animals there is a lot that we cannot control, but we will do our best to give you a good start in your chicken raising experience.

Although we will help get you started with a few questions regarding your particular order, Buckaboo Farm does not offer free training on how to raise chickens. You need to do your research and be ready to care for these animals. We offer a lot of information right here on the site, so please read the description of the birds or hatching eggs you order, so that you know what to expect. We offer online courses on how to raise chickens. You can find those at this link. Buckaboo Farm also does not provide free veterinary care for your flock. We are not trained veterinarians, so please find an avian vet or text Dr. Theo if you need medical advice for your flock. You can reach Dr. Theo at (949) 416-3954.

4: How and when can I order chickens or fertile eggs from Buckaboo Farm.

Over the last few years our farm business has grown immensely and we are doing our best to streamline all of our systems, in order to keep up with demand and create a positive and easy experience for our customers who want fertile eggs or chickens. We do not offer waitlists, except for DNA tested silkies and satins, because it was just too hard to keep up with the level of inquiries we were receiving. Since we are a small business, working with live animals, there are just too many factors involved for us to take pre-orders and manage waitlists. Instead, we now offer all of our ordering online, and you can find weekly updates on what’s in stock on our shop page, as well as Facebook and Instagram. When we mark a bird or eggs in stock you can order online, then we will arrange a time with you for pickup or shipping!

If you want a DNA verified female silkie or satin please send us a message at Tiffany@BuckabooFarm.com. Let us know your first and last name, the best way to contact you, how many birds you want, and what colors you prefer. The waitlist for DNA tested girls is very long…at least a few months, so we do not take a deposit up front. Remember that this waitlist is only for the female silkies and satins. Other breeds can be ordered as they become available on our site.

5: Does Buckaboo Farm give farm tours?

No. Buckaboo Farm does not offer farm tours for a couple of reasons. Biosecurity is of utmost importance to us, so although you can see a lot from our front walkway, we cannot let you off of the pavement into the garden and chicken area, or the brooder and hatching sheds. This helps us keep outside germs from joining our flocks, and it is not negotiable. Chickens are susceptible to all sorts of diseases, and we do our best to keep them healthy. The other reason is time. We field thousands of questions and inquiries every year, and many of these are requests to tour the farm. It is a full time job just to hatch and raise chicks and run the business, so we simply do not have the time to offer tours.

6: Can I choose my specific birds when I come for pick up?

No. The answer to this question is also no, for the same reasons listed in the previous question. We do not let people handle our birds until they have paid for them and are taking them home. It reduces the amount of outside germs coming into our farm. We also don’t have time to let you hand pick your birds. If this means you need to go elsewhere we do understand, but honestly you should question a breeder who allows you to handle the bird before buying it. It just isn’t safe.

Since our farm is closed to visitors and we do not allow hand picking of the birds, we do offer a lot of information right here on our website. We work with each customer to ensure you are happy with your order. If you are concerned about temperament, know that we only keep sweet roosters, and we see this sweetness carried down into their offspring. If you are on the waitlist for silkies or satins we will send pictures of the birds when they become available for your approval, but for the most part you won’t need extra pictures of the chickens we offer, because there are a lot already here on the site.

7: What can I expect at pickup?

If you order for pick-up we generally pick a time that works for you, then pack the birds with food, water, and a heat pack if needed. We then let you know where you can find them when you get here, so you can grab and go at your leisure. As previously mentioned, we cannot let you tour the farm, and we do not offer free training on how to raise chickens, so please do your own preparation beforehand. Although we are happy to answer a few questions, our time is limited. If you don’t have time to read up on the breeds you’re buying then you also won’t have time to care properly for these animals, and it is best for you to wait until you are ready to invest more time. Part of caring for live animals is doing the required research, so please read up, whether it is on our website or somewhere else. There are some great chicken keeping groups on social media, where you can find like minded people and lots of answers to your questions. You may want to take our online chicken keeping courses, as well.

8: If I get a rooster will Buckaboo Farm take him back?

The answer to this question is sometimes yes, and sometimes no, so bear with me while I explain. If you ordered straight run chicks you will very likely end up with some boys. In this case we do not take them back. If you ordered females and end up with an accidental male we will take your boy back and give you a female. Please note that we cannot place your boy back in with our flock for biosecurity reasons. We have a great little separate pen to hold him in with some of our other male grow-outs, until we can either rehome him or take him to our favorite rooster rescue in Long Beach.

9: What does Buckaboo Farm do with males that hatch?

This is such an important question, and rest assured that we have prayed and worked diligently to come up with a good solution for what to do with all the extra males! The reality is that we cannot find homes for all the roosters we hatch. We do find homes for some of them, but others either go to the rooster rescue, or we give them to a falconer, who humanely puts them down and feeds them to his birds. They may live short lives, but they do not suffer, and their lives are not wasted. One day we hope to own more land, so we can have a bachelor pad and actually process our extra roosters for meat. For now, however, we are happy with sending them to the falconer.


General Chicken Keeping Questions

1: How do I get started on chicken keeping?

We are so very happy that chicken keeping has become so popular in recent years. More people are realizing the many benefits of raising chickens…benefits to individuals, the animals, and the environment. If you are just starting out on your chicken raising journey we encourage you to do some research, so you can make the right decisions for you and for the birds you bring into your home. Look into what types of breeds are available, and determine which ones would be the best fit for your particular needs and circumstances. Our online courses will cover everything you need to know as you embark on this journey, but we also encourage you to join chicken groups on social media, and check out Backyard Chickens. Remember when you join these online groups you will hear from a variety of people with different perspectives. Take the good, leave the bad, and don’t engage in petty arguments. For the most part I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the people I’ve met in chicken groups, and have learned a ton there!

2: What should I do if my chicken is sick or injured?

You really have 3 options if your chicken is sick or injured. You can talk to an experienced friend who may be able to help, do your research on the web, or call an avian vet. Please do not call Buckaboo Farm with health related chicken questions. We are not trained veterinarians. If you received your chicks from us within the last week or 2 we will certainly help troubleshoot issues during that time. After that it is up to you to do some research and do your best to help your chickens. Our favorite avian vet comes to you. His name is Dr. Theo Derksen, and his cell phone number is (949) 416-3954. You’d be shocked at how many pictures of chicken poop and other random questions we receive, frequently from people who aren’t even customers. Please be respectful of our time and know that we do not offer free veterinary care, partly because we are not qualified, and partly because we do not have the time. If you’d like to pick our brains and learn some of our health related chicken tricks you can take our online courses. We’ve included most of what we know in those!

3: I’ve just hatched chicks. How do I know their gender?

Determining gender on your baby chicks is a fun game that all chicken keepers have gotten to play. Most chicks’ gender does not become clear until they’re at least 4 weeks old. Many take months to be sure. Comb type is a big factor in telling gender at a young age. If your bird has a straight comb the male combs will usually grow thick, tall, and red when they’re just a few weeks old, while the female combs stay small and light pink. Beware that there are some late blooming male combs, and overly large or red female combs, especially with black copper marans, so sometimes an early guess turns out to be incorrect! Males will also grow bigger, redder waddles than the females at a very young age. It is much more difficult to determine gender on chickens that have combs that stick close to their skull, like the walnut or rose comb. For birds with combs like that you may have to wait a few months to be sure. Eventually boys will grow big tails, thick legs, and pointy saddle feathers (feathers on their lower back that point towards the tail). Silkies are particularly tough to know gender on, which is why we choose to DNA test them in order to offer confirmed females.

There are certain combinations of genetics that can produce chicks that are sexable at hatch. For example, if you have a barred female bred to a barred male all of the male offspring will have a white spot on their head at hatch, meaning they will be barred, and all the female offspring will have a solid color on their head at hatch, meaning they aren’t barred. The chocolate color gene also has certain combinations that can help you determine gender at hatch. When you can tell gender at hatch based on particular combinations of parental feather color or feather pattern genes the term we use is “sexlinked.” Sexlinked chicks will show their gender at hatch, but they do not breed true, meaning that the next generation will not be sexable at hatch.

When it comes to determining gender at hatch our favorite breeds are what we call “autosexing.” Males and females of autosexing breeds, such as legbars, look different at hatch. They also breed true, meaning each generation carries on the ability to tell gender at hatch. This is partly why we love our legbars here at Buckaboo Farm!

Do some research on the particular breed you’re trying to figure out, and look for pictures of males and females to help you. You may find surprisingly helpful little nuggets of information, such as the fact that welsummer boys start to get black feathers on their chest early one, while females have salmon colored chests. Some birds can be feather sexed, but we’ve found this method to be very unreliable. For example, there are some lines of black copper marans, where the males feather slower than the females, but in other lines they feather the same. The shape of the wing feathers is totally unreliable in our experience. Sometimes you just have to wait. It’s hard, I know!

4: Why did my chicken suddenly stop laying eggs?

We receive this question a LOT in the fall, and you don’t need to worry if your chicken has stopped laying eggs during that time. The short answer is that chickens need to take a yearly break from laying eggs. It can be hard on their bodies to pop those things out, so most breeds will stop laying sometime in the fall, and pick it up again in late winter or early spring, as the days get longer.

Sometimes chickens will also take a break during the spring and summer, especially if the weather becomes extreme. On our farm the silkies and black copper marans tend to lay eggs for a few weeks, then take a break for a few weeks. Sometimes they go broody during their break, meaning they try to sit on eggs and hatch babies. Sometimes they’re not broody, but need to refill their internal egg making supplies.

Of course if your chicken is old or sick they may also stop laying eggs. They tend to lay well in the first 2-4 years, slowly tapering off as they grow older. If you think your chicken is sick or egg bound (has an egg stuck inside) do some research or call a vet to help her.


Questions About Silkies and Satins

1: Why are silkies and satins more expensive?

Silkies are one of the most popular breeds of backyard chickens for a good reason. They are fluffy little love balls that look like a cross between a bunny and a chicken! There are a few reasons why silkies are more expensive. It actually starts at the very beginning, with the eggs. Silkie hens tend to be broody for more than half of the year! They are great mamas, but being broody means they are not laying eggs! It’s not uncommon for most of our silkie hens to be broody at the same time, so that severely limits the amount of eggs we can hatch. When the girls are laying the eggs are harder to hatch than other types of chicken eggs. This means you not only get fewer eggs, you also have a lower hatch rate.

The second reason why silkies are more expensive is because the chicks, like the eggs, are very sensitive. They cannot handle fluctuations in temperature, and they require supplemental vitamins and probiotics in their water. Even if the chicken farmer does everything right sometimes silkie chicks just die for unknown reasons. Any little issue that would be ok for other breeds can kill a silkie chick. Silkie chicks remain sensitive for 10 weeks or more, and it takes them a long time to grow strong. We work harder to keep our silkie chicks healthy, but lose significantly more silkie chicks than other types.

The third reason why silkies are more expensive is because they are very hard to sex. Most chickens only take a few weeks to determine gender, but for silkies you either have to do a DNA gender test, or wait until they crow or lay an egg! Most people understandably want females, so the DNA test is an extra cost.

The fourth reason why silkies are more expensive is that if you want a super fluffy one you can only find that from a good breeder. The most poofy head poofs have to be bred on purpose. There are basically 3 levels of quality for silkies. Hatchery quality silkies generally have silked feathers, but very small poofs. Standard silkies are supposed to have black skin, walnut combs, and 5 toes, but hatchery birds may or may not have those attributes. I’ve also noticed that hatchery silkies have about half the amount of feathers on their legs than the higher quality ones. The second level of silkie quality is breeder quality. That’s what you will get from Buckaboo Farm. Our birds are bred to be super fluffy, beautiful pets. Some combinations of feather types and colors are rare and fun, even if they aren’t necessarily considered to be standard show silkie features. The final level of silkie quality is show. Show quality silkies are bred to conform to the standards for the breed, and they have to have been shown. True show quality birds cost significantly more than what we charge at Buckaboo Farm.

If you are hoping to be able to show your silkies from us please let us know, and we will do our best to get you a bird that doesn’t have any automatic DQ’s, like the wrong kind of comb. The good news is that our customers who have shown our birds have done well and won some prizes!


As you can see in the picture to the left, there is a big difference between hatchery and breeder quality silkies! The buff silkie is from a local hatchery. She is cute, but barely has any crest. She does have fluffy legs, but I personally love that huge poof of the white one on the right. Her name is Elsa. There’s nothing wrong with buying hatchery quality silkies, but if you want better quality they cost a bit more.


2: What is the difference between a silkie and a satin?

Norbert, my beautiful paint rooster pictured above, is considered a satin chicken. Satin refers to his smooth feathers, but other than the smooth feathers Norbert is the same as a silkie…fluffy legs, walnut comb, bantam (small breed), big head crest, fibromelanistic (black skin and internal organs), and 5 toes. Some of my fellow crazy chicken people feel very strongly that satins should be considered a separate breed from silkies. Personally I feel fairly ambivalent over this issue. If you want to think of silkies and satins as separate breeds, just know that the only difference is that satins have smooth feathers and silkies have fluffy silked feathers. Norbert used to be in with my white, silver, and black silkie pen, because genetically he is heterozygous for the feather type gene. That means he has one satin gene and one silked gene. His phenotype, or appearance, is satin, because the satin gene is dominant over silked. This matters because it helps me know what to expect from Norbert babies. Since all of the girls in that pen that were with him are silked the babies were be 50% silked and 50% satin. All of them received a silked gene from mom, and either a silked or satin gene from Norbert. I’ve recently moved Norbert in with my fun and funky satin pen, with unique feather patterns and colors, because I wanted to hatch more silkies in his former pen!

You can tell quickly if a chick will be silked or satin. In the above pictures the first baby has rounded edges on its wing feathers, so it is satin. The other has frayed ends on its wing feathers, which means it is silked. On a side note, feathers on satins and silkies can also be frizzled, which means they’re curly at the ends.

3: Can silkies and other bantams (small breeds) be kept with full sized chickens?

This is a good question, and honestly it really depends on your flock and your particular set up. Some flocks do well with bantams and full sized chickens mixed together, and others do not. If you plan on adding bantams in with your full sized flock make sure that you have a back up plan in case they don’t get along. Sometimes the bigger chickens will bully the smaller ones. A few things that can be helpful if you want to combine various sizes of chickens are to raise them together from the time they are very young, give them lots of space in their coop and run, and offer multiple feeders and waterers.

4: How do the needs of silkies and satins differ from other chickens?

Silkies and satins have the same basic needs as other chickens. There are a few differences to be aware of, however. First, the chicks are much more sensitive than other breeds. We recommend keeping silkie chicks inside a controlled climate, with a heat plate, for longer than others…around 10-12 weeks. Second, silkies do not always want to roost at night, like other chickens. Many of them are happy to snuggle up on the floor of their coop, so make sure they have a safe space to do so. Finally, silkies don’t see as well as some other breeds, because that huge head floof gets in the way. This makes them less aware of predators, so they should not be allowed to free range, unless you are with them for protection. Other than that, silkies require the same care as other chickens!

5: Can I eat silkie or satin eggs?

Yes! Silkies and satins lay small cream eggs that are very edible. They don’t lay as many eggs as other breeds of chicken, so they’re known primarily as an ornamental breed that makes for a great pet. They will give you some food, though, if you’d like to eat the eggs!


Questions About Colored Egg Layers

1: Which breeds lay speckled eggs?

You are most likely to get speckled eggs from our F1 olive eggers and backcross olive eggers, but sometimes the blue eggers get white speckles, and black copper marans tend to have dark speckles, as well.

2: What is an olive egger backcross?

We’ve written extensively about this on our olive egger backcross page, so for this question we will refer you over there! Here’s the link!

3: How do I get grey, pink, or purple eggs in my basket?

Grey, pink, and purple eggs generally show up because of a heavy bloom on an otherwise blue or brown egg. Bloom is a protective film each hen adds to the outside of her egg to keep it safe from dangerous microbes. This is why unwashed eggs are shelf stable for about a month! Heavy blooms can create beautiful speckles and/or a creamy tone to the egg color. For example, if a green egg has a heavy bloom it can sometimes appear grey or taupe. If a dark brown egg has a heavy bloom it can appear purple. Tan eggs can appear rosy when they have a heavy bloom. Sometimes the bloom adds white speckles to an egg!

How much bloom a hen adds to her egg is partly genetic, but there’s a lot about it that cannot be controlled and it is frequently unpredictable. For example, we absolutely love our welsummers from Alchemist Farm! They lay the most beautiful dark brown eggs with large speckles! Only one, however, lays a thick bloom that makes the egg appear pink or purple. Most breeders, including Buckaboo Farm, will offer you the possibility of a heavy bloom laying hen, but cannot guarantee it. If you’re hoping for some heavy bloomers from us we recommend olive egger backcrosses, both blue and brown, and black copper marans. Some of our marans come from heavy bloom lines, like the purple copper marans from Crosshatch Farm! Many of our backcross birds have isbar genetics from Alchemist Farm, and those girls tend to lay heavy bloom. Below we’ve included a gallery of some of our favorite heavy bloom eggs!

Please check back for more FAQs…this page is a work in progress!