Rivertown’s poultry, duck, and gamebird season starts in early Spring and ends in the Fall. Please check back in the spring for the seasons chick list.
NOTE: We sell chicks quickly, and the list provided does not mean that they are still available. If you have questions about availability please call the store at 707-762-4505.
Here is a short list of what we have coming this year, but please check the current list often by clicking on the pdf image on the right to see what has arrived for it is first come first serve.
Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rock, Buff Orphington, New Hampshire Reds, Black Austrolorp, Cuckoo Marans, Welsummers, Black Sexlink, Golden Sexlink, Khaki Campbells, Rouen, Pekin, Blue Swedish, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Asst Silkie Bantams, Standard Asst. Cochin, Specked Sussex, Crested Special Bantam
* Game birds such as ducks, Guinea hens, and other fowl are often available by special order. Most of the poultry chicks come from Privett Hatchery in New Mexico and are vaccinated for Mareks disease.
Essential Care Items
You need the correct containers for chick starter mash, grit and water. For housing your chicks you can use a commercial poultry brooder or use a galvanized tub or trough with a screen for the top. You will need this for the first six weeks of your chicks life. Most people use a 250-watt bulb for heating the homemade brooders. Due to the threat of accidental fires it is important to be very careful when using a 250-watt bulb to heat a homemade brooder.
Living with Poultry and Ducks
Chickens and ducks can live anywhere from 5-10 years depending on the quality of the life provided. Most hens stop laying eggs around three years of age. Your new chicken or duck will require a lot of care in the first four weeks. After four weeks of age they can move from their baby box to their adult cage. Be sure to check if these pets are legal in your city.
For the first four weeks provide a draft free container with a screened lid. For maximum comfort, line the box with pine shavings about one inch deep. This should be changed daily or as needed when wet. Warmth is the key to keeping your chicken or duck happy and healthy. Temperatures should be at 90-95 degrees for the first week and lowered by 5 degrees each week until they are six weeks old. The temperature should be controlled by a 250-watt bulb hung over the screened lid at 18 inches above the lid. Chicks will hover near the heat source if they are too cold, and will move away from the heat source if they are too hot. By the time that your chicks are four weeks old they will no longer need the warmth provided by a bulb. They are now ready to roam around outside have access to their safe haven, whether it is a store-bought cage with sleeping quarters, a chicken coop, or some other time of homemade poultry habitat. Keep your chicken or duck in their new sleeping quarters (preferably with a door) at night away from drafts and predators. Your cage can be made out of poultry mesh or wire, but be sure that ½ the cage has a solid floor for protecting their feet (a piece of wood works well).
Feeding your Baby Chick
While your young chicks need to be fed chick starter mash, your older chickens can be fed either one type of poultry mix, or a combination of any of Rivertown’s chicken pellets, crumbles, mashes or scratch. Rivertown also carries a organic poultry feed that is popular with many of our customers. When bringing home a new chicken or duck they will be stressed from the move and from being handled. They can at this time exhibit signs of dehydration and weakness. To reduce the amount of stress that your new chick is feeling you can dip their beaks gently in water it help them find their water bowl faster. For quick energy, try adding a small amount of sugar to their bowl of water. You can also add vitamins to your chicks water.
It should be noted that Poultry carries a lot of dieses that do not affect humans, other than Salmonella. Be sure to wash your hands after handling poultry, and before and after handling eggs, or cleaning their coop. Try to only wear shoes in their coop that you do not wear in your house.
In the event your chicks or chickens become ill or pass unexpectedly you can contact the California Department of Food and Agriculture at 916-900-5002, or visit their website for more information on their free to low cost testing services. They will ask that you overnight the deceased poultry unfrozen on dry ice to them for examination.
Avian Influenza is a very serious threat to both back yard and commercial flocks. Their website provides real time threat updates, and information about possible problems in your area.
Poultry that has not passed on yet, can be dropped off for testing as well with arrangement with the testing facility. UC Davis will provide a humane euthanasia before preforming the narcoscopy.