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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Are your birds show and breeder quality?

You should neve rexpect a cosmetically perfect bird. In fact, you should expect to find some defects in virtually every bird you raise. Just as every child is not destined to become a supermodel, every bird is not destined to win ribbons at shows or be suitable for breeding. Only a tiny fraction of chickens conforms to their breed standard in all respects. We do not represent that every bird we sell is show quality or is flawless. You should receive birds that can be the foundation for a breeding program that with enough time and skill can produce show-quality or breeding quality birds.

Is my breed I ordered in higher demand?

Certain breeds we carry have a higher demand than usual. This can be because of popularity, rarity of bird, flock size or egg lay rates.   So this means for hatching eggs we assess the orders already placed and determine when we can fill it then work on collecting eggs. For babies we set the eggs then it will take at least 22 days till hatch ( quail/20 duck/turkey/guinea 29, goose 34). See more in our high demand policy

Why are your prices higher than a hatchery or my local feed store?

ASeveral reasons! First we know our genetics, backgrounds and take great measures to purchase and raise quality breeding stock. This stock is expensive and a lot of labor.  We have extra labor costs because we are not a huge hatchery – our birds are more individually cared for and require more cleaning  and maintaining. With our pricing we offer our breeders vaccinations, top feed and supplements to produce strong and healthy stock. Second it costs a lot to do farming. We spend  much time, labor and love to do this , and  feel farmers are very underappreciated and underpaid. We want to give you quality, and experience and take a unique, wholistic approach. See our  Farming Practices,  SustainabilityEducation and Wholistic pages of our site.  We also offer our fowl expertise to you for life! Once you purchase birds from us you are part of our family. We appreciate your support.

Do you have any adult hens or ducks for sale?

ANo. We do not sell any of our breeding or laying hens during the hatching season but occasionally we sell a limited number of each of our breeds as adults come October/November.  To be in the loop on the sales of adult hens follow us on Instagram and Facebook , sign up here,– the hens tend to sell out fast!

Can you tell me if my duckling, turkey, quail or guinea is male or female?

A.  Yes and No. No, we sell the ducklings unsexed and if sexed wrong you can damage their reproductive systems, we don’t want to take that chance. Turkey poults are not able to be sexed, it is pretty impossible to tell for awhile. Guineas some can by color . Geese, yes tcertain breeds can be autosexed  generally at birth. Quail – yes at a certain number of weeks.

Do you sex your birds? Can you tell me if they are male or female?

A. Most of the breeds we work with are sold “straight run” which means we cannot guarantee that you will be receiving females. If we do have specific breeds of chicks that we can guarantee to be female, those breeds will be clearly listed on the website (Bielfelder and Cream Legbar). You can also purchase fully feathered birds where you can select for a female with a $5.00 sexing fee agreement. Sexing is never 100% guaranteed. For fully feathered SILKIES are not sexed. AYAM CEMANI is sexed but see the Ayam Cemani information for details.

When purchasing straight run chicks you have a 50/50 chance of receiving males. If you order a straight run breed (like Swedish Flowers) it is good to order twice the amount of chicks as you would like to have hens of. For example, if you want four hens, order 8 chicks and chances are you will receive the number of hens you are after! 

 

Will the post office deliver our chicks to us at our home or do we need to go to the post office to pick them up?

A.  Pick up at the Post Office.  When your order arrives, the post office is instructed to call for pick-upWe put on your shipping box the phone number you gave to us. We recommend keeping close  watch on the delivery and tracking and notifying the post office that you have live birds coming and to call. Delivery can be 1-3 days. for priority mail express, priority express is longer. Be sure you or someone is available for the anticipated day and days around the arrival date.

What is the difference between fully feathered a pullet and a hen?

AAt our farm, a fully feathered bird is a bird we raise from chicks to a certain number of weeks based on full feathering out, so no heat lamp is needed and the bird can go outdoors. A pullet is a young hen not mature but can be starting to lay or older than a fully feathered. A hen is a full grown chicken at a year old.

Can I create an account?

A. Yes you can here. From your account dashboard you can view your recent orders, manage your shipping and billing addresses, and edit your password and account details.

Where are you located and how do I contact you?

A. We are on google search and maps. You can reach us via email at contact@sugar-feather.com, on our contact form, Facebook, Instagram or by phone (802) 560-5606. We are a family farm and do our best to get back in a timely fashion, if not please reach out again.

How will I know the status of my order or when it is ready?

A. So you want to know when will be the big day! We understand lots to plan and prepare. When the time gets close we will send out an email saying “The Wait is Over”. We do this in advance so you can prepare. This is done as far out as we can. If there is an issue this is the time to reach out and let us know, we can always move things back. Then you will receive another email when we are ready to ship. When you receive that email we will be shipping in a week or two. We ship Mondays or Tuesdays. When we ship the order you will be notified via email with tracking number. We will send out instructions to assist in this so you are notified every step of the way. 

Order Information

When is the best time to order chicks?

This will depend on your location, set up, and even personal preference. The most popular time for shipping chicks is in the spring when egg laying is at its peak. If you live in an area with late freezes, you may want to wait until early summer to have your chicks shipped. Those who live in warmer regions can have chicks safely shipped well into fall.

Can you match the price another website farm has?

No, this is because each bird is raised differently and the cost to raise them varies.

Do you offer a catalog?

Yes! Go to sugar-feather.com/latest to get the latest catalog

Why is there a limit on some birds?

To limit demand, we put limits on some to ensure everyone who wants one gets one equally

Why don’t I see a shipping date on my cart?

We use the USPS, and they don’t offer shipping date in the checkout area.

Can I adjust my order after it has been placed?

Orders can be adjusted once, so think carefully on what needs to be added and what needs to remove. You will not receive a full refund for removing birds from any order you place on the site.

Adding animals: We see if we can add items if they are available for the same shipping date. Any request should be added few days before Tuesday.

Removing chicks: You forfeit 50% of the price of the item that you removed from your order. Requests need to be made by Tuesday.

Do you sell hatching eggs?

Yes we do! You can order them in amounts of 6 or half dozen and individually. Check for availability.

Are there breed minimums?

We do not have breed minimums, but we suggest that you include 3 or more for any babies ordered. It is a risk shipping any chicks under 6 and there is no guarantee on them if under that amount

What are your minimums for orders?

A. No minimums for pickups, fully feathered or hatching eggs , chicks/ducklings/keets/poults are a suggested  6 of any combination. Quail depending on age for a minimum. 

Can I make changes to my order or add more birds to my order?

A.  Yes, Please contact us on our contact page with your order number(Important). You can also just cancel the existing order and re-do.

How far in advance should I book my order?

A. As soon as you know when and how many you want to order you should go ahead and place your order. We start taking pre-orders in the Fall for next season/year to be booked and shipped. When you place the order in the notes section please indicate anything you would like us to know. All orders are generally 5-7 weeks out due to time of year, hen behaviors, weather and conditions beyond our control.  Also if a bird is in higher demand and backordered, the wait will be longer. Some breeds (turkeys, guineas, ducks, geese) are seasonal layers.

Can I receive parts of my order if it is ready?

AYes, absolutely! Contact us for this option so we can accommodate your request.

Can I get my fowl right after I place my order?

AGenerally no, we need time to get the fowl ready. Many timeframes for hatching eggs, babies and fully feathered can be seen here. Appointments are required for fowl pickup at the farm. You can also request in the notes section of the order

When will my order be ready?

AOur policy is 5-7 weeks to process in season. We are not a hatchery but a farm who takes special care of our fowl. So when a customer places that order we will start to work on that order,  and we typically don’t have stock readily available. So this means for hatching eggs we assess the orders already placed and determine when we can fill it then work on collecting eggs. For babies we set the eggs then it will take at least 22 days till hatch ( quail/20 duck/turkey/guinea 29, goose 34). Then we give them a week to acclimate. If there are orders ahead those will be filled first. For fully feathered it is those days plus the typical 5-8 week growing period , so roughly 3 months. Some products are backordered and we indicate this clearly on the website.

For Spring 2021 (Season March-May)

All the above apply, however our hens generally start laying in March , this means we wont have chicks till April. We go in orders received so if you have pre-ordered  yours will be filled first . The general timeline above applies but can be extended if there are already orders in place or we have a bird that is in higher demand (Ayam Cemani, Polish, Serama, Icelandic). You can request in the notes section of your order  if you would like your order later, we can  generally accommodate.

For Summer 2021 (June-August)

All information in “when will my order be ready” applies. If we have some orders that are still pending for Spring, those will be filled first.

For  Fall 2021 (September-November)

All information in “when will my order be ready” applies. If we have some orders that are still pending for Summer, those will be filled first.

What does out of stock, preorder, in stock, and backorder mean?

A. Out of stock – the items are not in stock and can’t be ordered or requested.  Preorder – this is where you can order an item in advance before it is released or ready. In stock – this means the item is in stock but our timeframes still apply (we need 5-7 weeks to process). Backorder – this means we have a lot of pending orders , not as many birds and timeframes  can generally be longer. We will be able to fill backorders. Recommend contacting us  if you need more details or we typically indicate the timing on the webpage.

Health

Are you NPIP certified or What is your NPIP number?

Yes, we are NPIP certified. Our NPIP number is #13-37

What is pasty butt in chicks?

Pasty butt is an extremely normal condition for dispatched chicks where droppings stall out and block the chick’s vent. It can happen from pressure, temperature changes, and parchedness. This is effectively treatable yet can cause demise if not dealt with. Tenderly eliminate the stuck droppings with a warm, wetted paper towel. Use cation to not pull the down from the chick’s base. You should be patient as it could require some investment to get the vent free from all stuck droppings. Wipe the region off with a spotless paper towel and apply some vegetable or olive oil to the space with a q-tip to keep more droppings from staying.

What feed should I get for my fowl?

We recommend starting baby chicks out with Sugar Feather Farm chick starter for the first 3 weeks, then switch to our Chicken Grower. Use the Grower Feed until they hit maturation (which is when they start to lay) then switch to Sugar Feather Farm Adult Feed

For game birds:  gamebirds need higher protein when developing. We recommend Sugar Feather Farm gamebird starter,  when they are babies, Sugar Feather Farm game bird grower when they are growing and when adults can switch to our Sugar Feather Farm adult feed. If you are raising strictly for meat production and pasture a different feed regimen will apply. You can reach out for recommendations on that program.

For Waterfowl: we recommend starting baby waterfowl out with Sugar Feather Farm chick and waterfowl starter for the first 3 weeks, then switch to our Waterfowl Grower. Use the Grower Feed until they hit maturation (which is when they start to lay) then switch to Sugar Feather Farm Adult Feed.

What supplies do I need to have ready before my fowl arrive?

Basic supplies for babies: Brooder, bedding like pine shavings and peat moss,, heater, thermometer, waterer, feeder, starter feed, and oregano oil or electrolytes.

Why are my babies dying?

The best thing to do is read through our care guide here

Temperature: Check that the temperature is not too hot/cold and is it being adjusted appropriately for their age. The  area where you have the heat should be 95-99°F for the first day or two after arrival, 95°F for the first week and then lowered 5°F each week following until heat is no longer required. Do not heat the entire brooder, they need to have an area to get away from the heat. We recommend you have food and water on one side and heat on the other. Comfortable babies will move in and out of the warm zone to regulate their temperature. For waterfowl, see their instructions 

Feed: are they on the right feed for their age and fowl type. All types of fowl have different nutritional requirements See our feed line here and we do suggest you start them out on our feed. If not we can help with some ideas. Make sure feeder is kept clean. Coccidiosis is a common issue in young birds and please be aware this can happen. 

 

Water: Their waterer needs to be kept clean and full of fresh water and away from the heat. You can add the Oregano Oil we carry to this water or electrolytes.. 

Brooder: Make sure the chick’s living conditions are kept clean and dry. A dirty, wet, warm environment is prime living conditions for coccidiosis. Be sure that the brooder is well ventilated and free from draft and safe from other potential dogs or cats that could harm them.

Can you tell me what type of fowl I received?

Contact us on support@sugar-feather.com to help you. Send us a picture if you bought it on our farm. If you bought it somewhere else, we have less chance to tell.

Why vaccinate for Marek’s Disease?

AWhat is Mareks disease? Marek’s disease is a highly contagious viral neoplastic disease in chickens. The disease is characterized by the presence of T cell lymphoma as well as the infiltration of nerves and organs by lymphocytes. The related herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT) causes no apparent disease in turkeys and continues to be used as a vaccine strain for the prevention of Marek’s disease in chickens. One or more syndromes occur after infection: paralysis of one or more limbs, tumors, depression, grey eye, unequal size of the pupils and/or immunosuppression. There are a number of other diseases or conditions that could cause these syndromes and it is very hard to determine if Marek’s is the issue at hand. Vaccination for Marek’s is also not a guarantee that the chicken will not get Marek’s disease but symptoms may not show like an unvaccinated bird. We go into more details in our blog article by The Chicken Doc, also in our educational area we have related articles and information as to the WHY and general questions on the subject.

Do you vaccinate your birds?

A. Yes, we vaccinate for Marek’s Disease, #1 killer of chickens with no cure. All chickens are vaccinated at birth here on the farm, this is being a responsible farmer. Pricing for the vaccine is included in the chick’s pricing, no need to pay extra for this service. If you don’t want the  vaccine we can  offer  for baby chicks only. Let us know in the notes section of the order and we will make special accommodations.

How do you raise healthy birds?

A. Our birds are tested by the state NPIP Program twice a year to be free of diseases so we know we are providing our customers with the healthiest birds possible. We also work hard on our breeding program, by selecting birds that have good health and vigor. Any birds who become sick we don’t use for our breeding program.  We also believe in good nutrition by providing top quality feed, vitamins and supplements, designed and recommended by top nutritionists and  Scientists. We breed for health, vigor and adaptation to our environment here in Vermont. Since we have weather extremes here our birds tend to do good in all climates.  We also vaccinate for Marek’s Disease the #1 most contagious disease that has no cure .

Shipping

My items are scheduled to ship today but I have not received an email

After we have sent the fowl, later that evening a tracking number is provided in the completion email. You should also have received a notification through our shipping provider service – PayPal or Shippo. Shipping days are usually Tuesdays so have patience for us to enter this information in the evening.

I did not receive an order ready to ship email or text message

If you think you didn’t receive a ready to ship email for your order, check the spam folder with the email you registered with, many times the email was entered incorrectly. Also check  your account  dashboard to see orders in the orders section on the website. For text messages we auto text if you have provided a number that accepts texts.

If you still do not see a confirmation email, email us at support@sugar-feather.com

I was notified my order was changed during shipping

If you received an order that was suddenly changed, its because something happened to the fowl  or something changed at USPS.

Tracking Information

Many times the tracking number is not updated during that day or night. This doesn’t mean your items are lost or have not left Vermont.

How about Hawaii and Alaska?

Alaska yes, not to Hawaii at this time

Can you ship your products to Canada?

Not at this time

Do you ship through FedEx or UPS?

We can only ship via the United States Postal Service. Both FedEx and UPS do not accept live animals through their service.

Cost of your shipping? Why do they vary?

Shipping costs are dependent on the type of fowl or items purchased. We don’t control the shipping costs, this is determined by USPS. We do include in the cost the shipping box fees. 

What days are fowl and hatching eggs shipped typically?

A.  We ship Monday and Tuesday. Shipping towards the end of the week is not good for the birds or eggs an they could potentially sit over the weekend.

How do you ship your fowl?

A. We ONLY ship through the US Postal Service. Other carriers do NOT handle fowl shipments. For hatching eggs we use Priority Mail option, and you can also select priority express if you want it guaranteed by a certain date. for all live fowl we use Priority Express with extra insurance that is included in the shipping price, if anything extra is needed we will them need to reach out for additional payment.

Do customers pay for shipping?

A. Yes, internet orders automatically figure your shipping for you (we don’t control the USPS prices). The shipping charge covers postage to your Post Office, box, padding, heat, food and special grow gel for all live fowl orders. If any additional items are needed we will contact you.

Can we have our birds shipped or can we pick up?

AYes we offer on farm pickup or ship via USPS. When you are placing your order you indicate on the checkout pickup or ship and can put any notes you would like to share. We don’t meet up or personally deliver. Please note all birds are shipped directly to the post office, not to your home.

Status Questions

How long do quail take to process?

So generally, all orders take 5-7 weeks to process from the time you order. This can fluctuate based on season, higher demand breeds or fowl behavior. We are a farm that takes a wholistic approach to our fowl. We naturally let them be who they are, and express themselves. This is one of the reasons you choose us. See our Quail care guide 

How long does fully feathered take to process?

So generally, all orders take 5-7 weeks to process from the time you place the order. This can fluctuate based on season, or fowl behavior. We are a farm that takes a wholistic approach to our fowl. We naturally let them be who they are, and express themselves. This is one of the reasons you choose us

How long does babies take to process?

So generally, all orders take 5-7 weeks to process from the time you order. This can fluctuate based on season, higher demand breeds or fowl behavior. We are a farm that takes a wholistic approach to our fowl. We naturally let them be who they are, and express themselves. This is one of the reasons you choose us

How long does egg orders take to process?

So generally, all orders take 5-7 weeks to process from the time you order. This can fluctuate based on season or fowl behavior. We are a farm that takes a wholistic approach to our fowl. We naturally let them be who they are, and express themselves. This is one of the reasons you choose us.

How long do ducks take to process?

So generally, all orders take 5-7 weeks to process from the time you order. This can fluctuate based on season or fowl behavior. We are a farm that takes a wholistic approach to our fowl. We naturally let them be who they are, and express their “fowlness”. This is one of the reasons you choose us.

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