Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Top 10 Things City Folk Don't Know About Chickens


If you've read my blog or watched my videos you know I haven't been "country" for very long. I'm still learning as I go, but I find it interesting some of the things I used to think. I'm reminded of some of these things as I talk to friends who still live in the city.

This makes me want to highlight some of the misconceptions that city folk have about chickens. I've had a few good laughs about some of this.

1. "Dude, those eggs are green! Are they ok to eat?"

It's a true story. I gave a dozen eggs to a very good friend. He was happy to have them since he and his family are trying to eat more local and fresh. He didn't open the carton until I had left. He called me up exclaiming that he thought I had given him spoiled eggs. I had to explain to him that certain breeds lay different colored eggs ranging from blues, greens, pinks, and all shades of white and brown. ... And yes, they all taste great. The color does not affect how edible they are.

Daddykirbs Blog: Top 10 Things City Folk Don't Know About Chickens!


2. "How can you be getting eggs without a rooster?"

I actually used to think this too. Several people have asked us this question. The hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs. Their body will produce eggs without a male. Those eggs will be infertile so there is no possibility of hatching chicks. Some people will claim that the eggs taste different when fertile, but I have not noticed a difference.

Daddykirbs Blog: Top 10 Things City Folk Don't Know About Chickens!


3. "Do chickens... You know, have sex?"

Some people believe that chickens are like fish where the hen lays a pile of eggs and the roosters come along and "spray" them or something. Well, my hens probably wish this were true... But no. Yes the rooster does actively "mount" his hens. He can be very aggressive about it, which is why I only have one rooster at a time with my flock of 15 to 20 hens. Those poor girls need a break.

4. "Why are those eggs so small? Can you eat those?"

This is kinda like the question about color. Yes the small eggs are fine to eat. The size of the egg depends on the breed of the chicken. We have a flock do Silkies that lay wonderful small eggs. Even the larger layers will lay small eggs when they are young and just starting to lay, but it doesn't take long for them to start producing larger eggs. I prefer the Silkie eggs for my egg sandwiches in the mornings because one egg is just the right amount of egg one bread. I don't like my egg sandwiches too thick.

5. "Do they lay an egg every day?"

Nope. Most chickens do not lay an egg every single day. Some, however, come close. Things that can cause a decrease in production are; shorter daylight hours, old age, poor diet, broodiness (when the hen won't come off the nest because they wanna be a mommy), molting (shedding) of feathers.

6. "You let them free range? Won't they fly away?"

Yes I do let them free range. This helps them have a more diverse and natural diet. No, they don't fly away. Chickens can fly short distances, but typically stay on he ground. They use their limited ability to fly mostly to get up to he roost at night or to escape predators. Chickens also like to stay close to their coops. Ours usually stay within a two acre range of their coop. The Silkies stay even closer.


7. "Does the egg and poop come out of the same hole?"

This one is pretty funny to me... yeah, because I had no idea until I turned a hen over and inspected for myself. Yes, the egg and poop share an exit hole. Luckily for all of us that's really all they share. Inside this beautifully designed creature their are two sets of plumbing. One "pipe" for the eggs and one for the poop. The tract that delivers the eggs and the intestinal tract are kept separate in the process of laying the egg. It's kinda like two rooms that share one door. When the door is open for one it's closed for the other.


8. "How do you get them back in the coop at night?"

I can't help but chuckle when I tell this story. We went on a short vacation and had a friend come over to secure the chickens in the evening. This friend had no idea how the chickens manage themselves. She told us that she spent hours "rounding up" the chickens. She herded them with her body, tried singing to them, tried convincing them with food.... HaHaHa. We felt so bad that we didn't explain with enough detail that the chickens will do this by themselves. Yes, the chickens go back to the coop on their own. This usually happens right around dusk. If you just give them a little time and space this job is as simple as just shutting the door behind them. But... don't forget! You want your girls to be safe at night from predators that would love an open door.

9. "Wow, I heard that rooster crow. I thought they only did that at sunrise."

Roosters are NOT reliable alarm clocks. Well, at least none that we've had ever are. They sometimes crow in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. I'm talking, like, 2 am kinda dark. They also will be happy to crow all day long in the bright sunlight. I'm sure I could look up a scientific explanation and give you some amazing details that would make me sound pretty smart, but let's just say that roosters love to toot their own horns.

10. "Why do you keep chickens? Why don't you just buy eggs?"

This one, perhaps is a bit harder to answer. It's not that the answer is difficult, but it really is a perspective thing. For me it's about "Where does my food come from?" "What kind of quality and assurance do you want with your food?". So there isn't really a cost savings getting your own eggs. Eggs can be cheap at the store, but if you want good tasting eggs with lots of natural vitamins and minerals... And that you KNOW where they came from, Well, you gotta raise your own. Besides, What could be more fun?

Daddykirbs Blog: Top 10 Things City Folk Don't Know About Chickens!

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