Chickens 101



1. What is the average life span of a chicken? 6 - 8 years. In rare occasions you will have one that will make it up to 10 years. Egg production slows as they get older. In fact, hens lose about 1/2 of their production after just a few years.

2.
How long does it take for a chick to hatch?About 21 days.

3.
What is the difference between white and brown eggs?  Color. There is no other difference as far as taste or quality. The care and feed of chickens is what makes a difference. Generally speaking, the darker the yolk, the better as far as taste and healthiness.

4.
Will chickens come back to their coop at night? Yes, chickens will always come home to roost.

5.
Are chickens noisy? Hens are actually pretty quiet unless they are alarmed or being attacked, but roosters can be very noisy. If you have close neighbors, a rooster will probably be quite annoying.

6.
What type of danger do other animals pose to chickens? The main issues will come from raccoons, dogs, foxes, and coyotes. Any of these animals will make a meal of your chickens if they get the chance. It is always a good idea to shut up your coop at night to prevent your chickens from being attacked. Hawks and other raptors can also be a problem, especially for younger chickens.

7.
Do I need a rooster for hens to lay eggs? No. The hens will lay eggs, but they wont be fertile. This means that they will not turn into a baby chickens.

8.
How many chickens do I need for eggs? 2 hens per person is about right. If you do a lot of baking or have a family that really likes eggs get 3 hens per person.

9.
Can I get just one chicken? It is best to have a minimum of two, as chickens are social birds and do best with at least one buddy. Avoid having just one hen and one rooster as the rooster will probably wear out the hen with his sexual habits. A rooster is best kept if you have a flock of at least 6 so he can "spread the love."
 
10.
At what age do hens start laying eggs?Hens will start to lay eggs at about 5 months of age.


11.What is moulting? Every year, chickens will go through a process of replacing old, worn out feathers with new ones. This is called moulting, and can last anywhere from 10-16 weeks. It usually happens late summer or early fall. Hens will not normally lay eggs during this period and are susceptible to disease and illness during this time.


12.What is a broody hen?A broody hen is a bird that, due to hormonal changes and behavioral tendencies, has decided that it is time to set on eggs and incubate them until they hatch. A broody hen will often stop feeding and drinking. They also become very protective of the brood nest and eggs.


13. How do you stop chickens from eating their eggs?  Unfortunately you can't. Once they start they will not stop. You will need to remove the chicken that is doing it because the others will also start to do the same.


14. Do I need to add artificial light in winter to keep hens laying? It will help, chickens need 16 hours of light to keep laying at peak levels.


15. There is a spot of blood in the egg, what is wrong with it and is it safe to eat? A "bloody egg" or blood spotted egg is a relatively common thing that most of us have seen before. While it may look disgusting, it is perfectly safe to eat. It occurs when bits of tissue or blood  become molded with the egg as it passes through the oviduct. 






Answers to those frequently asked questions about raising chickens?