Feb 262012

13 Frequently Asked Questions About Chickens


Curious About Raising Backyard Chickens?

1. How long does a chicken usually live?  On average, your hens will live from 6 – 8 years but they can live up to 10 years. Egg production slows and eventually stops as they get older.

2. How long does it take for an egg to hatch? 21 days – give or take a day or two.

3. What is the difference between white and brown eggs?  The only different in the color of the egg.  The taste or quality doesn’t differ at all. But, what you feed your chickens and how you care for them does make 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? Don’t worry.  Your chickens will gradually migrate back home as it gets dark.

5. Are hens as noisy as roosters? No.  Hens are actually pretty quiet unless they are scared or under attack.  On the other hand, roosters can be very noisy which can really upset your neighbors.

6. Which animals will injure or kill chickens? Unfortunately, the list of chicken predators is long.   The most common predators of backyard chickens are raccoons, dogs, foxes, owls, hawks and coyotes. Any of these predators will eat your chickens if they are given the chance which is why your chickens need to be safely locked up each and every night. If you allow your chickens to free range, be sure that they are behind a fence that will stop predators, like dogs, from getting in.

7. Do I need a rooster for hens to lay eggs? You DO NOT need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs, but they wont be fertile. If you intend to raise chicks, you will need one.

8. How many chickens do I need to provide eggs for my family?  You need about 2 hens per person on average. But, it you normally do a lot of baking or have a family that really likes eggs, you should probably have at least 3 hens per person.

9. Can I get just one chicken? No, you should not get just one. Chickens are flock animals and they do best when kept at least in pairs.  Also, a single rooster will run a single hen ragged with his sexual habits. A rooster is best kept if you have a flock of at least 8-10 hens so he can “spread the love.”

10. Can I have more than one rooster? I will say “Yes” but only if they were raised together and you have the correct hen-rooster-ratio.  I have also found that you should not lock up more than one rooster in a chicken coop because you run the risk of one of them killing the other.  I just had this happen a few weeks ago.  I put a  young rooster in with an older rooster and I found the older rooster fatally injured the next morning.

11. Can I save money raising my own chickens and eggs? I doubt it, but if you want healthier meat and eggs, raising your own is the way to go.

12. How long before my chickens begin to lay eggs? Generally speaking, they will begin to lay eggs at 5-6 months of age.

13. What is a capon? A capon is a castrated rooster. A capon will usually grow larger and will have a higher fat content than a normal rooster at butchering time. They are raised to be roasting chickens and because of the larger size and higher fat content, they are self basting.

These are commonly asked questions about raising backyard chickens.  CLICK HERE to get more answers to raising backyard chickens.



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