Oct 10, 2016

7 Things I've Learned Since Having Chickens

1. Chickens are really easy to take care of. 

We go out once or twice a day to check on them. We let them out of their coop a couple of times a week. While we are out there we make sure their food and water buckets are full, and that's about it. We tell our friends chickens are harder to take care of than a cat, because of the daily check-ins for eggs, but easier than a dog, because there are no walks and no scheduled feeds.

Our baby chicks when we first we got them

2. They have an egg song. 

Sometimes they sing it before they lay an egg or sometimes just after. One day you may happen upon your juvenile chicken squawking away in the nesting bin breathing like she is going through Lamaze and her butt clenching like contractions. The squawking will come and go like contractions come and go. You watch patiently hoping that you will see a chicken laying her first egg! Then, 20 minutes later she will get up and run away as if nothing has happened. And you realize that eggs are coming soon, but not today for that one.

Our nesting boxes- 5 gallon buckets. 
Click to find out how we made them.

3. Chickens first eggs are small.

Some of the eggs were so small we were surprised there was even a yolk, but I learned that eventually they would get bigger and bigger. Each chicken has her own egg style too, we had one hen whose egg would consistently be smaller than her sisters and it was more pink than brown.

Our brown eggs compared to a white extra large egg

4. The shells of the first eggs are harder than store bought eggs.

Those first eggs in particular where like trying to break into Fort Knox! The shells were so hard, so we knew our chicks were getting plenty of calcium. If the chickens have too much calcium the eggs can have "acne" or get bumps on the outside of the shell. If they aren't getting enough calcium the shell won't properly form and it can be more gel like than shell like. Chickens are pretty good at regulating the amount of calcium they need. We feed ours layer feed once they start laying and always have some oyster shell or ground up egg shells if they needed extra. So fortunately we just have thick shells and none of the other issues!

Chickens on the roost

5. You don't have to have them as pets. 

I was afraid that we would lose one of the chicks and/or one would turn out to be a rooster. And eventually they will stop laying eggs and we will need to decide what to do with them. So we decided to that they would simply be "the chickens", no names no individuality, not pets. I did break this rule a little bit, one of our 6 was a little bit smaller than the others and I named her Nugget. She also had some different markings on her. Now that their full feathers have come in, I can't tell which she is. So, once again, they are all the just "the chickens".

Chicken Coop. Click to see how we built our coop..

6. Fresh eggs taste better!

Egg Breakfast

7. Sometimes you get double yolks!

Double Yolk!
Do you have chickens? What have you learned?

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7 things I've learned since raising backyard chickens

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  1. I had to laugh because I didn't know about the egg song when I got chickens. Everyone told me they would be quiet. They are until they lay a egg! Some great observations!

    1. I thought they would be quiet, our neighbor who has lived near chickens wasn't quite as sure. As I type this one is squawking away. It's laying time!

    2. I'm enjoying following your chicken blog/tweets! Hubby and I are off on a chicken husbandry course next week to talk about all the basic do's and don'ts - we've thought about chickens for a while and now think it's time to go for it 😀
      Thanks for sharing your experiences 😊

    3. We took a class before we started and it helped us feel more prepared. They are pretty easy though. We like to say more work than a cat, but less than a dog. Enjoy having them!