We have raised chickens since before I retired. Now that I am retired I have more time to help care for them. As long as we are living in an area where they are allowed, we will probably continue to raise them. We raise them only for their eggs. We don’t breed them. We don’t eat them. We only have hens, no roosters.
For my ladies (we currently have 8 egg-laying hens) I normally fill the water, fill the food, feed them weeds and food scraps, gather the eggs, clean the eggs, make hard boiled eggs, and talk to them (Often I have to tell them to stop pooping in their food. Do they listen to me? No. Chickens are not too smart).
The chickens are a year round activity. Of course they need food and water every day, and they lay eggs all year long. They don’t lay as many during the wintertime. With our 8 chickens we get about 5 to 6 eggs a day.
We have found that there are many misconceptions about chickens. Here are a few facts about chickens that have surprised a few people:
- You don’t need a rooster for the hens to lay eggs. You only need a rooster if you want chicks. Hens lay eggs regardless.
- A hen can lay only one egg in a day and will have some days when it does not lay an egg at all. The reasons for this laying schedule relate to the hen reproductive system. A hen’s body begins forming an egg shortly after the previous egg is laid, and it takes 26 hours for an egg to form fully. They lay less eggs in the winter than the summer due to less sunlight in the winter. Hens start laying eggs when they are about 4 to 5 months old. They lay the most when they are young and their production decreases with age.
- The color of eggs somewhat depends on the color of the hen’s earlobes. White ear lobed hens produces white eggs, red ear lobed hens produce blue, green, or brown eggs. (We normally have brown egg-laying hens, although we did have some blue egg-laying hens in the past).
- Brown eggs are not necessarily healthier than white eggs. (They just cost more at the store). The level of healthiness depends on how the chickens are raised.
- Yes, chickens do come home to roost. When it gets dark, they will go back to their coop and jump/fly up to their roost. The roost is a pole that we put up horizontally in the coop. The chickens perch on the coop’s roost to sleep. It seems that they do this to get safely off the ground and in a protective building, because, after all, they are chicken.