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Written by Carole

backyard chickens

  1. Chickens have got to be the easiest, most forgiving, creatures to manage.
  2. Hens do not need a Rooster to lay an egg.
  3. A hen is called a pullet until it is a year old; when they are a year old they become hens.
  4. Chickens keep clean through preening and dirt baths.
  5. Chickens are social birds.
  6. Hens (Pullets) start laying eggs at about six months.
  7. Chickens live approximately 8 to 10 years depending on their environment.
  8. Roosters don’t just crow at dawn, they crow all day long!
  9. Roosters cannot crow if they cannot extend their necks fully.
  10. A capon is a castrated rooster.
  11. Chickens that lay brown eggs have red ear lobes.
  12. There are more chickens in the world than people.
  13. Too many roosters in the same coop can be a problem.
  14. Young roosters are called Cockerel; older than a year they are Cocks.
  15. Chickens aren’t real happy when they molt; in fact, they get real crabby not to mention they don’t look very pretty!
  16. Straw is the best kind of litter for the coop; it is absorbent and sweet smelling.
  17. A chicken can lay more than 600 eggs in her first two years.
  18. Eggshells have a natural outer coating that keeps bacteria out.
  19. Encourage hens to lay in the nest box by placing a golf ball or a plastic egg in the nest.
  20. Chickens need between 14 to 16 hours of light each day to lay.

Hope you enjoyed the list. Please share your little known facts if you have some and I will compile them and add an additional post.

Thanks for visiting…

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59 Responses to “Little Known Facts about Raising Chickens in Your Backyard”

  1. I love this photo!!! And all the facts too. This would make a great painting.

    sandy

    thanks for your visit…and comment.

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  2. I HAVE 37 CHICKENS AND 7 OF THEM ARE ROOSTERS AND NOT ONE OF THEM LOOK ALIKE .I STARTED RAISING CHICKS AND DUCKS WHEN I WAS 5 I WILL BE 11 IN JULY I HAVE 6 DUCKS AND 2 MORE ARE COMING ON MONDAY THEY ALL LIVE VERY HAPPILY IN THE BOTTOM OF MY BARN WE HAVE A MAN COMING TO HELP MY PARENTS EXPAND MY OUTSIDE COUP 3X IT SIZE NOW THEY HAVE 2 POOLS AND A FEAD BUCKET WITH NO END THEY ARE ALL MY BABYS AND EVERY YEAR WE HATCH OUT MORE LAST YEAR WE HAD 10 BORN IN OCTOBER MY MOM SAYS NO MORE BUT WE CANT GET RID OF THEM THEY ARE SO CUTE THANKS HANNAH

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  3. Hannah, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your love of raising fowl with us. I understand your fondness for them because the more chickens I get, the more I want!

    Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

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    Sophia M Reply:

    Carole,
    You have great facts about chicken. Will you help me with something here?
    My mom has purchased a small island overseas. No mortgage.She wants to use 10 acres for something good that is fun to deal with and brings money to the the family.
    I offered to raise pets for meat such as poultry, pigs and sheep
    But more I research, more I understand that chicken is easiest one. I don’t know if it can bring much money though.
    P.S. The maintenance there is costy. So we want to raise pets for sale to cover our costs and still make profit

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    Carole Reply:

    Sophia, In my experiences with chickens there is little profit but lots of enjoyment.

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    Stacy Reply:

    Carol, My sister in Hawaai is thinking of raising chickens..she recommended I read “Pastured Poultry” and “You can Farm” by Joel Salatin.. He does approach the subject in a very practical way…great info!
    This may be great for Sophia

  4. A very interesting compilation of facts indeed!
    Especially those brown egg laying chickens of #11.
    I didn’t know hens had ear lobes?

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  5. Grandmother Wren, I should have taken a close up of a chicken to point that item out. I will do so in a separate post. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Also thanks for visiting and commenting!

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  6. I learned a little about the chicken! Thanks for participating in Learning n the Great Outdoors.

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  7. Terrell, Thanks for visiting and commenting. I hope you come back soon!

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  8. I am new to chickens (I had some as a child, but didn’t pay enough attention to the details), and I’m wondering if I have a rooster to two in my flock. So far, no crowing, but one really looks a lot like a rooster.
    I bought two nine month old hens (or so I was told), but they won’t mix with my 10 week olds yet, so we have them separated. Do you have photos of a nine month old barred rock? I keep thinking mine is older than what I was told.
    I’m going to explore the rest of your blog now. :) Great photo!

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  9. Angelnina, Thanks for stopping in and commenting. I answered your questions via email. Hope you visit again soon!

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  10. I just recently started accumulating hens and Roosters and have found that I love these animals. My husband made me a chicken coupe but I have noticed that my rooster does not crow. Is there a reason for this? Do they have to be a certain age? How can you tell how old they are, is there something to look for? I would also like to know what is the best type of hens for laying eggs that are best for eating? Thanks so much. I loved the fact article, I learned alot already.

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  11. Raquel, Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Even though I answered your questions via a separate email I will respond for everyone else to read also. In my experience with roosters, I find the crowing depends on the breed. I have had some start at about 4 months of age and others later.

    The chicken breed series I have been writing on an ongoing basis highlights some excellent breeds for good egg layers. I personally have Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes, and Barred Rocks and have been very pleased with the production. In my opinion you can’t get a bad chicken egg. Some may be smaller than others but still good.

    Good luck with your new chickens! Hope to hear from you soon in another blogpost in the near future.

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  12. Why do smaller chickens peck the rearend of the larger chickens and make them bleed. How can you stop it. Thanks.

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    Stacy Reply:

    I just found your page and was reading the ongoing questions and answers…we finally got some peeps and they are now 6 weeks old…I am loving them more all the time, I have also read that if you can keep them entertained they are less apt to peck each other or other bad habits, so we put strings of cotten twine suspended over their current box and out in the coop..they absolutely love tugging on the string, if you keep raising the hieght of the string as they grow they keep stretching and jumping for it..I like to think they are more athletic! They also love having an old beat up mirror to look at..just be careful with sunlight reflecting, sharp edges etc.

    my question is when do I start taking them off starter feed and onto layer scratch and misc food?

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    Carole Reply:

    Stacy, From everything I’ve read most say to start giving Layer when the hens are approx. 5 months old or at point of laying an egg. Personally I feed Flock Master from Purina which has a higher protein to all ages and then when the hens start laying I add Layena to the mixture. This would not be a typical mixture for a backyard flock but it is what I do for my flock of Brahmas which are very large birds.

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    Stacy Reply:

    Thank you so much! I am so happy to find your web site!
    I will be a regular visitor.

    Forrest Reply:

    Hi, Carole: The change in feed was precisely what I was researching. If I read your response correctly, you begin providing Flock Master from Purina at about 5 months old, but did not elaborate on how you “add Layena to the mixture.” I have Light Brahmas (6), and would be interested in what porportions you add Layena to Flock Master.

    Re-reading your post, I see you do not wait 5 months, but feed your birds Flock Master at all ages until they start laying, then switch to adding Layena to the mix. Is this correct?

    What percentages or porportions of Flock Master and Layena do you feed after the hens start laying?

    With a small flock, do you have suggestions?

    Thanking you in advance,

    Forrest, (as in Gump).

    Carole Reply:

    Forrest, Because of the variety of ages I have while raising chickens, I feed Flock Raiser and at around 4 months I add Layena. My mixture is 1/2 Flock Raiser and 1/2 Layena. Occasionally I will add some scratch to the mix (just for something different because there is no protein benefit) and then I give one scoop of flock raiser, one scoop of layena, and one scoop of scratch. Hope this helps you in your pursuits to raise chickens.

    Forrest Reply:

    Thanks, Carole, This was exactly the information I was seeking. I guess sometimes the scratch keeps the birds from getting bored. They like it, but derive no nutrients. Thanks for the tremendous help. If I ever acheive success, I’ll write a column, (I’m a writer), and praise your suggestions.

    Forrest

  13. Hi I love this site. I will be moving into Sarasota county Florida in a few weeks. I would like to raise a small flock of chickens. How do I find out what the local regulations are for this type of animal? Are there certain ordinances that don’t allow them? What agency do I contact? I have friends here in NY where I live that have a large coop and I have taken care of them while they are out of town and I now have the bug. I really want a hen house of my own!! Any suggestions??

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  14. Ron, Chickens are notorious for pecking at each other when something looks out of place to them. I don’t know if there is a way to make it stop but from what I have read others recommend adding something in their coops/chicken runs to keep them from being bored. Some use a bale of alfalfa. This should keep their attention on scratching and not on pecking.

    Pat, Check with someone the city and county ordinances concerning livestock regulations. I’m sure if you call the county courthouse someone will help you find the information you need. If you are moving to a subdivision and it has a homeowners association, you will need to check with them also. Good luck with your move!

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  15. Is there any way to discourage a roosters crowing? We have a rooster who starts crowing at about 5;00 a.m. and corws all day. From about 5:00 to 8:30, he crows about every MINUTE, without stopping! I’m wondering if I bought a fake owl, one of the roosters predators, and mount it near the coop, will that discourage him from making so much noise, or will that make it worse?
    Thank you.

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    Carole Reply:

    Gillian, Personally I don’t know of any way to discourage a rooster from crowing. Mine crow day and night and usually in response to another that they heard from a distant farm. I haven’t tried the fake owl thing but who knows, it may work. What it might do in the beginning is upset your coop and cause a reduction in egg laying due to stress from the chickens if the rooster is in an alarm state for a long period of time. Just my thinking but not from experience.

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    Forrest Reply:

    I noticed at the beginning of this site a note:
    9.Roosters cannot crow if they cannot extend their necks fully.
    I am not sure what one could do to prevent a rooster from extending their necks fully, but velcro comes to mind. I know it sounds like a silly idea, but if a rooster is prevented from fully extending their neck?????

    Perhaps someone out there has a good idea?

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  16. I am new at raising chickens. I have 9 hens (I think). They are still too young to tell if I got any roosters or not. I have just put them out into a coop (they are 6 weeks old). When can I
    start giving them greens from the kitchen? I have heard they
    love lettuce, potato peels, etc. Any info will be most
    appreciated.

    Thanks
    Debbie

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    Carole Reply:

    Debbie, I start giving mine a little extra at about 5 to 6 weeks. Mine love tomato peels, cucumber slices, sometimes lettuce, etc. From what I have read it is not recommended to give your chickens potato peels, something about them being in the nightshade family and chickens are not supposed to have them. I wrote about this in a comment to someone else so I will find it and link it here as soon as I find it.

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  17. we have gotten 2baby chicken they have there feathers already they have there little wings i just hope there chickens what can i feed them this is my first time raising a chicken are they friendly i have a blck one and the other one is yellow

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    Carole Reply:

    Paula, I always start my new biddies out on chick starter. You can find this at your local feed store. Good luck with your new baby chickens!

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  18. I had 25 chickens a few years ago; did well had plenty of eggs. we orderd a new batch of chickens and added some ducks. The ducks were so much fun to watch when they started to hatch some more ducklings.The problem is we havn’t had any consistent amout of chicken eggs since. So this year we butchered the chickens, and ordered a new batch. The same thing had happened with the chicken eggs, there are none. Can any one help? -Mary

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  19. I have 16 chickens, all hens. I have had them for about 2 years. I was getting anywhere from 6-10 eggs a day. About 3 months ago my friend brought me down some guinieas to help with the ticks. Since then my egg production has decreased. I am lucky to get 1 or 2 per day. My chickens had free range but recently built a pen behind the coop due to them getting on my porch and roosting there. I have separated the chickens and guinieas but the guinieas hang around the cage. I believe my chickens have everything they need to keep laying, fresh water, feed, light. I am lost as to why I am not getting as many eggs. Is it the guinieas? I thought by now they would get used to them. What else can I try. My friend is coming to get the guinieas hopefully in the near future. Do you have any suggestions?

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    Carole Reply:

    This time of year most chickens slow down greatly in the production of eggs. I have 18 layers and am getting about 5 eggs a day right now. My green eggers are producing one a day if I am lucky! Hang in there. In my experience it is the change in the weather, along with the decreasing of light, that causes their slow down. I find it usually turns around sometime in the middle of January. Hang in there, they will be back to normal soon.

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  20. i have a rhode island red rooster who is about a year ol now and lives in the house with my wife and i as a family pet. he lives amoung the other animals we have so hears my question is there a way to groom a roosters nails or talons so that they are not sharp? because he has a tendancy to attack the other animals and we don’t want to see them get hurt as well as us too of course because we handle him very often.

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  21. How can we tell how old our chicks are? They are now fully feathered except for a bit of fuzz around the neck. The heads feathered out this week. We got them about three weeks ago as fuzzy chicks. i have read that we need to change from chick feed to pre-laying feed at some point.

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    Carole Reply:

    I am not an expert by any means but experience tells me yours are about 4 to 5 weeks old. Usually a baby chick is fully feathered by that age.

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  22. i just love reading everything you say.I have one question for you and i really want chickens but my parents think their smelly and they dont want any is there anything you might know that might help me change their minds?

    thanks in advance

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    Carole Reply:

    Maygen, I don’t have much problem with the smell unless it rains. The water tends to make everything mush and I am unable to control it. But normally I don’t have any problems with smell but I do use the DE to help with the fly problem and I clean my coops frequently. Maintaining a clean coop is a must to keep the smell down.

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  23. Carole do chickens carry samanela? Can you get it by petting them and fron their egg?

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    Carole Reply:

    Maygen, That is a question I would have to research because I don’t know.

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  24. thx carole for all your help and if you gave anything else that will help my ears are open to your opioin

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  25. Another little known fact : If you let your chickens into your lovingly cared for flower garden they will scratch, dig and eat pretty much everything in sight until you are left with quite a lot of mud and several holes.
    Don’t ask me how I know! ;-)

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  26. dear carole
    thanks for the info. you answered most of my questions in the 20 facts list. quick question do layers molt in first year?

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    Carole Reply:

    Anna, Pullets do not usually moult the first year but after that you can expect it every year after they reach one year of age.

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  27. one of my hens feathers are falling out what can i do.

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    Carole Reply:

    Marguerite, Not sure how old your hens are but if they are over a year old they are probably molting. This is normal and you need to continue feeding them daily to help them as they shed the old and bring on beautiful new feathers.

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  28. Hi love your info….my question: I have 1 rooster 7 1yr old hens and2weeks ago we added 8 biddies. I have 1 hen that went broody and is nesting on 4 eggs the same time we go our biddies and since my other 6 hens only laying 1 or 2 eggs day. Could the introduction of the biddies have anything to do with their egg production? We have nice huge coop and seperate brooder my husband and I built and they can see each other just can not get to each other yet. Any info greatly appreciated.

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  29. hey i got 8 rodeisland red and i want to thank you for youre awsome advise and tip but i have questions can you answer them?

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  30. i wanted to know if you can tell if there ready to lay eggs

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    Carole Reply:

    Bob, Rhode Island Red’s usually start laying at about 5 months old. In my experiences I notice their combs start getting a darker red color. Thanks for visiting the blog and hope I helped in some way.

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  31. My chickens started lay very big eggs thanks :]

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  32. Thank you for sharing this list

    #19 Encourage hens to lay in the nest box by placing a golf ball or a plastic egg in the nest.

    Is something I was curious about..I have some old golf balls I can place in their nesting boxes.

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  33. im having trouble getting them to eat all thier laying mash. they seem to only want the whole and cracked grains,and leave the powdery mash. it seems to be affecting thier egg production. does anybody have any ideas?

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