Busting Chicken Myths Left and Right

I've had chickens for just over 4 weeks now. This makes me somewhat of an expert on the birds, of course. Mostly because I'm far, FAR more educated on chickens now than I was a month ago. And because I have so much new found knowledge, I feel the need to share it with you. Here is what I've learned:

Chickens don't read books.

I know you're shocked. I was. Kind of. I was shocked to know that chickens don't know what's IN the books. I read a lot before getting chickens. I mean, I read everything I could on chickens for days. I read two entire books, every internet article, and a whole lot on Pinterest because it's a wealth of information to be had at your fingertips. I even talked to some chicken-owning friends, because real life experience is wisdom.

When I read, I learned that chickens like to roost on the highest possible place that they can. We placed two perches for the hens to roost on in the coop. One high and one low. The first night our chickens were a part of our family, I went up to the coop at night to see for myself that they were all safe and sound and not being ripped apart by weasels or foxes. Because I'd read that that happens, and I have to be vigilant. There were no weasels or foxes, nor were there chickens roosting on the top perch. There was A chicken. One lone hen was on the higher bar, and eight were lined up wing to wing on the lower one. There wasn't enough room for another hen on that lower bar, so the tenth chicken was sleeping on the ground. I read that chickens do not, ever, sleep on the floor.

Chickens don't read books.

I read that chickens can share nesting boxes, so there's no need to have one for every hen. We made 6 boxes for the 10 chickens. The silly chickens use two of the six boxes. We reconfigured the bins so that there are 3 on the bottom and 3 on top since they were using the two lowest bins. They still only use the original two. If chickens are in the two preferred boxes, hens that need to drop an egg will do so on the floor. The books say that if you want to encourage chickens to lay eggs somewhere (like a nesting box) then you can put eggs in the box. They said that hens have the mentality that if it's a good place for one chicken to lay an egg, it's good enough for any chicken. Despite placing eggs in various nesting boxes, our chickens use the original two, or the floor.

I have also learned that spending their entire lives in a barn will make city chickens out of farm birds. My persnickety hens will go nuts over the leftover fruits and veggies that I toss to them every few days, but they will turn up their wee beaks at a worm. The expression on their faces is one that clearly says, "it's moving! That's sooooo gross."

I have decided that not only do my chickens not know what the books say about them, but they're abnormal chickens.

And then there are all sorts of other fun things that I'm learning as I'm going. I have a daily "Weird Things I Google" list that's growing very quickly. Recently I've Googled "why does my chicken have blue legs" and "do chickens have afterbirth when they lay eggs?" The answers to those two are "I'm pretty sure it's just a pigment thing" and "no. Which means we have no IDEA what that stuff was on the outside of that egg."

Raising chickens is kind of like raising kids. You can read all you want, but that doesn't mean you'll be educated. It pretty much means that you've read a lot.

1 comment:

Flea said...

Chickens are odd birds. Heh.