When we first looked into buying a house, I didn’t have any dreams of having backyard animals. However, when we looked at OUR house, there was a chicken coop in the backyard. I knew when we closed that we had to fill it with some fluffy friends! This was five years ago now, and these are some silly but true facts I learned as a new chicken mama.
1. You don’t just wake up to eggs every morning.
I really thought that every morning I would go to let out my chickens and collect my eggs and that would be that. I guess I thought that all chickens laid their eggs at night. However, chickens actually lay their eggs throughout the day. Some lay at 7 a.m., and some lay at noon.
I had no idea, until having chickens, that you could just leave unwashed eggs out on the counter. Unwashed eggs last an average of two weeks at room temperature and three months or more in the refrigerator! They have to be unwashed because they have something called a bloom on them that protects them from going bad. You can test if an egg is still good by putting it in a bowl of water. If it floats, it’s bad. If it stays at the bottom, it’s good. Fun fact: Store-bought eggs are usually about two months old by the time you buy them.
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3. You don’t need a rooster for eggs.
This may be obvious to some, but I thought that you needed a rooster to have eggs. You don’t! You need a rooster to have chicks, but chickens will lay whether a rooster is present or not. This is awesome for city chickens or those with close neighbors because hens are actually pretty quiet animals.
4. Chickens are omnivores.
Chickens will eat anything, and I mean ANYTHING. This is one of my favorite things about having chickens and a toddler. With a toddler, I end up with lots of waste–half an apple, oatmeal, or spaghetti with meatballs, but ALL of her scraps can go to them for food to make more eggs. I love this because I’m not wasting as much or throwing away food. There is a small list of foods that chickens should not have, but for the most part, they are my egg-making disposal system.
5. Chickens are the easiest animal I have ever had.
If you have been considering chickens, 100% do it! I have had a lot of different animals, and I mean A LOT. Chickens are by far the easiest and best.
Here’s just a couple of tips for ease. Come up with a good watering system, one where you don’t have to be hauling water every day. (A hose float is the best if they are close to a water source.) We use a 5-gallon chicken waterer, and I have to refill and clean it twice a month max. Do a deep bedding method for cleaning, and you only have to clean their pen once a year. They are seriously easier than a fish!
I have absolutely adored having backyard chickens. Of all the animals that we have had–pigs, goats, dogs, and rabbits–the chickens are my daughter’s favorite!
They are so easygoing and fun to watch. They also are the BEST pet to have as far as work vs. reward. They require little maintenance, and they give you eggs which we thoroughly enjoy.
I would recommend that if you decide to own chickens, purchase from a local breeder for whatever breed you want. We started with chicks from a hatchery and the difference in the quality of the animal is huge in looks, personality, and overall heartiness of the bird.
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