5 Things non chicken keepers believe

When I first got chicken there was a lot to learn! I didn't realize how bad the predator problem would be, didn't know how much they poop or even that blue eggs were a real thing. In fact, there were 11 things about chickens that I had to learn the hard way. That was more than 10 years ago though and since then I've seen and heard non chicken keepers say some rather odd chicken 'facts' that simply aren't true at all.

5 myths non chicken keepers believe.

Of course it's impossible to know everything, so going on the assumption that people are just repeating things they've heard...I thought I should clean up some misinformation that's going around. I've come across 5 chicken myths quite frequently so these are the ones I'm going to set the record straight on today.

Does egg shape indicate chick sex?

Lately I've been seeing some information going around that claims that you can choose which gender chick you hatch by carefully selecting the shape of the eggs you incubate. According to this information, round eggs hatch pullets and more pointed or oval eggs hatch cockerels. It's an interesting concept but completely untrue.

Round eggs hatch female chicks

First of all this didn't make sense at all to me because over the years I've always incubated oval shaped eggs. In the post How to store and handle hatching eggs I talked about how odd shaped eggs should not be hatched and that they don't get as good a hatch rate as your regular, well...egg shaped eggs. Except for a few experiments with pullet eggs, I always set oval shaped eggs. 

If the round egg myth was correct, I would have hatched an excess of cockerels on every hatch. That's not what happened.

Spiders in the chicken coop

If you have chickens for any length of time then I'm sure you've had spiders in your chicken coop by now! Not only do spiders like to eat the bugs that are attracted to rotting feed and chicken poop, but they're quite brilliant in where they place their webs. This makes it rather hard to get rid of spiders in the chicken coop. You can knock down the webs, but the spiders will just rebuild. The question is: are spiders in chicken coops a bad thing?

Spiders in chicken coop

Not only do spiders eat the bugs flying around your chicken coop, but they are bugs. Chickens like bugs and yes, chickens will eat spiders. Spiders are smarter than we tend to think though and they will build their nests up out of the chickens reach. You'll rarely see a web right by a roost or near the feed. Spiders will build their webs right on lights or in front of ventilation holes. Pretty smart for them to catch the bugs where they're most likely to be.

Of course this means that when you walk into the chicken coop the webs are often hanging right in front of you which can be pretty unpleasant. So, should you knock down the spider webs in the chicken coop, or just leave them there? 

I do a little bit of both.

Treating pasty butt in chicks

Even though it's late in the season but one of my perma-broody Silkies just hatched another set of chicks. Unfortunately one of the chicks has pasty butt but that's ok because I realized I've never talked about how I treat pasty butt in chicks! It's actually super simple and usually only requires a few minutes of effort. Even though it doesn't look like much, pasty butt can kill a chick rather quickly.
How to treat pasty butt in chicks.

Pasty butt is when poop sticks to a chicks normally fluffy bum area. It starts with one little bit sticking, but can build up till their vent is basically 'pasted' shut. When that happens the chick cannot poop at all. Not being able to poop can kill them because the poop inside their little system builds up and the toxins kill them. It mostly happens to very young chicks, usually less than 2 weeks old. Though it can happen in older chicks, it's not common.

Luckily treatment is as easy as clean the butt, oil it up so more poop can't stick and fix the issue that caused the problem in the first place. Sounds easy right? Lets get started.

Sudden death in chickens

Has one of your chickens ever just died? Like, there was nothing wrong earlier, she didn't seem sick and she didn't get hurt but there she is suddenly just...dead? It happens more often than you would think. Today I want to talk about the unexplained reasons why a hen or rooster might just drop dead. Sudden death in chickens is very upsetting because not only have you lost your pet chicken, but now you're worried about the rest of the flock. So let's try to figure out what happened.

Sudden death in chickens causes

You open up the coop in the morning and there's one chicken laying on the floor instead of perched on the roost. How did you not see this coming? You see, chickens are pretty low on the food chain. Because of this they get pretty good at hiding their illnesses. You often can't tell they're sick until it's too late. 

Today I want to go over a postmortem assessment of sorts to try and determine what actually happened. We are not going to cut into the chicken for a necropsy (I'll save that for another post) but this is how I would asses a birds appearance to determine her cause of death.