11 things I didn't know about chickens

Before starting to raise chickens a lot of us were clueless, I know I certainly was! I had an idea of what raising chickens entailed from seeing them at my grandmas house, I just didn't know all the details of raising chickens. There were a lot of things I had to learn about chickens like breeds, personality, coops, health care and just how bad the poop issue can be!

What I learned from chickens


I spent a lot of time reading about chicken care when I started raising chickens, as I'm sure we all did! Coop building and proper feeding was high on my priority list along with the daily care of chickens. That was all to be expected though. This list is about the things I found out about chickens that were not expected.

What I learned about chickens


Eggs can be blue or green:  When I was little my great grandma had chickens. She lived out in the country and we lived in the suburbs so I only ever saw live chickens at her house. (I know there are suburban chickens now but 40 years ago was a totally different story!) The eggs she had were brown. I grew up assuming there were only brown and white eggs, so imagine my surprise when I decided to get guineas and chickens and learned about blue eggs! Then I learned about dark brown eggs and that's when my love affair with Marans eggs started. 

Chicken poops can be huge! 
I swear sometimes in the morning when they come out of the coop their first poop is like half their weight in poo! It's insane. It's even crazier when you consider that chickens poop while they sleep, so it's not like that's a 10 hour poop build up or anything. Not only can regular chicken poop piles be big, but broody poop exists and it's horrible. Broody poop is so much worse because it smells ten times as bad as regular chicken poop, because it is a 10 hour poop build up. Yuck!

I wish I could say the one by the can in the picture was left by a broody, but no...that's just what my rooster does. Daily.

huge chicken poops are normal from backyard chickens

Chicken wire is evil: 
After I built my first coop and run I wrote a list of 25 reasons that chicken wire is the worst thing on earth. Unfortunately I didn't keep it in my computer and now it's gone, but the sentiment remains the same....chicken wire is not only the worst thing ever to deal with (you will poke a million little holes in every one of your fingers) but it doesn't work all that well anyway. Chicken wire is only good for keeping chickens in, it does absolutely nothing to keep predators out. Plus, it rusts to pieces after about 5 years. Who knew?

Chickens are funny and cute and smart: 
Ok, I knew they were kinda cute in a bird sorta way, but I had no idea that they were as smart as a 4 year old. Or that chickens have distinct personalities. Plus, they can learn tricks like jumping for food or to come running when you call them.

Chickens come in breeds: 
I knew chickens came in different colors, but I didn't understand that they are different breeds too. To get even more complex, each recognized breed has its own distinct size, shape, coloring, body type and more. I also didn't know about top hats, feather lacing, mottling, extra toes, silkies or seramas!

There are pet quality and show quality chickens: 
Once I grasped the concept of chicken breeds I started to understand quality. Now I like to tell people that chickens are just like dogs at the dog shows. You might have a purebred boxer but it's not necessarily a perfect representation of the breed, so you wouldn't put him in a show. Pet quality is a dog (or chicken) that is purebred but not a perfect representation or the breed. Still a great pet though! 

Different color eggs are laid by different breeds of chickens
The idea behind breeds wasn't really in my head. It was more like I knew there are brown chickens, white chickens, black chickens etc. It just makes sense that one hen couldn't lay more than one egg color, so I knew there had to be differences in who did what. I wasn't really in the  brown chickens lay brown eggs and white chickens lay white eggs camp, but I knew one hen couldn't lay both brown and white eggs.

Different color eggs from different breeds of hen.

Roosters crow all the dang time! 
I admit it, I fell for the hollywood version of farm life with the rooster crowing at sunrise. Truth is they crow whenever they feel like it. Sun comes up, crow! Phone rings in the house, crow! Wind blows, crow! Another rooster crows, crow back

Fresh eggs really do taste better: 
Fresh from the yard chicken eggs are like those first tomatoes you grow each summer. So much better than anything you get in stores and restaurants! They have so much more flavor, and the first eggs from your own chickens are especially weird because you don't realize what you were missing until you try them...then it's like "I can never eat store eggs again!" 

Chickens are addictive: 
Once you have a few chickens you will definitely want more. Except chickens don't come with the restraint required of other pets, so it can get outta control pretty quickly. You can't have 25 cats or puppies, but you can certainly have 25 chickens (space and laws allowing) and nobody will look at you crazy for it! In fact, they might think it's pretty awesome, especially if you give them eggs.

Chickens are savage!
If you've ever seen them play 'keep away' with a small mouse, lizard or snake you'll know what I'm talking about! Chickens will rip small critters to pieces as they fight about who gets to eat it. Such a huge difference from their normal sweet demeanor! Of course when chicks play keep away with a piece of fruit or mealworms it's adorable...till they grow into vicious velociraptors! 
Related reading: Chicken is T rex's closest living relative


Even though I have often been shocked by new chicken facts as I've learned them, I still think chickens are the most awesome pet you can have. Well, ducks are pretty awesome too...but that's a whole 'nother list! 

I've also found 5 myths that non chicken keepers believe. What did you learn about chickens that surprised you? 

~L

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8 comments:

  1. What is your favorite Rooster breed?

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  2. Easy. Where their ears are!
    Or maybe that one eye is for distance (a hawk, plane, bluejay...) and the other is for close up (worms, scratch, blueberries or, in the case of my rooster, my shins)

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    1. That's a good one! I had no idea that their eyes worked differently than ours...it makes sense though. Keep the rooster away from your shins, that hurts!;-)

      Lisa

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  3. I think the biggest surprise for me was the amount of poop and how often roosters crow. It's amazing that roosters crow at any little thing. It's a love-hate relationship with those little boys for sure!

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    1. Love-hate relationship is the perfect way to describe how I feel about roosters crowing too! lol Glad I'm not the only one surprised at how much poop they ca create. So much poop for such little birds!

      Lisa

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  4. When they come out in the morning there's always one giant poop and I thought it was one of the hens LOL. I have a system for going into the run with Big Daddy (yes) and that's to scatter grains as I walk along. he's so distracted he doesn't know whether to eat, herd them or attack me. It's super funny.

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  5. I forgot one more. I didn't know the rooster will sing the egg song along with a chicken whose just laid an egg

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    1. I haven't had a rooster that does that, but that is awesome!

      Lisa

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