Four common chicken myths

When people find out I have chickens in my backyard, they usually have a million questions about the eggs, the chickens, and how they interact with both each other and their human neighbors. Here are a few common myths about chickens:

MYTH: You need a rooster to get eggs.

REALITY: I admit that I didn’t understand the whole hen-rooster-egg connection when I first decided to get chickens. I knew I couldn’t have a rooster per the town code, so I wondered if the hens would just be for fun. The reality is that hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. Like many animals, laying an egg is just part of the hen’s reproductive cycle. (Try not to think about it too much, LOL!) If there’s a rooster, then the eggs they lay might be fertilized. But in our little backyard funny farm, we’ve just got the girls. So we get eggs, and there’s no chance any of them would ever become chicks.

MYTH: Hens don’t make noise.

REALITY: Sure, hens don’t crow at the rising sun or at the other things a rooster crows at. But trust me; hens talk. A lot. They crow and bawk when they lay an egg, they crow and bawk when someone else lays an egg. They bawk and cluck when they hear my voice, and they bawk and cluck and bawk and cluck just because they can. While it’s not as annoying as a rooster – generally the hens’ bawking and clucking pales in comparison to the crows and geese that populate our neighborhood skies, or the dogs that bark endlessly – those girls can sure cluck up a storm.

MYTH: Brown eggs taste different than white eggs.

REALITY: I gave a dozen eggs to David to take to work, because Julie, one of the managers, makes egg sandwiches for the help every morning. Julie was fine with my hens’ contribution to breakfast, but the kids who work with David were appalled. They refused to eat the brown eggs. The truth is that brown eggs and white eggs are all the same. They taste the same and they have the same nutritional value. They are colored differently simply because different hens lay different colored eggs. What I feed my hens determines whats inside the egg, and that should be more important than the outside of the egg – no hormones or antibiotics and hens that get to roam around the yard eating bugs and worms means eggs that are healthier. But the shell color? Don’t worry about it. Happy, healthy hens lay tasty eggs, whatever color the eggs’ shells are.

MYTH: Chickens don’t make good pets

REALITY: Those six hens in my backyard are 1/2 the work of my two dogs, and they give me something back in exchange for room and board: breakfast! They’re not nearly as stinky as I expected them to be. My cat’s litter box smells worse than the coop much of the time. The hens are personable and they like attention. Aunt Bea and Ethel both like to be held and pet, which is more than I can say for some cats. They’re easy to care for, and provide hours of entertainment. And getting started was much easier than I expected.

Got a question about chickens or eggs? Send me an email!

Visit my new blog, Notes From The Funny Farm, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

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