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How to Grow Your Breakfast – Chicken Basics Part 2 Eggs

This is part 2 of our chicken basics series.  You can find part 1 here.

Yes. Chickens lay eggs. However, some people are confused about roosters vs. hens. Hens are the female chickens, the birds that the chicken owners are (usually) referring to when they mention the “girls”. Hens lay eggs and sometimes go through phases where they’re very defensive of them.

Roosters, on the other hand, are the handsome fellas, the leaders of the flock, though a hen can be a leader if there is no rooster present. They do not lay eggs and they are not required for a hen to lay eggs. However, they do tend to crow; a sound commonly described with the familiar onomatopoeia “cock-a-doodle-doo.” Roosters crow for a variety of reasons; some of them are mundane like a car driving by or someone walking into the coop. Sometimes it is something more reasonable like to tell other roosters within a quarter of a mile or so that they exist and they have a territory.

A Rainbow of Chicken Eggs

Chickens lay eggs in a variety of shell colors. Some chickens lay white eggs, some lay brown eggs, some lay green, blue, purple… There is a common misconception that brown eggs are healthier than white eggs, but there is really no difference other than what color it is.

eggs, chicken eggs, laying hens

Chicken Egg Management

eggs, basket, chicken eggs

You need to collect eggs regularly, at least once a day. If you don’t, and the chickens get bored, they may peck at the eggs, accidentally break them, then eat them. Once a chicken starts eating eggs, they usually don’t stop.

Once the other chickens see what’s going on and start eating eggs, too. They can be trained against egg-eating with a wooden or ceramic egg in the nest box, but sometimes it is necessary to remove them from the flock. We usually butcher them.

Chicken eggs are full of protein and good cholesterol.  They make a great breakfast and help make baked goods light and fluffy. 

When you want to eat the eggs from your flock, you may want to wash them. Keep in mind that chickens may poop in their nests, so you may need to work at washing some eggs a bit more than others, and if more than 10% of the eggs are dirty you may need to reevaluate how you manage nest boxes.

You’ll need a scrub brush that’s not too tough so there’s little risk of breaking the shell. Scrub the egg thoroughly with warm water. Unwashed eggs can stay on the counter for up to 2 weeks but once they’re washed they MUST be refrigerated.

Broody Hens Don't Lay Eggs

There are a few reasons why egg production may dip, one of which is changes in the seasons and day length. Chickens need to conserve their energy and stay warm during the colder months as well as sleep for longer, and as a result, they won’t produce as many eggs.

Another possible reason is that you aren’t feeding them enough, at least not enough to produce many eggs.

One common cause of lower production is a chicken that has gone broody. When a chicken is broody, she starts to get defensive of her eggs and won’t lay more. If a chicken is broody enough, she may bite if a hobbitses does try to take her precious.

There are a few things you can do to break a broody chicken. One is to pull her out of her nesting box and put her outside. Sometimes it’s difficult to pull her out. I found that getting your hand(s) under her feet is an effective strategy.

Do this repeatedly, and even close the coop door if you’re sure that all the other chickens have laid today. When you put her outside, she’ll look all fluffed up and angry, making irritated cluck sounds.

You can also lock her in “chicken jail” (with food and water, of course). This chicken jail can be a dog kennel or a small chicken tractor. Within a few days, her broodiness should be cured.

chicken, hen, perch, feeding chickens

Eggs are nice, the chickens lay them fairly regularly in most cases. Sometimes production may drop, this can be because of changing seasons, egg-eating, or broodiness. In most cases, you can remedy the issue one way or another.

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