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Backyard Chickens = Fresh Eggs

Updated on August 28, 2011

Chickens As Pets

Are you considering having chickens in your back yard so you can have your own freshly laid eggs ?Would you enjoy fresh farm eggs with bright yellow yolk laid today just outside your door ?

It is a special feeling when you are living in the country with paddocks surrounding you , standing in the kitchen preparing a meal looking outside at the chickens wandering around the garden pecking at what they can find, Jack the dog stretched out contentedly letting them walk by him!

When I wanted an egg for breakfast I would go out the backdoor to a tree that had a deep hole part way up , Put my hand under whichever chicken was in there & pull out a freshly laid egg !

They were delicious ! We had a chicken coop, however a while back we stopped finding eggs in there which worried me for a while.

After a long search of the garden, under the house etc much to my surprise I discovered a hole in the tree with over 20 eggs in there !

We did the egg test & were able to keep a lot of the eggs to keep and use .

Chicken coop

Chickens need a chicken coop
Chickens need a chicken coop

Fresh laid eggs!

Loved having chickens
Loved having chickens

What to feed your chickens

We saved all our food scraps & they especially loved pecking on corn cobbs as well as our dog Jacks dinner if he had some left!

As well as scraps we would buy a large bag of chicken pellets  & grains as well as grit for them so the eggshells are hard.

We always had fresh water for them to drink.

What age do chickens start to lay ?

IT depends on the breed you have , some such as Brahmas would be nearer 6 months when they start laying but RIRs would be around 18-20 weeks ie 4-5 months. Good quality layers food is essential so is free ranging and access to grass, chickens love to eat grass and this is what gives their yolks that lovely deep yellow colour and the delicious taste.

If you are not in a hurry for your chickens to start laying then you might like to raise your chickens from a very young age & that can be fun to watch them grow up !

We got our chickens  just after they had started to lay eggs & had about 12 chickens all up  so I sold the extra eggs as we had plenty to spare .

The Egg test !

 Did you know you can test an egg and get an approximatation of its age? All you need are the eggs and a bowl of cold water.

Gently drop the egg into the bowl of water. If it:

  • sinks to the bottom and stays there, it is about three to six days old.
  • Sinks, but floats at an angle, it's more than a week old.
  • Sinks, but then stands on end, it's about two weeks old.
  • Floats, it's too old and should be discarded.

Breeding Chickens

You might be considering breeding chickens as a hobby .

After leaving your rooster with the hen or hens for a few days  stop collecting the eggs and let them sit on their eggs in their nests. Do this when you notice a hen not leaving her nest, and puffing up her feathers. This means she is broody, and ready to sit on eggs. Make sure that the nests are on level ground, so that when chicks do hatch, they do not fall out. In addition, you may actually want to separate a low-ranking hen from the rest of the flock, so that she may brood in peace.

Make sure the chicken coop is kept warm with no drafts & the hens have plenty of clean food and water nearby at all times .

If there are any neglected eggs make sure you incubate them yourself.

Feed the new chicks  chick starter food, plenty of water. Don't neglect the hens - keep up their hen food as well. The mother may actually eat her own chicks, so keep a close eye on them, and have a brooder ready in case you have to take the chicks from her. Keep all the new babies safe from predators and other chickens; it is possible that others will peck at them. However, if you provide plenty of space and outdoor roaming areas, this will be much less of a problem.

Have fun  naming them & watching them grow up!

Baby Chicks

Chicken Coops

 Chickens wherever they are in town or in the country need a good looked after chicken coop for protection from foxes and the weather at night  even if you allow your chickens to wander freely during the day .

Ideally the chicken coop it will be tall enough for you to walk in & collect the eggs as well as clean the coop out on a regular basis & change the straw or whatever you have used for the chickens bedding .

However if you don't have enough room for that you can have smaller ones like the one in the picture below.

 

Chicken Coops

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    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      6 years ago

      Hi FreeCampingAussie - I enjoyed reading about your chicken experience, especially finding 20 eggs in a tree trunk and how to test the age of an egg. I love chickens and fresh eggs. I wrote a chicken Hubpages, too. Chickens are the best! Cluck! Debby

    • freecampingaussie profile imageAUTHOR

      freecampingaussie 

      7 years ago from Southern Spain

      I loved having chickens & mine used to go near our dog !!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting hub. Thanks for the egg test info. :)

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 

      7 years ago from Athens, AL

      A great informative hub about chickens. Last place I lived in my neighbor had chickens and they were always all over our yard! Our 3 dogs loved them though :) We kept the dogs chained when they were outside but the chickens would always hang out around the dogs. Can chickens be suicidal?

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hi freecampingaussie-I have quite the history with chickens here in my small town, Bishop, in California. It's very rural here and there are many ranches, etc., that have many and assorted types of livestock.

      I have only a large backyard, however, and roost a number and variety of chickens. "Nugget," "Popcorn," and "Betty" are my current fowl.

      Oh dear, don't ask about my hoards of cats, dogs and all the other species I care for! ;)

      Our home is one heck of a zoo!

      Great Hub!

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