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Random Facts and Observations about Raising Chickens

Updated on February 3, 2015

Our Situation

We’ve been raising chickens in an urban environment now for about two years. That’s certainly not a long time compared to some chicken farmers, but it is long enough to give us a perspective worth considering.

The thing you have to understand about raising chickens is that there are few ironclad rules. The best you can say is that most will do this, or most will do that, most of the time. There will always be that rebel chicken who refuses to follow the rules and has no understanding of “the norm.”

We love raising chickens, so much so that we don’t understand why more people don’t do it. When we buy our acreage in a year or so, we will increase our flock tenfold at least. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner in life.

The purpose of today’s article is to cover some odds and ends that most people don’t think about before they start raising chickens. Hopefully this article will answer some questions and shed some light for those of you who are thinking about raising chickens but still have some doubts.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Our chickens...Our pets
Our chickens...Our pets | Source

NO, YOU DO NOT NEED A ROOSTER FOR EGGS

This is probably the greatest misconception about raising chickens. If your goal is to simply have fresh eggs in the morning, you don’t need a rooster. Hens, like most females of any species, have eggs daily. A chicken’s is just outside her body rather than inside.

Most cities will not allow roosters anyway; they are a rather noisy lot, and if you aren’t planning on raising chicks on a regular basis, you just don’t need those bad boys.

DON’T PLAN ON EGGS DURING THE WINTER MONTHS

As a general rule, hens do not lay during the winter months. Notice I said a general rule. We have a Rhode Island Red who hasn’t taken time off in two years, so obviously she didn’t get the memo.

This, of course, also leaves us to wonder what is a winter month in the mind of a chicken? I’ve known some that stopped laying in October and didn’t start up again until April. We have had some that laid eggs until November and started in March. Your guess is as good as mine.

CHICKENS ARE HARDY LITTLE DEVILS

Quit worrying about the winter weather. Chickens can handle it. There are chicken farmers in Alaska, so that should tell you something.

Obviously, if your weather is consistently bad, you might have to buy more feed for your chickens. They can’t scratch for bugs on the frozen ground, or if the ground is covered by a foot of snow. The cold? A single heat lamp in their coop will get them through some very, very cold temperatures.

Rain? It would have to be a torrential downpour to bother a chicken. Usually, if it rains very hard, the chickens will find shelter and wait out the storm. Same with the wind.

So don’t worry unless you have the storm of the century bearing down on you and even then, my money is on the chickens.

In search of food
In search of food | Source

CHICKEN FEED IS COSTLY BUT THERE ARE WAYS AROUND THAT PROBLEM

Chicken feed is expensive. We buy organic, of course, and a 25 pound bag costs around forty bucks….but it lasts a long time. Why?

Because we supplement their diets using red worms and mealworms that we raise. Raising worms is really a very simple thing to do, especially if you are a gardener and have a compost pile. The same is true of mealworms. Once you are established you can keep those worms growing and you have a constant supply of food for your chickens.

We live in a moderate climate, so our garden, after harvest time, is also a great source of food for the chickens.

Bottom line, in a moderate climate, raising our own worms, we might buy a 25 pound bag of organic chicken food every three months.

YES, CHICKENS HAVE BRAINS

Okay, they may not be geniuses among the animal kingdom, but they aren’t completely stupid, either. We have trained our chickens not to go on our deck, so how dumb can they really be? I’ll bet you can’t train a cat to do that!

I’ll tell you my training method, and it has not failed me at all: get a squirt gun. For whatever reason, our chickens do not like me squirting them with water, and that’s how I trained them to stay off the deck. They will stand out in a downpour, but threaten them with a Super Soaker and they run like crazy.

A chicken can hear a hawk screeching from a half-mile away and run for cover. No, chickens are not stupid.

YES, CHICKENS CAN BE MESSY

Chickens poop. There is no avoiding it. Is it messy? Yes! Is it as messy as goose poop? No way, but it is still annoying if you use your yard for other purposes.

We let our chickens roam free around the backyard, so we don’t care about it. We wear rubber boots back there and their poop doesn’t bother us. If you are not like us, then keep your chickens inside a chicken run and limit their roaming capabilities. Remember, though, that the chicken run needs some sort of ceiling on it, because despite rumors to the contrary, chickens can fly.

Is the chicken poop a good fertilizer? Not bad, but it needs to be watered down because it is quite “hot” and can burn some of your young plants.

Now, about that flying…..

A simple chicken coop
A simple chicken coop | Source

CHICKENS CAN, INDEED, FLY

They won’t win any soaring contests with hawks but yes, they can fly. Our champion flyer, Minerva, can fly over a six foot fence from a standstill. It’s entertaining as hell until they fly into a neighbor’s yard and poop on their deck, at which time entertaining becomes annoying.

Clip their wings when they are chicks and your flying problems are solved.

NOT ALL CHICKENS ARE BROODERS

The lovely vision of chickens laying an egg and then patiently sitting on that egg until it hatches is, for the most part, a myth. Few hens are real brooders. They seem to have better things to do than sit on an egg for twenty-one days and quite frankly, I don’t blame them.

If you decide you want to raise chicks, and you are allowed a rooster, then you really need an incubator. It’s really the only logical option you have. Incubators will cost you around $150, so save your money if this is the route you want to take. We have one for our quail eggs, and we have a hatching success rate of about 90%, and that beats the heck out of any natural brooding program.

TO DRESS OR NOT TO DRESS?

No, I’m not talking about putting a dress on your chicken.

If you decide to raise chickens for meat, then the time will eventually come when you need to kill your chicken and prepare it for dinner. The whole process, from start to finish, takes about twenty minutes per chicken. If you have a weak stomach, don’t do it. I can do it but I do not enjoy it. This is all about personal preference, my friends. Our chickens are our pets, and they happen to lay eggs. I don’t kill something I’ve named. LOL

But if you want a fried drumstick, then slitting the throat, bleeding it out, boiling it to get rid of feathers, and gutting it can be done in under a half hour.

Yours truly with shaggy hair

And That’s All We Have Time for Today

If you have questions feel free to ask them in the comment section, or email me and I’ll help you.

We love raising chickens. I think others would as well if they just got started and tasted how delicious a farm-fresh egg is. It’s all part of the sustainable farming kick I happen to believe strongly in. It’s all part of the “getting back to our roots” thing I believe strongly in. It’s all about eating healthy foods that have not been poisoned by the processors.

I guess I could sum it up by saying it’s all about quality of life.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peg. I'm pretty sure, in Texas, your chickens will do quite well. I can't imagine the weather getting too cold for them there.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      This was really quite inspirational. I have the room for raising chickens but have worried about the weather here in Texas. Thanks for the informative insight into your urban farm. I really enjoyed the video and hearing Bev and Minerva talk on film.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, it would take a hardy chicken to lay eggs in those temps. Actually they will lay if you give them fifteen hours of light....but I can't be bothered doing that. :) Good to see you. Stay warm and thank you.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      Who knew that chickens don't lay eggs in the winter? I didn't, although this morning it was minus 16 degrees when we woke up so I can imagine a chicken wouldn't be in the mood to lay too many eggs in this weather.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rebecca! We live in a great city and I love that we are allowed to do this.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I think it's great that you have chickens so close to town. The eggs and meat too, I know are a lot better for you. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, vkwok. Maybe it's my calling as a writer. :)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      You write good chicken hubs, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, most people who try free-range eggs never go back, but it's hard to explain to someone who hasn't tried them. Thanks for the confirmation.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I get free range eggs from a local woman, the best decision I ever made. I will never go back to those ancient eggs in the grocery store again.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, no doubt they do, as long as there is a light source. Thanks for mentioning that and for the visit, my friend, and blessings to you always.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Excellent hub Bill, and very informative, with a lot of practical and useful tips for a newcomer chicken farmer.

      However chickens, at least the farm reared one's, do lay all year round, even in winter.

      This former chicken breeder can say for sure that you have your chicken facts right.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, it's been a while since I slaughtered one....not enjoyable at all, but I can do it if I have to. :) Thanks for the visit and Happy Weekend to you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Billybuc, my friend, whose chickens have you been slaughtering? I do love the image of you with a squirt gun chasing them off the deck.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, that was a beautifully written rejection and I thank you for it. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      If ever in a weak moment I even consider raising chickens, I will run back here to reread your erudite thesis until the thought passes.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liza, I'm glad you had fun with this one. No way will I ever have ducks. Duck poop is just too gross for me. I had a friend in high school who had a pet goose in the backyard. You want to talk about gross poop???? LOL

      Thank you for stopping by again.

    • lawdoctorlee profile image

      Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD 2 years ago from New York, NY

      Bill, you crack me up! I don't know what is funnier: a chicken not getting a memo or the inability to train a cat to stay off of a deck! I love that you name your chickens! I've never raised chickens, nor do I plan to; after all, I'm a New York City girl at heart. However, my grandmothers raised chickens in their youth; and I've heard the stories.

      As a kid, I had ducks (some bright idea of an Easter gift from my dad). His original intent was to build a pond in the backyard for them. The poop problem was insanity. Eventually, we had to turn over the ducks to a nearby farm. It really was for the best (since I was highly allergic to the feathers). If I ever change my mind about raising chickens, I'll remember your tips.

      Thanks for this fun hub! Voted it "up" and "funny."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Messy for sure, Frank, but it's never dull, either. :) Thanks buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I know you do, Faith, and "young man" might be a bit of a stretch, but thank you. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      thank you for sharing your random facts and observations aboout raising hope.. err I mean chickens.. hey it must be fun.. yeah I do bet it gets messy.. but different strokes right? LOL thanks for the educational share.. my friend

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hahaha ... you best, which means down here in the south, you better, for I have my eye on you, young man! Tee hee

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, it sounds to me like you have all the experience you need, but thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maj, the names are a group effort. I think of the six, two were named by me, and I think Minerva was one of them. :) I'd love to have some cows...maybe some day in the near future if I ever strike it rich from writing. :) Thanks for the visit.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I've killed many a chicken back in the day when my grandmother raised chickens. Anyway, I admire your effort and your success in raising chickens, something I would surely like to do. Meanwhile, I'll keep learning from you. Thanks for sharing.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      I love your chooks - am not surprised about the flying - with a name like Minerva and a great place to live she must feel the urge to soar. Who chooses the names? I often look after our neighbours chickens and quite aware of personality and pecking order. I know naming animals is meaningful - my two cows know too. Cheers Maj

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, there are, indeed, so many things to do. Thanks for stopping by even though you really can't relate to this. I appreciate and value that kind of loyalty.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Bill I dabbled here many moons ago, but I do not remember anything. My grand-father did ost of the work. he had a few coobes beneath a house which stood on poles in a country plot.

      Great that you're doing this. So many things to do! Wishing you more strength and blessings.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mark. We do a little of many things here on our property.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, I love chicken. I could eat it daily. Having said that, I would have a hard time killing them on a regular basis. Yes, that is hypocritical of me, but also truthful. :) Thanks for the kind words.

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 2 years ago from Italy

      Hi billy,

      I did not know you are also into chicken. Nice hub here. Thanks.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I have never owned a chicken but I've eaten chicken two thirds of the days of my life so I consider myself an authority. Nonetheless, you have turned all my dearly embraced chicken myths on end. This was really great reading as well as informative. Great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, it definitely isn't for everyone. We don't kill ours either. Once we name them they are safe from the hatchet. :) As for raising worms, that will probably have to wait until I write a hub on it. Detailing it here would take far too long, although it really is quit easy to do. Thanks for the hub idea. I hope you are having a splendid Wednesday. Thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I would make a terrible chicken farmer. I couldn't bring myself to kill something I've raised and cared for. Nor would I allow anyone else to. I'm would also be bad at disciplining them. One look at their funny little faces and I would probably hug them and fuss over them. (sigh)

      It sounds like you have a wonderful life and I can't help but envy you.

      By the way, how does one raise worms exactly? That would probably make a good accompaniment to this hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, DDE!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharan....I am glad you found this helpful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, I think the makers of squirt guns should use our ideas in their advertising. :) Thanks for the tip and for being here.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An excellent write up here and so interesting too.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Interesting and informative hub about raising chickens! Your pictures are lovely.

      I have never done this but your hub will be helpful to me if I do it in future.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I always enjoy reading about your chickens, Bill. This is an interesting and informative hub. A squirt gun is good for training other animals, too. We've used it train our cats to ignore our free-flying birds. It's worked very well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Country, we are only allowed five hens so no wonder our feed bill is so small compared to yours.

      We gave up lighting their coop during the winter. They only go a couple months without laying so we can live with that, but thanks for the information and no, no snakes in these parts. Nothing crawly to worry about here.

      Thanks for the great comment and I love that you don't kill your chickens.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I'm here....I see your comment!!!!!!!

      I just wanted you to know I hadn't forgotten you. :) Tease

      A chicken run is any area you want to have for the chickens to roam about. It can be any size. Ours, for the young chicks, was about five feet by ten feet. Now they have the whole darned yard. Greedy little buggers. :)

      Happy Wednesday to you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, comments from you are like history lessons. I love it. Hatched eggs by the fire? Now that's a new one and you better believe I'll remember it for down the road.

      Great information about the wire underneath. I might need to do that in the new chicken run and the old. Thanks for the tip.

      Carry on my friend!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      Most folks don't realize just how smart chickens are. They truly make good pets, too. I wrote a Hub about that very thing!

      I could never kill my hens either. They were my pets. I miss not having chickens any longer.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 2 years ago from Texas

      My gosh, Bill! I watched your urban farm video, and all I could think of was "snakes"! If I didn't weed my garden, I'd be bitten by a snake during the harvest season!

      As for chickens... you must not have as many as I do, because I go through 50 pounds of feed a week. My birds (33 hens, 2 roosters, 5 ducks, 7 guineas) free range on top of that. I'd love to have a cheap feed bill such as yours.

      Chickens can lay eggs all year round. It depends on the breed. I get about 16-18 a day during the winter months, compared to the 30 during the summer. In order for an egg to develop, the hen needs 12 hours of daylight. In the winter months, they will lay every 2-3 days, compared to the daily in the long summer months. This is why commercial egg producers use lights in their hen houses.

      Like you, I cannot kill my chickens. They have names, and are like my kids. If I want to eat chicken, I'll buy it at the store!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill,

      I love your chicken hubs, as I stated before! Boy, that Minerva (spell?) wanted to be the star of your home video there LOL. Wow, you have quite the garden growing there in your urban farm. You can dry and bottle that fennel and sell it for a good price, being you have so much growing freely. I know I pay a pretty penny for a small bottle of it and all spices really. I hope you have a big freezer to freeze your excess peas.

      Oh, so a chicken run is literally a tract for chickens to run around on without veering off somewhere? LOL I know, Jackie, talks about her chickens on their run and extending it, and so I am trying to picture it in my head. I am picturing a narrow path (between two fences) for them to run?

      I know my husband would talk about when his grandmother would pick a chicken for supper and the process ... he made the mistake of naming one at one point : ( ...

      Blessings and hugs from southern USA

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I guess it's a little weird, Kim, that we don't mind the chicken poop, but with all these pets, what's a little more poop? LOL Our 13-year old Lab poops enough for ten chickens, so I guess we don't notice. :) Thanks for the smiles.

      bill

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hey up, Bill! Grandad grew up on a farm in the west of Cleveland (not Ohio, near Stokesley, North Yorks). He spent just under half his life raising animals, digging ditches, building walls and sheds. In the mid 30's the family moved to Teesside as his farming life waned, to find work in industry.

      After moving from Normanby to Grangetown, in the shadow of Dorman Long steel works, he took over an allotment, then later another one. On one he kept chickens, on the other he grew veg. He bought trays of unhatched, fertilised eggs and left them in front of the fire in the back room - front room was for best - and within a week he had a tray of peeping yellow balls of fluff (chicks).

      He bought chicken feed from farm suppliers and when the chicks were big enough they lived on that on the allotment. He kept the best layers, but the first to go were the males after a few months when they were big enough. As an experienced farmer he knew not to let any of us get too close to the chicks (emotionally), not that I did. I saw eggs and chicken legs. The less well 'performing' hens went for Christmas dinners around half of Grangetown. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but he had a lot of regular customers. His birds grew big, as big as some supermarket factory-farmed turkeys these days - back in the 50's and early 60's most people around had chicken at Christmas.

      Urban foxes weren't much heard of then, and much of the area was built up. However, he had high wooden fences and wire above them. One good idea I don't know he had, is to lay wire on the ground, secured to the perimeter fence, and put earth on top of that to keep Reynard at bay. They can get through wood, but not steel chicken wire. He also had a stout shed to keep the hens/chicks in at night. I don't think he lost any to four-legged thieves.

      So there we are, Bill, a few hints from observation and cogitation. One little thing, my wife kept rabbits and lost a couple to urban foxes. She had the idea of laying chicken wire under their daytime run, firstly to stop them burrowing out and secondly to stop Reynard digging his way in to a filling supper.

      [One last thought, Bill. If you failed at keeping chickens, it would put you in the same league as Heinrich Himmler. He used his chicken farm techniques on the KZ scale, but didn't fail there].

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill,

      Having had chickens before, I knew some of this information. Of course, I had them out in the country where they roosted in the barn, but thought it cool to poop in the yard which makes it all that amazing that you urban farm. As always, an awesome hub shared and liked and all that other...

      Smiles,

      Kim

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, that's a lesson I learned very early on. Once I give them a name they are with me for life. :) Thanks, buddy, and I hope you get those chickens soon.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suhail, I know you will. A bump in life's road isn't enough to derail you. Best wishes my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The same here, Deb. People are genuinely shocked to hear a rooster isn't needed. I guess spending time on my grandparents' farm helped me with that little known fact. Anyway, thank you. I hope you are safe and warm after the big winter storm.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I can hardly wait to have chickens of my own again. Great and entertaining stuff here Bill. I am with you on the killing of something with a name.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      And, Bill, what you wrote is exactly what my kid brother thinks. He keeps urging that we start soon on a hobby farm that enables us to take our experience to next level of self-sustaining farm. Unfortunately, his slight delay in returning to the US and my 3 months of joblessness from previous employment (Sept-Nov 2014) delayed our plans to start something from this year.

      But we will be on it soon.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Another great article, Bill. I'm glad you started by debunking the myth that you need a rooster in order to get eggs. You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) how many times I have been asked how my chickens lay eggs without a rooster!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting, goatfury, because I don't find it work at all. It is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. Thanks for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, thanks for the haiku. That may be a first about chickens and squirt guns. :) No way am I killing a pet. The key is not naming them.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I've killed chickens before and honestly, I didn't enjoy it at all....but someone has to do it...just not on my little farm. :) Thank you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I am in no way claiming they are smart, but I am saying they aren't nearly as dumb as most people think. LOL Thanks my friend and stay warm and safe back in Mass.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Clive, I'm seen a headless chicken run across the yard back at my grandma's farm, so I know what you are talking about.

      I would say Jack had some serious game. LOL

      Thanks for sharing your memories.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, you would be amazed by the number of people who don't know that about laying eggs without the help of a rooster. That seems to be the number one misconception about them.

      Thank you. I'm glad you found it interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for returning, Prabhjot. I appreciate your perseverance.

    • goatfury profile image

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Ha! A friend of mine just started raising chickens. What a large amount of work for such a small reward. I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Here's a chicken haiku:

      An angry wet hen

      Flies to escape water guns.

      Bird brain? I think not.

      Seriously Bill, I really enjoy these hubs about raising chickens, and it's obvious that it is a hobby that you love. I'm glad you don't routinely butcher your chickens--how can you kill a pet?

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love that picture of Bev with chickens on her back. I will probably never raise chickens but I love to eat chicken. I could never kill a chicken or any other animal. I remember how much better chicken tasted when my mother would kill a chicken and cook it right then, there's no comparison. I didn't know it takes 21 days for a chick to hatch. I always learn something when I read your hubs....

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Very interesting. I also could never kill a chicken that had become a pet, just couldn't do it. How interesting that they are smarter than we think, I have always thought of the chicken as a pretty dumb creature. Guess I have a lot to learn about chickens. Luckily I have come to the right place. Have a great week.

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      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      I used to kill chickens in my back yard. we would put the body of the chicken under a bucket with its head sticking out and then use a very sharpe knife to cut off the head. Then the chicken would be under the bucket flattering. If you want to see something very sick but interesting, as soon as you cut off the head just lift the bucket and watch the headless chicken run. Then we would have warm water where we would dip the chicken in, pluck off all feathers, clean the feet and cut it open and get rid of alkl the undesirables. Me and my brother would have a little fire at hand to fry up some chicken liver and gizzard...yum! Then we would wash the chickens and bag them for eating or sell a few.

      Nice hub, reminds me of back then....By the way, i had a rooster called jack that could fly to the top of the roof!!!

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      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I had no idea that chickens would lay eggs without a rooster being present. I also learned much more about their habits from reading your informative article. Interesting that you trained them to stay off of your deck by squirting water at them. Ha! Up votes and sharing!

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      Prabhjot 2 years ago from Delhi, India

      Yes I know something went wrong. I shared my experience but anyway you have written a very informative article.

      Keep writing such awesome content.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Prabhjot...I appreciate you stopping by...sorry your comment was cut short.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Suhail. I strongly believe that Americans need to return to this way of living. I think our economy is going to demand it of us in order to survive....that may sound alarmist, but it is what I believe.

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      Prabhjot 2 years ago from Delhi, India

      Last year I had gone to my uncle's place, my native. He has proper

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      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Bill,

      I already knew your interest in hobby farming through another hub, but the diversity of your interests never ceases to amaze me.

      I am interested in farming and am gathering all information that I can get for now. Your hubs have been very helpful in this regard. Having a self-sufficient farm is something that I have learned from you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann from Somerset...it has a regal sound to it. :)

      Thanks my chilly friend. Prehistoric indeed! Kind of like some of our neighbors, but that's a topic for another day.

      Have a brilliant day, Ann, and as always, I appreciate you.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Pop, I'm so sorry. Listen, if you are serious, read about the way McDonalds treats chicken on their chicken farm in Arkansas. Then for sure you'll never eat it again.

      Thank you, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      God bless you, Lea, today and always.

      bill

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I love hearing about your chickens and I know how entertaining they can be, if prehistoric!

      I like the idea of chicken missing a memo - brilliant!

      Have a great week, bill! From a sunny but chilly Somerset,

      Ann :)

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      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I will never eat chicken again!!!!

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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      LOL BILLY BUC, that was a test to see if you were on your toes when I wrote chickens are smart...I am fibbing! Yes big difference, and thank you for the tease, I burst out laughing. I love your sense of humor! God bless, Sparklea

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, chickens are weird regarding their laying habits. You got lucky. As for molting, we have a beautiful black chicken...really a show chicken...and she went completely bald this winter. Saddest looking bird you've ever seen. That lasted a couple weeks and then she grew everything back...but man alive she was ugly. LOL

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I sure hope so, because Bev eats purslane. LOL I really don't know, but I know she has tried it. We mostly feed it to the rabbits and chickens. Now I have to go look it up. Anyway, thank you. We love our garden too and have wonderful times in our backyard.

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      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Well I am glad no one told my chickens not to lay eggs in the wintertime! I never heard that before even. They are regular layers; three of them for almost two years now. It gets pretty cold here and there are always little things like one started molting and stopped laying but she didn't even go all bald and now she looks good as new so I know I will see her eggs again soon. Glad to know it though in case they stop. I would have worried! Maybe because I give them a little food for laying hens every day you think? My two younger chicks got into that and started laying when they were only four months old so I figured that was why.

      I sure wish I had started earlier with chickens; it was something I always wanted to do but it looked so impossible and now I see I could have been doing it for years! ^+

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      This is so interesting. I had no idea chickens can be trained. And you're right - there's no way you can train a cat to stay off your deck. At the very least they'll sneak up there when they think you're not looking.

      I love your garden. You must be so proud of your green thumb. I find it interesting you have purslane in the garden. I have some in mine as well. Are they edible?

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, you are so nice. Giving instructions comes from my days of teaching middle school kids. You know the length of their attention span...I had to break things down to the basics as quickly as possible and make it interesting as well...so I guess that's where it comes from. My writing voice? Developed over time, with help from people like you and your wonderful comments.

      Chickens smart? I never said that. LOL I just said they weren't stupid. Big difference.

      I'm teasing you now. Thank you my dear. I loved your visit.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Buildreps. The squirt gun was a whim one day. Imagine how surprised I was to find out it actually works. LOL

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vespa, thank you for stopping by. No, they are not nearly as dumb as people believe...I find them very enjoyable.

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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billy Buc, you have a gift of giving understandable instructions whenever you write on a topic like this...I remember your great hub about quails. This was excellent, and, like you ALWAYS do, you write as if you are talking to the reader alone. For example, I loved your introduction, and then you wrote, "Lets get started, shall we?" as if I was standing right there with you and you were going to give me a guided tour and explain everything. And you did that just with your writing. Also, even if a person does not plan to raise chickens, you STILL managed to make this so interesting that I read it right to the end. I never knew that chickens could withstand cold weather...I learned a lot. All this being said, if I were to raise chickens...well, you know ME with my extreme love of all God's creatures...I would name them all and I could never, ever kill one and eat it. EVER. But that is me. One of my favorite dinners is fried chicken, but a pet chicken would never be on my dinner table.

      Voted up, useful and interesting. Blessings, Sparklea PS: I also never knew chicken were so smart.

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      Buildreps 2 years ago from Europe

      I enjoyed reading this one very much. I never knew that a squirt gun is such an effective tool in training your chickens. How funny that is :) You made yourself a very nice coop, Bill. Thanks for the nice article!

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      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      I would also have a hard time killing an animal I've named. We buy farm eggs from a friend but if we had land, we would definitely raise our own chickens! It's good to know they can be trained and don't completely live up to their reputation.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very cool, MizB. I love that your granddaugther is raising quail. I just love hatching our eggs every morning. There is something spiritual about it for me. :) Anyway, Happy Tuesday to you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine. I appreciate you taking the time to read about something you'll never do. :) have a superb Tuesday, Janine!

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      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Your video proves you do have some raucous chickens, don't you. Chickens seem to be more spiritually advanced (LOL) than they were in my grandmother's day because it was impossible to tame her chickens. Maybe it was the breed. Glad you enjoy your chickens, my friend, and thanks for the trip through your chicken yard.

      My granddaughter is incubating her umpteenth batch of quail eggs. She has been doing this since she was nine, so I guess 13 years. Anyway, she was crowing about it on Facebook this weekend, saying that they were getting ready to hatch. I'll let you know when the big event happens.

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      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I always find it fascinating when you share your knowledge on raising chickens and can't thank you enough for sharing what you have learned here. Always hoping, you are having a great week so far! ;)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear it, Jamie. Ours are fat and happy. :) Thanks my friend.

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you for the helpful hints, our gals are bringing us much joy and eggs! Jamie