Chicks turn into pullets and pullets turn into hens in what seems like a blink of any eye. However, what does not go by in the blink of any eye are the days you are waiting for your first egg to be laid. This is equivalent to a kid on Christmas Eve. Each day brings new hope that today is the day! It’s hard to be patient, but it will all be worth it once you have a regular supply of fresh eggs. Chickens do not lay eggs until about 20 weeks-give or take a few weeks on either end. That’s about five long months of waiting. More details about eggs will be covered in the next entry.
Hens themselves are a unique source of entertainment. I love how they each develop their own unique personalities. Believe it or not, but these feathered ladies cackle their ways right into your heart. Their constant chit chatty cackling gives off the distinct impression that they live very busy, detail oriented lives. One of my favorite events to watch with hens is when one gets a juicy bug and the rest run after her, its hilarious!
Food will be your best friend if you are trying to win over the hearts of your chickens. Ours will come when called because they know I typically have some yummy morsels on hand. Take a look:
Chickens will eat just about anything. Some foods are better than others as with any living creature. We do not feed our chickens meat or eggs (some people do and this just feels wrong to me). Fruits, veggies and breads are good choices. Cottage cheese is also a classic favorite.
I did not cover common problems with chickens, including illness, but a great resource is http://www.backyardchickens.com. Check them out!
Once you have successfully raised your fluff-balls into hens you should be quite proud of yourself. It is pretty common to lose one or two along the way, it’s the nature of the beast so don’t stress too much about it. Once your chickens have aged to hens, they are fairly low maintenance. They need just the basics; fresh water, shelter, sunshine and feed and they will provide you with several years of fresh eggs. The average life span of chickens is around 5 years, but most only produce eggs in the first few years. Speaking of eggs, let’s talk about those delicious ovals. We will wrap up our chicken talk with this last entry on eggs.
Until next time…