Raising chickens can be a fantastic option for your homestead. They are easy to care for, don’t require a lot of space, and can act as a great introduction to livestock. However, unlike dogs, cats, or even cows, chickens are not something that most people really know anything about. And, if you’re new to raising chickens, it can be hard to find places to find information on where to begin.
So, today I’m going to go over 10 of the questions that I get asked the most about chickens below. If you don’t find your question here, don’t hesitate to drop a note below and our community can try and help out!
1. Do you need roosters for hens to lay eggs?
Absolutely not. Once they come of age (which happens anywhere from six months to a year after birth) hens will lay eggs whether or not a rooster is present. In fact, if you want eggs for your table, then you should actually avoid getting a rooster, as it will fertilize the eggs. If you’re looking for baby chicks, though, then a rooster is a necessity.
2. How often do chickens lay eggs?
Generally speaking, most chickens will lay around 4-5 eggs per week, or an egg every couple of days. Some breeds are meant for laying and they will lay one egg a day, but that’s not common. Of course, it also depends on the season, the age of the chicken, and the condition of your coop. If chickens are stressed, or aren’t getting enough sunlight, they won’t lay at all. Read more about why your chickens aren’t laying.
3. What do I need to start raising chickens?
Aside from chickens (obviously) you’ll need a coop (which you can build or buy) for your girls to roost and nest, a fenced-in chicken run for them to get some sunshine, and possibly a heat lamp if you have chicks. You’ll also need to purchase feed, provide water and bedding, and a shovel to clean the coop with. Here’s a good starter’s guide.
4. How much do chickens cost?
This depends on if you’re getting fully-grown egg-laying chickens or if you’re okay with nursing a chick for a year before it actually produces anything. if you’re buying chicks, they usually run $1 – $5 while fully-grown chickens can be as much as $30 each, depending on the breed.
5. Will I save money by having chickens?
No. Having chickens is actually not going to save you any money in the long run as you have to buy feed and spend some time looking after them. However, raising your own chickens has all kinds of benefits, including better quality eggs and better taste in general.
6. Which chicken breed is the best?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer, because really it depends on what you want your chickens for, and where you live. There isn’t a single breed that is the best, really. When you’re considering which breed of chicken to get, you should consider the purpose (eggs versus meat) and the climate. From there, you can narrow things down. This is a great list for picking a breed.
7. Can I have chickens if I live in town?
Probably. Some cities have restrictions about having livestock in town, while others are a little more lax. I recommend calling your city hall and seeing what the ordinances and laws say before investing in a coop, but don’t expect to have a rooster as most cities don’t allow them.
8. Can I have just one chicken?
Chickens are social animals and you should never have just one chicken. I personally wouldn’t recommend less than three, although more is better.
9. Are brown eggs really healthier and tastier than white eggs?
Absolutely not! There is actually zero difference between the color, nutrition, and taste of eggs. Different breeds of hens lay different colored eggs, but they are all basically the same. There are different sizes as well, but that, too, is really only determined by the breed and has zero effect on the taste of the egg. Some people prefer different colored eggs, however, simply for the novelty of it.
10. How noisy are chickens?
While roosters are extremely noisy and will crow all day long, chickens are actually pretty quiet unless they are threatened or laying an egg.
Do you have any other questions about chickens? Leave me a note below!