Frequently Asked Chicken Keeping Questions

Click on the questions below for answers.

 


Am I allowed to keep chickens in the city?

It depends on where you live. Some cities allow chickens, while others do not. Chicken ordinances also vary greatly from place to place, such as restrictions on the number of chickens allowed or placement of coops on your property.  Look online for your city’s ordinances, or contact your local animal control or planning and zoning office.

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Are chickens easy to care for?

Yes. They require the basics such as food, water, a proper shelter, and some of your time and attention. Unlike pet dogs, you don’t need to rush home from work to let them out, and depending on your set up you can usually just feed and water them once per day. Check out our chicken care pages for more information.

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How often do hens lay eggs?

Some breeds lay more than others, but generally speaking you will get an egg every 1-3 days from a good egg laying breed. They tend to lay less in the cold and dark of winter, and more often in the sun and warm of summer.

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For how many years will a hen lay eggs?

Hens will continue to lay eggs as they age, but the amount of eggs they lay decreased over time. They are most productive during the first 1-4 years of laying.

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How long do chickens live?

Chickens can live to be 20 years old, but on average they live to be about 8 years old.

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What is the difference between a hen and a rooster?

A hen is a female (egg layer) while a rooster is a male (non-egg layer). This video (by Tia Pinney) explains the rest.

The Differece Between a Hen and a Rooster — powered by ExpertVillage.com

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Do you need a rooster in order for chickens to lay eggs?

Nope. A hen will lay with or without a rooster present. If you want fertilized eggs however, then you do need a rooster. Also, if you don’t have a rooster, then one of your hens may take on a more aggressive and dominant role among the flock (similar to that of a roosters behavior).

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Can you eat fertilized eggs?

You sure can! The embryo will only grow under the correct conditions, which your refrigerator does not provide. There is no visible difference unless the embryo has started to form.

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What is the difference between a brown egg and a white egg?

Another great video by Tia Pinney to answer your questions.

The Difference Between Types of Eggs — powered by ExpertVillage.com

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What is that red spot you sometimes find in an egg? Is is safe to eat?

A red spot in an egg is just a blood spot- and is perfectly ok to eat. Blood spots occur when the egg is forming, and it is natural for them to occur.

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Can you have chickens if you have other pets?

You bet- but take precautions. Cats will attack young chickens, but tend to shy away from full grown birds (our cats are actually afraid of our chickens). Some dogs get along with chickens, while other dogs will attack and kill chickens. So it really depends on your dog. Either way, your chickens need protection from wandering neighborhood dogs as well as wild predators. Also, rabbits and chickens tend to cohabitate well.

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Should I be concerned about bird flu if I keep backyard chickens?

The short answer is no, provided you are in the USA. There’s an excellent document over at the San Francisco city page called Bird Flu in Chickens that has more information.

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At how many months old does a chicken start to lay eggs?

This short video explains it all (by Tia Pinney).

Can a Chicken Lay Eggs? — powered by ExpertVillage.com

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What should I do if I have a sick chicken?

First you need to isolate your sick bird from the flock. Then it is time to figure out what is wrong with your chicken and treat it accordingly. To learn more check out our chicken illnesses and disease page.

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Where did domesticated chickens come from?

Chickens (Gallus domesticus) originated from Asian Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus) about 8,000 years ago.

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Where does the egg come out of?

When your bird lays an egg it comes out of the “vent”.  This dual purpose opening is for reproduction AND the elimination of stools and urine.  After forming in the uterus, the egg itself moves down the oviduct on it’s way toward the vent- and remains separated from intestine by a flap known as the cloaca.  Because of the cloaca, a chicken can only eliminate one thing at a time out of the vent – either an egg or stool/urine.

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How long does it take a chicken to hatch?

It takes a chick about 21 days to form and hatch.

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