Sunday, 23 October 2011

10 things I've learnt about keeping chickens

I stole the idea for this post from someone else, so if it was you, thankyou very much, it was a good idea :o)

I've been keeping chickens for a year now, and it seems like forever. I have learnt oodles of things....some that I really knew anyway, but thought were just a myth, like pecking order, for instance. So, here goes.

1. Chickens have personalities and feelings.
Our chickens have their 'best friends' who they sit next to, and hang out with. When Portia lost her 'lady-in-waiting' she was visibly mourning her. Moping around, and all that.  Missy is our 'top personality' chicken. I wish we could have got a photo of her in the passenger seat of the car when Hubby drove her up to the Church Hall to show the children at playgroup. She's unflappable.

2. Chickens lay eggs of all shapes, sizes, and colours.
We've had teeny tiny eggs (usually their first eggs), massive goose-style ones (usually double-yolkers)  elongated, short fat, every shade of brown, beige, and a lovely plummy pink. We are now waiting for our first blue egg. Fingers crossed.

3. Eggs come with or without shells.
Shells have huge varieties, too. From no shell at all, so you just get the egg itself as if someone cracked one open into the nesting box, through soft-shelled ones, which might have a floppy shell, or just the membrane. Then there's thin-shelled ones, which shatter as you look at them, and the ones which are made of concrete, much harder than shop-bought ones. And wrinkled ones.

4. Chickens can have very different pitched voices. Missy has a little squeaky 'peep peep' voice. Miranda has a man's voice. She sounds more like a duck. Portia lost her voice altogether because she was loud and very vocal. So then when she squawked, nothing came out. Bless her soul.

5. Chickens can die suddenly. Sadly. If you find a chicken out in the run, stretched out on its back, it's most likely died of a heart attack.

6. Chickens can sneeze.

7. Chickens can fly quite a bit. They can fly up to the top of a fence, and they can skim along the ground for quite a distance. They like to perch as high as possible, and try to get right to the top in a new run/coop. We had to rescue one from a roof bar. She squeezed in between it and the netting, which was directly on top.

8. Pecking order is very real, and can be very vicious. When a chicken leaves the flock, and when a chicken joins the flock, pecking order has to be re-established and there is a lot of fighting that goes on. Feathers fly!

9. Chickens come in loads of different colours! We currently have 2 each of black, grey, white and brown, but they're all very different from each other.

10. Chickens make wonderful pets. They're friendly, they follow you around, they're entertaining, relaxing, cuddly, cheap to keep, recycle your waste food, easy to maintain, and best of all, they make eggs!


  1. What a lovely post, thank you for this. I enjoyed hearing about all the different eggs. I'd love to keep chickens.

  2. Thankyou! We love our chickens. So why not get chickens?

  3. Because they leave chicken poo all over?


  4. They do, but you can contain them in a specific area. That's why Hubby built the big run at the bottom of the garden. That and the holes they dig for their dustbaths!

  5. KARLYN! It's you! I just checked your profile. Lovely to see you here.