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CHICKENS AND EGGS ( Trivia, Too Much Information ) :-)

Vandenberg

Active member

I keep pet show chickens and presently have an incubator full of Silkie chicken hatching eggs in three colors and I currently find myself obsessed with chickens and eggs for some reason. :)

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I now present for your perusal everything you possibly could want to know about:​

Hens and Eggs

  • Female chickens are called pullets for their first year or until they begin to lay eggs. For most breeds, around 20 weeks is a typical age for the first egg.
  • Some breeds lay eggs daily, some every other day, some once or twice a week.
  • Some individual hens never lay eggs, due to narrow pelvises or other anomalies.
  • Normal laying routines can be interrupted by molting, winter daylight shortage, temperature extremes, illness, poor nutrition, stress, or lack of fresh water. Hens usually return to normal laying habits when the disruption-causing factor ends or is corrected.
  • Most hens are productive layers for two years before declining in production, but some continue to lay eggs for several years.
  • Hens will lay eggs whether or not they’ve ever seen a rooster. Roosters are necessary only for the fertilization of eggs.

Egg development and laying process


Interesting Facts About Chicken Eggs
  • A female chick is born with thousands of tiny ova, which are undeveloped yolks. Once she reaches maturity, an ovum will be released into a canal called the oviduct and begin its journey of development.
  • At any given time a productive hen will have eggs of several stages within her reproductive system. The eggs most recently discharged from the ovary are just tiny yolks, and the eggs farther down the oviduct are progressively larger and more developed.
  • From the time an ovum leaves the ovary, it takes approximately 25 hours for the egg to reach the vent for laying. During that time period, the yolk will grow larger while being surrounded by albumen (egg white), wrapped in a membrane, and encased in a shell. The pigment is deposited on the shell as the last step of the egg production process.
  • If sperm is present, the yolk will be fertilized before the albumen is deposited.
  • As a chick embryo develops in a fertilized egg, the yolk provides nourishment, and the albumen cushions the embryo.
  • Although a hen has only one exterior opening (the cloaca or vent) for egg laying and elimination, eggs are not contaminated during the laying process. Two separate channels, the oviduct, and the large intestine open into the cloaca. As the egg nears the end of the oviduct, the intestinal opening is temporarily blocked off. The egg passes through the cloaca without contact with waste matter.
  • The typical interval between eggs laid is about 25 hours, so a hen that lays an egg every day will lay a bit later each day.
  • Hens don’t usually lay eggs in the dark, so once a hen’s laying cycle reaches dusk time, she will usually not lay till the following morning.
  • Eggshell production drains calcium from the hen’s body. The comb, wattles, legs, and ear lobes will fade as the calcium leaches out. Calcium must be replenished through either feed containing calcium, supplements such as oyster shells, or high amounts of calcium in the soil of birds with outdoor access.

Egg Variations



Interesting Facts About Chicken Eggs
  • Young pullets often lay malformed eggs before getting established in a normal laying routine. Older hens may occasionally lay abnormal eggs due to age, stress, or illness.
  • The first eggs produced by each pullet are smaller than the eggs that the same hen will produce as an older hen.
  • “Fart egg” and “oops egg” are terms for tiny eggs that quickly pass through the oviduct without reaching full size.
  • Shell-less eggs are released before they have time to develop a shell. They may have membranes holding them together or just loose yolk and white.
  • Double eggs or “egg in an egg” are created when an egg with a shell is encased by the next egg in the oviduct and a shell is produced over the outer egg as well.
  • Double yolkers may have a normal amount of egg white with two or more yolks. In the shell, the egg may be unusually large.
  • Yolkless eggs, also called no-yolkers, dwarf eggs, or wind eggs, consist of egg white alone.
  • Occasionally an egg will come out with a wrinkly, misshapen, rough, bumpy, or unusually colored shell.
  • Egg size is dependent on breed, age, and weight of the hen. Larger chicken breeds tend to lay larger eggs; banty breeds lay small eggs. Older hens tend to lay larger eggs than younger hens.
  • The shell color is a breed characteristic. Most chicken breeds lay light-to-medium brown eggs. A few breeds lay white, dark brown, green, blue, or cream-colored eggs.
  • Shell color is only “skin deep”-- the eggs inside are the same as eggs of other colors.
  • The shell color intensity of eggs laid by one hen can vary from time to time, with an occasional darker or lighter eggshell.
  • While most eggs have a slight sheen to the shell, some breeds or individual hens tend to lay eggs with a chalkier texture

Chicken And Egg Behavior


Interesting Facts About Chicken Eggs
  • Most hens will lay eggs in the same nest box as flockmates, so it’s not necessary to have a nest box for each hen.
  • Some hens like to lay their eggs in private, and others join their sisters in the nest box. Often two or three hens will crowd into one box while another nest box remains empty.
  • Sometimes a hen will sit on previously laid eggs and add her egg to the clutch. Another might prefer to sit in another area and deposit one egg by itself.
  • Often a hen will sing “the egg song” before or after she lays an egg. Some will sing during the process of laying. It is a cheerful song that seems to be a proud announcement.
  • Chickens learn by example, so a fake or real egg left in a designated nest box may encourage hens to lay there instead of on the floor or outdoors.
  • Unconfined hens may lay eggs anywhere outdoors if they don’t want to return to the nest box. Sometimes a free-ranging hen will go missing and reappear weeks later with a parade of chicks.
  • Chickens like to eat eggs, even their own. An egg that gets accidentally broken will likely be eaten by one of the chickens. If you occasionally find pieces of shell or egg yolk in the nest box, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about.
  • Some chickens become habitual egg-eaters that break eggs open and eat them. An egg-eater should be culled from the flock if you wish to have eggs for the kitchen. Not only will that chicken continue to eat eggs, but others will learn from watching and you may end up with several egg-eaters.
  • Holes in eggs and cracked eggs do not necessarily mean there is an egg-eater in the flock. A hen can accidentally crack an egg in the nest when she sits down or adjusts the nest to lay her own egg. Sometimes curiosity or boredom leads a chicken to peck at an egg without the intention of eating it.
  • Chickens can be fed their own or other eggs either raw or cooked. Eggs provide protein and the calcium in the shell is beneficial for laying hens. A potato masher can be used to break boiled eggs into pieces of egg and shell.
  • Empty eggshells from the kitchen can be fed back to chickens as a calcium supplement without concern for developing egg-eaters. However, to be safe, crushing the shells or running through a blender is a good idea.

Chicken birds and bees

  • The only reason a rooster would be required with a flock of hens is to fertilize eggs. As a side job, a good rooster also serves as a watchman, warning his hens of predators and other dangers. He also seeks out food for his harem.
  • Even with a virile rooster in residence, not all eggs will be fertile. Some hens just don’t interest a rooster and others never get caught. Often, roosters will have favorite hens that get most of their attention and others remain unnoticed.
  • Hens do not have an estrus cycle. They can mate and develop fertile eggs at any time.
  • Sperm can remain viable in the hen’s oviduct for three to four weeks, so one mating will fertilize numerous eggs.

Brooding and hatching


Interesting Facts About Chicken Eggs
  • A broody hen of any breed can be used to hatch eggs and raise chicks from other hens of any breed.
  • A broody will sit on any eggs, whether or not they are fertile and regardless of who laid them. To gather a suitable clutch of eggs, she will not only lay her own eggs but may roll other hens’ eggs into her nest.
  • While a hen is brooding, you can remove daily any extra eggs she gathers into her clutch. Drawing pencil “equator” lines around the eggs you want her to brood will help with identification.
  • A setting hen will usually leave the nest at least once a day to eat, drink, and defecate. The eggs are not in danger of cooling off too much during a normal foray into the coop or run.
  • Typically, chicken eggs hatch about 21 days from the beginning of incubation or nesting by a broody hen. A few days early or late is not unusual, and some breeds lean toward earlier or later hatches.
  • Not all fertile eggs will develop into embryos. Some never develop due to egg deficiencies or temperature fluctuations.
  • Not all chick embryos will successfully hatch. They can die any time before hatching, even after pipping a hole in the egg. Double yolk eggs rarely hatch due to crowding during embryo development.
  • If a broody hen has pushed an egg out of the nest, she probably knows something is not right with that egg or embryo.

In the kitchen


Interesting Facts About Chicken Eggs
  • A normal fresh egg has a yellow yolk, a layer of thick albumen (egg white) surrounding the yolk, and a thinner layer of albumen surrounding that.
  • At opposite sides of the yolk are two chalazae, short white twisted strands of albumen that anchor the yolk to the white. A large chalaza does not indicate embryo development.
  • Every egg yolk has a white disc called a blastoderm. It is usually visible but may be very pale. In an infertile egg, the blastoderm is solid white. The disc has a faint or distinct ring in a fertile egg that makes it look like a donut or bulls-eye.
  • Fertile eggs are completely edible. In fact, some people consider fertile eggs more nutritious than infertile eggs, but scientific research does not confirm this.
  • Fresh fertile eggs collected daily will not have embryos in them. Embryos do not begin to develop unless the eggs are in a favorable warm environment under a broody hen or an artificial incubator.
  • The yolk of a chicken egg may be any shade from pale yellow to orange, depending on what the hen has eaten. The color is usually consistent if hens are fed only one type of feed, but foraging hens and those fed kitchen scraps will often produce a variety of yolk colors.
  • The egg yolk or egg white may have red or brown specks in it. These “blood spots” and “meat spots” are harmless bits of tissue and are allowed in commercial Grade B eggs. If they look unappealing, the spots can be removed with a spoon or knife before cooking.
  • An eggshell has a protective coating that prevents bacteria from entering the egg. To retain this coating, eggs should not be washed until just before use.
  • Some eggs are soiled with blood from minor tissue damage or mud or feces from the nest box. This can be wiped off carefully; the shell should be thoroughly dried.
  • :)
  • Checking for egg freshness? If you aren’t sure how old an egg is, you can submerge it in water. The freshest eggs will remain at the bottom of the container, while old eggs will float. Floaters should either be discarded or opened far from your nose.
Vandenberg :)
 
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Vandenberg

Active member
I had 15 free range Barred rock hens and 2 years later I'm down to 2 due to various apparent attacks from coyotes, hawks and owls.The surviving sisters have always hung out close to the house. The Rocks all flew fairly well, enough that it became a problem keeping them contained, after a while I just let them do their thing.

The silkies main yard is now completely covered in a corrugated tin roof and is fenced in on a wood frame with 1x3 inch welded wire fabric walls with anti-dig buried wire outside the cage.
The sparrows can't even get in now its so tight, they were eating quite of bit of feed as it turns out. The roof keeps these feather footed birds feet dry besides providing protection.
I've spent stupid money setting up my silkies, its a good thing its a hobby and not a business otherwise my accountant ( if I had one) would have to take me out behind the barn and whoop some sense into me.
I'm hoping to enter the county fair this fall to try to win a blue ribbon with my show stock flock sourced Bearded Silkies , once they have a chance to grows ups for a while. I know of some 4H involved tweens that want to show these chickens too, so this could be great fun for everyone, I'm going to gift them choice of any excess roosters I may have.
This breeder has been winning shows for over 40 years and gets 150 dollars a dozen for hatching eggs and has a year ahead waiting list.
I'm hoping maybe it will be trophy instead of a ribbon, but I dare to dream. ;-)


Anybody else keep chickens for pets? Or as a protein source?
I once kept way over 100 chickens back 20 years ago when I raised them for eggs to sell locally. Boy oh boy did the feed store love me.
The stark, bright yellow yolk of a well fed Hen (supplemented with various dehydrated bugs), is almost scary looking to many people compared to the pale, washed out yellow of the usual store bought commercial battery produced eggs.

Vandenberg :)
 
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midwestkid

Active member
I'm currently building a coop. Recycling a big cabinet that was in the way.
We had quite the variety of birds when I was young but I've since forgotten most anything I learned.
My goals are egg production, bug control, and free-ish fertilizer.
 

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Nannymouse

Active member
I miss my chickens. There is no way that a domestic chicken could survive here, unless predators are fenced out, so we had a very big run for them. I would have a fall on the ice, most every year that we had them, and now with arthritis in the spine, i decided that those multiple runs to try to get eggs before they froze...just wasn't worth the risk.

So, now i just have my racing pigeons to tend, once a day...even that is getting tough for this ol lady.

But, we have wild birds (sharptails, partridge, pheasants) that visit often.
 

St. Phatty

Active member
I miss my chickens. There is no way that a domestic chicken could survive here, unless predators are fenced out, so we had a very big run for them. I would have a fall on the ice, most every year that we had them, and now with arthritis in the spine, i decided that those multiple runs to try to get eggs before they froze...just wasn't worth the risk.

So, now i just have my racing pigeons to tend, once a day...even that is getting tough for this ol lady.

But, we have wild birds (sharptails, partridge, pheasants) that visit often.

They have to be trained to roost HIGH off the ground.

and the roost area has to be free of vines etc. that for example a weasel could climb.

I had 3 perfect years, bird wise, when the birds were Zero-maintenance, because they used an outdoor roost.

They preferred that, even when the temperatures fell to about 20 degrees F.

But then they sort of lost their Formation and the next best thing I could do was to let them roost in the garage.

Where they produce lots of quality bird-poop-straw.

The floor of the garage is covered with boxes covered with straw.

Some plastic, some cardboard, all measuring 24 x 36 inches.
 

St. Phatty

Active member
I got over-Dosed with Roosters. Got 4 hens & 6 Roosters using the garage as a coop.

One of that egg batch is a Little Orange Guy, the smallest male with a MAXIMUM amount of attitude.

He also has the prettiest feathers, and his rear feathers are always cocked to the side. I think that's natural for him, but for most birds it is a sign of aggression.

Therefore I can't keep him with the birds in the garage.

Anyway, he lives in indoors and is pretty smart for a bird with 200 million brain cells. He has a new habit of going back into his cage at about 4 PM in the afternoon, which makes taking care of him a lot easier.

I find that a common observation in Rural America is the simple observation that the animals are behaving more intelligently than the humans.

Healthy animals simply have better adaptation skills and cooperation skills than Homo Sapiens Americanus.

I like the movie plot where the birds take over and use the more destructive humans as a Food Source, aided by the Nature-aware folks.

Go Wormie's !
 

St. Phatty

Active member
I'm looking forward to feeding one of the plants in 5 gallon buckets to the birds.

In the current batch there are 2 males, one of which is the Trifoliate plant. So he will get Stud duty.

The other male goes to the Birds !

I have a few thousand hours of wildlife video, from cameras placed near food sources.

One of the hardest animals to film has been Quail. They have a well organized defense and evacuate on a hair trigger.

So I only score Quail footage when I have a camera already set up running, and THEN get lucky.
 

Vandenberg

Active member
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A Chicken joke:
A man was driving along a freeway when he noticed a chicken running alongside his car. He was amazed to see the chicken keeping up with him, as he was doing 50 mph.
He accelerated to 60, and the chicken stayed right next to him.
He sped up to 75 mph, and the chicken passed him.
The man then noticed that the chicken had three legs.
So, he followed the chicken down the road and ended up at a farm.
He got out of his car and saw that all the chickens had three legs.

He asked the farmer, "what's up with these chickens?"
The farmer said, "Well, everybody likes chicken legs, so I bred a three-legged bird. I'm going to be a millionaire."
The man asked him how they tasted.
The farmer said, "don't know, haven't caught one yet."


Deep Litter for Chickens: Another Lost Technique From the Golden Age​

A Deep Litter Quickstart:​

For the impatient, here’s a deep-litter quickstart:
  • Deep litter is not about compost. It’s about healthier chickens. Do your serious composting on a compost pile.
  • Deeper is better. It’s not “deep litter” unless it’s at least six inches deep.
  • Don’t let it cake.
  • If the top of the litter gets caked over with manure, skim off the caked part and toss it into a corner. Within a few days, natural composting will cause it to turn back into litter again. It works like magic.
  • Deep litter has anti-coccidiosis properties, but only after it’s been around for a few months, building its own unique biome, so never remove all of it. When you start bumping your head on the rafters, remove most of it.
  • (Optional) Stir in hydrated lime at about ten pounds per hundred square feet to keep the litter more friable.
  • Use more ventilation. If you can smell ammonia in the chicken house, you don’t have enough ventilation. Open the windows, even if it’s twenty below outside. Ammonia is a poison gas; cold weather is just a nuisance to grown chickens.
  • It’s labor-saving. If you’re spending a significant amount of time messing with the litter, you’re doing it wrong.

Vandenberg :)
 
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Dime

Active member
A Chicken joke:
A man was driving along a freeway when he noticed a chicken running alongside his car. He was amazed to see the chicken keeping up with him, as he was doing 50 mph.
He accelerated to 60, and the chicken stayed right next to him.
He sped up to 75 mph, and the chicken passed him.
The man then noticed that the chicken had three legs.
So, he followed the chicken down the road and ended up at a farm.
He got out of his car and saw that all the chickens had three legs.

He asked the farmer, "what's up with these chickens?"
The farmer said, "Well, everybody likes chicken legs, so I bred a three-legged bird. I'm going to be a millionaire."
The man asked him how they tasted.
The farmer said, "don't know, haven't caught one yet."

Vandenberg :)

The Rooster

A farmer goes to the market looking for a new rooster because his old one became impotent. He finds a nice Rooster for 50 cents and asks the owner what was wrong with it. "This rooster f's everything and i cant get him to stop, please take him" said the man,no charge. The farmer takes the rooster home and puts him in a cage. During the night he heard his pigs squealing like crazy, the next morning the farmer found the rooster got out of his cage and got in the pig pen and all of his sows have been f'd. "Better cut that out or you'll kill yourself" the farmer said,stick to the hens. The next night he hears the cows mooing and rustling around in the barn. In the morning he finds the rooster in the corner and that all the cows have been f'd. "Rooster I'm tellin you your gonna kill yourself." the farmer scolded him. The next night the same thing happened with the horses and then the next night with the goats until the rooster f'd every thing that had a pulse. The farmer told his rooster the same thing,"Rooster your gonna kill yourself doing that." The next night the farmer heard not a sound . In the morning the farmer looked out into his pasture and saw the rooster laying on his back feet in the air with vultures circling above him. The farmer went out to him took his hat off and said, " I told you, you were gonna kill yourself." The rooster opened one eye and said, "Shhh, they're about to land."
 

Nannymouse

Active member
Cochins are sweet birds. I sure did feel sorry for those that were at the fair, the weather is sooooo hot when we have our state fair. Chickens were all panting. I heard that some of the chickens died from over heating.

Cochins wouldn't be my choice of bird for 'down south', but they are adorable.
 

Vandenberg

Active member

This person has many informative insights into this worldwide problem as zoonotic transfer of disease to random mammals and then to humans is becoming more common in recent years, so here is some food for thought on the subject of Poultry Biosecurity techniques in the 21st century. :)

Biosecurity and chickens:​

what does it mean; what should you do?​

Biosecurity for chickens. Pin for later.

Let's start at the beginning.
What is biosecurity?
It may sound challenging but it's actually very simple.
Biosecurity is putting in place ways of protecting your chickens from disease.
For poultry farms it can become complex and potentially costly. For us as backyard chicken keepers, it's really a case of "informed common sense".
In other words, finding out what's a threat to our chickens' health, and putting in place ways of helping control it.
It doesn't take lots of money. It takes a purposeful mindset and an agreement from everyone involved with your flock that they will take it seriously.

Why is biosecurity for chickens important?​

In 2020, we learned from bitter experience how far and how quickly disease can spread. Practicing biosecurity with our chickens is part of the solution to specific diseases which can spread between chicken flocks.
Having biosecurity solutions in place will:
  • reduce infection, illness and death in chickens without the need for antibiotics
  • reduce the risk of spreading infection between flocks
  • increase our own and our family's health by ensuring risk free, safe eggs
  • boost our chickens' health
  • reduce costs, because of the reduced need for drugs and veterinary intervention.
Put simply, biosecurity is taking steps to make sure we have healthy families, that animals and plants don't get sick, that our flock's health is optimised, and that we prevent conditions which mean disease is more likely to spread.
By adopting what are essentially common-sense processes into our chicken-keeping, we can make sure our flocks and our families are kept as safe as they possibly could be.

What are the main diseases as a result of poor biosecurity in backyard flocks?​

One of the main sources of disease for poultry is migrating birds, particularly waterfowl.
Those birds can introduce the particularly virulent diseases like Avian Influenza (bird flu) and Newcastle disease.
Bird flu - text made up from birds against blue sky.

Bird flu - often introduced to backyard flocks by migrating birds.
Although bird flu often starts in its "low pathogenic" form, it can (and often does) develop into "highly pathogenic", where the mortality rate in chicken flocks within 48 hours is 100%.
Other common sources of disease include flying insects such as mosquitoes and flies, animals, in particular rodents, and dirty coops and equipment both on our own property and, importantly, transferred from other people.
The types of disease can be bacterial, like e.coli, salmonella, fowl cholera and Mycoplasma; viral such as Marek's; fungal as in Candiasis and some eye infections; and protozoan, for example Coccidiosis.
We're also talking about a need to control common parasites like mites and worms. And flies can also cause one of the most insidious of all: flystrike.
/////////.////////.//////.//////////.
I highly recommend the following 496 page Chicken handbook that covers the art and science ( mostly science) of chicken husbandry quite well. :) It is well worth the Twenty dollars for the hard paperback copy, I do see the kindle edition is only $2.99 which is " cheep" :) . A valuable go to resource when the potential question of "what's wrong with the chicken" comes along.

The Chicken Health Handbook, 2nd Edition: A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease by Gail Damerow
Healthy chickens are happy chickens.
This one-of-a-kind reference book covers the health problems that plague chickens of all breeds and ages.
Practical charts identify common symptoms and causes of infection, while an alphabetic listing of diseases provides advice on treatment.
You’ll find helpful descriptions of troublesome ailments of all types, from poor egg production to crooked toe syndrome.
Practical remedies and gentle preventative care measures will help your beloved flock stay happy, healthy, and safe.

Vandenberg :)
 

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St. Phatty

Active member
Bird Flu is only an issue because of the VERY stupid farming methods used by American Agribiz.

Essentially they construct a HUGE petri dish, with unhealthy birds crammed into tight spaces.

OF COURSE the virus will reproduce exponentially - that's what viruses do.
 

Vandenberg

Active member
I just bought some quail netting to put above my chain link chicken runs to protect from death from above with 2 ft wide coated fencing going down on the ground ( gravel on top) around the perimeter of runs too for anti dig purposes. I have some month old little chicklets in the brooder in a new to me lavender blue breed that has a trademarked name of "Sapphire Gem" that is in the 300+ eggs a year club as are the "Golden Comets" sex-linked hens that we have also acquired from the local ranch store. Those eggs will come at you fast and furious like when they hit about 4 to 6 months old, the Golden being the quickest to mature. :)
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Vandenberg :)
 

armedoldhippy

Active member
Veteran
The Dinosaurs were basically large chickens, before they figured out how to grow feathers.
large chickens with TEETH! :yoinks: feathers are just specialized scales. my buddies chickens have finally started laying. he told me today that out of the first dozen eggs he got, 9 of them were double yolks. i told him they were making up for lost time...
 

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