Keeping Chickens for Eggs

Recently, we’ve started keeping chickens. We are actually vegetarians, so don’t use them for meat. They’re a part of our family, pets, and provide eggs to feed us. This isn’t something I’ve always wanted, but it ended up happening and I love it. The chickens are wonderful, friendly, and are a great way to spend our care and energy.

What happened was a chicken wandered into our driveway. My wife came home and found a chicken underneath my car pecking at the ground. After running around the street for a while dodging cars, we caught her and brought her into our backyard. I looked on Craigslist, NextDoor, and Facebook to see if anyone had lost a chicken. We even have a few neighbors with chickens, so we asked all of them if they were missing one.

When nobody claimed her, we suddenly ended up with a chicken. We built a coop, put up a little fence in our yard to keep her in, and got her some friends from a local breeder. Now, we have 7 chickens, all female. They get along pretty well, keep us busy, and are fun to interact with. It’s an act of love as we have to clean chicken poop quite often, but they’re really awesome to have in the backyard.

My favorite part about having chickens is the eggs they lay. We eat the eggs, give them to friends, and bake with them. Eating eggs produced by chickens in our backyard really helps us stay connected to the food. We are grateful for our chickens, feel a deep connection with what we’re putting in our bodies, and it’s just a really beautiful experience.

Finding the eggs is fun, too. Usually they lay right in their nesting boxes, and we go check regularly to see if any eggs are there. Some of our chickens lay eggs in the bushes or their little spots, so we have to go look for them. This doesn’t happen all the time, but does sometimes when they grow broody. Although sometimes annoying, it is fun to find the random egg in our yard in a funny spot.

When Chickens Don’t Lay

Sometimes, our chickens don’t lay eggs, which can be concerning. The Hen’s Egg has great information on why your chickens may not be laying eggs, and we’ve learned a lot about how to make sure our chickens are healthy. Sometimes, just a little cold can mean a chicken wont’ lay. Or, the weather may prevent them from doing so. They have to conserve energy to keep their little bodies warm in the winter!

The chickens also don’t lay when they’re moulting, which is the process of shedding the feathers for new ones. This happens in the change of seasons and can last a month or a few months. Many people get concerned during this time, but it’s perfectly natural. Chickens need the calcium and protein to grow new feathers, and thus don’t produce eggs.

Another reason we’ve seen is that chickens begin laying at different ages. Telling when hens start laying eggs can be difficult. Many breeds start laying at just a few months old, while others may take six or nine months to start laying. Even among two hens of the same breed, they may start producing at different times. This is normal, and just depends on the individual chicken. Just like humans, they have different bodies and genetics!

How Many Eggs Do Chickens Lay?

Chickens can produce an egg roughly every 25 hours. Some breeds will lay 100 eggs in a year, while others will lay up to 300. It really depends on the breed of chicken, their health, the season, and their individual body. The exciting part is finding out just how much your chickens lay eggs. We get seven eggs some days, and four on others. It’s always a surprise what we’re going to find.