Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Chickens

Here’s a little chicken info that I recently learned…Did you know that a chicken’s comb is an indicator of their dominance within the flock?   Did you know that chickens have a “pecking order”?  

Sadly, I learned about the pecking order fairly quickly (hens exemplify the definition of “Mean Girls”), but it was only recently that I learned about the comb significance.  I’ve been watching my girls since I learned this info, and have found this to be the case in my flock!  See those two hens in the picture above?  Both are the same age.  Notice how the hen in the chair has a nice, large comb on her head?  Then see the smaller chicken on the ground, with the smaller comb?  Guess which one rules the roost!  The more dominant hens get the choice spots in the hen-house–in front of the picture window!!!

Wow!  The daily adventures with “my girls” continue, and they constantly keep me entertained with their antics.  I’ve discovered  that they like to peck and pull at whatever I’m wearing, whether my clothing has patterns or beads or not!  The bottoms of my pajama shorts always make a handy “target”–and so does the hole in the toe of my Croc!  And in case you’re wondering–yes, I do go out to feed the chickens in my pajamas!  We live in the country, and here, a person can get away with doing things like that!

Yesterday morning I was a little later than usual in tending to the girls.  By “tending”, I mean replenishing their feed, giving them fresh water, and scooping the droppings out of their hen-house.  I’ve noticed that one of the hens seems to be on a schedule of laying every morning at 9 o’clock.  It was getting close to  9, and I was still cleaning out the hen-house.  One of the hens jumped into the hen house–while I was still tidying up– and started singing and acting like a child who has to go to the bathroom really bad…I took her cue, and quickly gave her some privacy.  Within minutes, I had a fresh egg.  I didn’t find a second egg yesterday afternoon, but had one waiting in the nest this morning.  What’s up with that?

I’ve discovered that one hen lays tiny eggs, while the other hen’s eggs are a little larger.  One hen”s eggs are also darker than the other’s.  The second hen’s egg was in the nest this morning.  I don’t know when she laid it, but it was cold.

Speaking of those eggs, I’ve begun to use some of them in the kitchen!  The yolks don’t look a lot different from store-bought eggs, just a little richer in color.  I’m happy about that!  We once had some chickens who laid eggs with dark orange yolks, and that took some getting used to.  I was pleasantly surprised to find these eggs are more normal in color–or should I say more the color I’m accustomed to?  The main difference I notice in these eggs, other than the color of their shell, is the thickness of the shell.  They can be quite difficult to crack!

Before I go, here are a couple of interesting things about my girls, that I’ve failed to mention before.  The girls love sand!  I learned this when they were still tiny chicks, and I’d offer them some parakeet gravel and grit.  They would go crazy pecking and scratching at the sand!  These days, I just buy a bag of white  play sand, and dump it in one end of their coop.  My girls go wild over that sand!  They eat it like feed.  After they’ve eaten all they want, they scratch and dig in what’s left.  When one bag of sand disappears, I buy them another.

My girls also love anything green–weeds, grass, vegetables–they’re not picky.  It gives us something to do with the weeds and grass that we pull from the garden and flower beds, too.  Not much goes to waste, when you have chickens.  They’ll eat practically anything!   Speaking of eating practically anything–you’ll never guess what their favorite treat is!  Freeze dried meal worms!  Doesn’t that sound lovely?  Yeah, they look and smell gross, too…but the girls just love ’em!

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Published in: on August 9, 2012 at 9:28 am  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This was very interesting, thank you for the lessons I learned today.

  2. You probably have the most well-attended chickens in the world! Well fed too – what a varied diet.
    You mention the shells and different colors of the yolks. But have you noticed a difference in their taste?

  3. I think the color of the yoke is a reflection of what the hens eat…..also, sand or gravel is necessary to digestion sort of like the reason one gives a pet bird gravel/grit in their cages.

    Mama Bear

  4. Hooray! Another installment about the girls. I am thinking the sand winds up in the crop. When my mother was small, the family chickens got into a bag of dried field peas that had fallen from where they were stored for seed.

    They ate and ate and soon those chickens started swelling up. After a couple suffered crops ruptured from the dried peas swelling from absorbed moisture, her father got a razor blade, a needle and thread. With the help of her mother, he performed surgery, slicing them open, cleaning out the peas and stitching them up. All lived but the ones who had ruptured before surgery.

    I guess they became Sunday dinner

  5. I’m learning so much about chickens … very interesting.

  6. Interesting… 🙂


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