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You can keep eggs 3 plus months in the frig. I have kept them hanging in a basket in my kitchen for 2 plus months in mild temperatures with no trouble. Store bought eggs ARE washed in bleach water. Remember eggs breath. That bleach water IS getting into the egg white and yolk. Never use regular soap to clean. I use Mrs. Myers organic dish soap. A couple of drops to sink full of water. Air dry on a matt. I get busy and forget to collect my eggs sometimes. I usually find one or two a day since they've started up again this spring. However, I've forgotten for about 5 days or more and I found 11 eggs today.

Are they good? If its not hot weather but cooler you ought to be fine. Trouble with not gathering often is the nests can get too full and eggs get cracked then the hens start pecking at the broken ones. Test eggs in plain water, no salt needed, a rotting egg will have gas developing and cause it to float.

A fresh egg sinks to bottom of glass or a still fresh but not very fresh will bob a little but not float. Crack questionable eggs in a separate bowl before adding it to your cooking as a precaution. I would like to know the answer to this question as well any info would be greatly appreciated thank u.

When eggs are sitting at room temperature, they can last for weeks. Of course, you can test your eggs yourself. You want to wait until they are fully feathered, about 6 to 8 weeks. Especially if they will be introduced outside with no supplemental heat. I like to eat a same day fresh egg from my chickens, is this safe.

I have heard the older generation say that an egg should not be eaten on the day it is laid. Is this true? Eggs can absolutely be eaten same day, same hour even, of being laid. Too fresh eggs, when boiled, don't peel the shell off easily as eggs a couple or more weeks old ones do. I have been letting my hens roam the yard since purchased a week or 2 ago.

Today I just noticed that one of them had laid 4 eggs. I do not know how long they have been there done my husband usually cares for them and he also didn't know we had eggs. Should I leave them there and see if they will hatch? Also I would like to know how long I have to pick them up if I want to eat them.

The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply

No, You shouldn't leave them there, They'll only hatch if you have a rooster and has mated with your hen. Also if your hen lays the egg and leaves it, you should collect it asap because She might peck and eat the egg, and if the hen lays and sits on the eggs, then she is a broody hen and you should get her some fertilized eggs and then she'll hatch the eggs.

Hens will lay eggs which are always unfertlized, meaning that they will never hatch, Now if your hen has mated with a rooster, The egg can be fertilized and if the hen leaves the fertilized egg, you shall pick it up and incubate it for about 22 days and it will hatch! Even if using this mornings eggs, steaming them for minutes depending on size the shell comes off perfectly.

I have found this is the best way to hard boil day old or week old eggs. I have 10 chickens that will start laying in about two weeks or so. Lately when I go down to feed them, a couple of them have seemed aggressive and one in particular came up and pecked me so hard on one hand and the back of one leg that it broke the skin, bled and hurt pretty badly. What would make a chicken do that?

And, what would be the most effective way to stop that kind of behavior? Okay,I don't know if this will answer your question. But my buddy has chickens and he had the same problem. This sounds kinda weird but it's really not if you do it. It's kinda interesting at times. When I go out and feed my girls,I stoop down with them and just chill with them for a minute or two. I can put my hand in front of there face and they won't do anything they will just come up to me and get petted.

There way mellow. I told my buddy to try that and it seems to of worked for him. His are mellow now. Why do chickens lay soft shell eggs?


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Only today and I feed with laying feed with high calcium content. First time looking at your site. Once a hen has hatched out chicks, when can she be expected to lay eggs Unfertilized? I love your sight it has helped me out a lot being that I am a beginner Just got 25 babies in Monday. I've been doing quail for about 6 months now and decided to start raising chickens. Just got the baby chics in Monday. I googled how to raise chickens and when I found your sight it all made a lot more since. Thanks to who ever you are this sight helped me out a lot.

We are looking to get 8 hens. We are planning to use a 10x10 pen is going to be large enough for them and how big should the coop be for them? Generally, folks say 4 square feet per girl at minimum. A 6x8 would be fine and a 10x10 gives some nice extra room. I know someone who hatchs. She peels them out of their shell as soon as they peck a hole. Many die, i find it inhumane and cruel. Just like dogs or cats or any animals, different breeds of chickens have different qualities.

Some chickens are flighty and anxious. Some are cuddly and loving. Some are great egg layers. Some lay crazy color eggs. Some thrive in hot climates. Some are made for freezing weather. You need to decide what qualities are important to you and your family. We have all three and they are all amazing.

Most folks get their chicks from a farm store in the Spring. Your selection will be limited, but some bigger farm stores will sell a huge variety of breeds. We ordered our first batch of chicks from an online hatchery, and just like everything in life, there are pros and cons.

Pros: you get to pick your exact breeds, get only hens, and the chicks are normally in really good health. Cons: there is a lot of stress in the shipping process for both the chicks and you. You might lose some chicks if the weather gets cold or there are shipping delays. I think the best of both worlds is finding a local hatchery to you where you can pick up your chicks. Now you need to decide how many chicks to get! They are so tiny!

And so cute! But try hard to remember that each fluffy baby chick will become a big, pooping, eating, adult chicken—and you need to have space for them. I recommend starting with chicks, and going from there you can always add more chickens in years to come. Taking care of chicks is actually pretty simple. You need to make sure they have clean water and a good quality chick starter food. I highly recommend using an organic chicken food—and Purina makes a great organic chick starter that you can get at most farm supply stores. Other than that, just keep an eye on them and love on them!

Chances are, your chicks will be happy and healthy, but use your instincts — if something feels wrong, do an internet search to see what other chickenkeepers are saying. There is a great backyard chicken community online, and your question has probably already been answered! If the weather is warm, you can bring them outside and let them roam around and get a taste of the great outdoors for a little bit every now and again—just make sure you have some way to keep them secure. They can be slippery little buggers! Other than that, just enjoy being a chicken parent.

See how easy it is? Your chicks will be in the brooder for about six weeks before they move into their permanent home—the coop. Guess what? Six weeks is pretty much the perfect amount of time to research and build your own coop! The markup on premade chicken coops is unbelievably high! We ended up making our own coop using The Garden Coop plans. Highly recommended! Your coop will need some sort of bedding in probably three locations.

In the nesting boxes, just use straw that the chickens will form into nests. In the hen house, we use cob just like we do in the brooder. And in the run, we use sand. Sand is easy to clean like kitty litter , really affordable, and, most importantly to us, it helps keep the coop cool when it gets super hot here in the summer.

Letting chickens roam free is nice, in theory, but chickens are prey animals, and can be really difficult to keep safe from predators.

Keeping chickens

An option in between cooped and free range is penned ranging—where the chickens roam in a large run or pen throughout the day, and then are shut into a coop during the day. Either way, you want good stuff. Trust me, you can tell the difference between eggs from a chicken who is fed good quality feed and one who is not.

We choose to feed our chickens organically, and we really like the Purina line of organic poultry feeds. We love it because they are readily available at even our small town feed stores. I'm also going to mention what I don't like about these systems. This document is a work in progress. Your feedback is appreciated. The moment you put an animal in a cage or behind a fence, you are taking responsibility for the welfare of that animal. If you are a person of conscience, then you want to treat the animal well - possibly giving it a life better than if the animal were on its own in the wild.

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Does this imply that every person of conscience who has caged any animal has the arrogance to believe that they can improve upon nature's designs? We can attempt to protect the animals from predators - this is easy to wrap our heads around. We can attempt to provide food that is better than what they would find in the wild.

But wait The first domesticated chickens were plucked from the jungle. For thousands of years, chickens have been bred to survive non-jungle situations. But when they get loose they rarely survive anywhere on their own but in the jungle. The chickens got out and wiped out the strawberries! Consider for a moment being put into a cage where your only food is moldy "purina human chow" everything your human needs for growth and reproduction - now with ground up minerals! And just out of reach of your cage is fresh strawberries. This image would not be complete without a farmer saying "I must be doing a good job of raising these humans, because most of them haven't died!

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The jungle comes complete with polyculture foods all year long. Greens, bugs, fruits, grains and more. Mostly fresh. Something we cannot do all year because we have winter. Most chicken feeds eliminate three out of four of these - leaving only grain. And that grain is dried grain - not fresh. I see people build massive, elaborate stuff for raising chickens that deprive them of fresh foods or bugs even in the summer.

Or natural sunlight. Or have them standing in their own poop all day. Or, worse, the chickens are killed by predators. These are all of the methods I'm aware of for raising chickens. All of these can be done in the city or on a farm. And lots of folks come up with combinations of these, like using a coop and run, but letting your chickens free range once in a while. I'm a strong advocate of the last one: paddocks. Later I'll go into a lot of detail of why I like paddocks so much more than the others.

But, first, I want to make up some metrics to better help me describe why I like the paddocks approach so much. I've tried to come up with a way to represent these ideas numerically. For comparison. So rather than just "yes" or "no" I'm trying to find a way to express how much better one way is over another way.

I've tried to use a scale such that the value 10 is best. These numbers are entirely made up by me and are a numerical representation of my opinion. This is the strongest driving force to me. If I can get my feed bill near zero, then I have increased my profit margin by a factor of 8 or so. Plus, I am powerfully driven by the idea of my animals eating from a polyculture. Nearly half of a chicken's natural diet is bugs. The more bugs a chicken can eat, the less feed I have to buy. What's funny about the egg carton pictured is right next to "vegetarian diet" is "certified humane". Layers packed into small cages, meat birds in huge warehouses.

Poop and stink everywhere. No natural sun. The so called "free range" birds are given a patch of grass, but it seems so alien to them, they choose to not take advantage of it - they would rather hang out by the feeder. The following pics are so gross, they are intentionally left small. After all, this isn't really what this article is about, but it is presented as a reference. You can click on any of the pictures to get a full size pic.

I would like to thank farmsanctuary. A cute couple of videos showing factory farm issues - with "Moofius" and "Leo". There are some innacuracies, but, it's still fun to watch. Exactly one non-portable chicken coop and exactly one non-portable chicken run. Probably the most common way to be raising chickens. This is, no doubt, a huge step above and beyond what the factories do. An excellent first step. And while I embrace this technique as something that can be "pretty good" I hope to impress upon you by the end of the article something I think is better. I wish to express that we all have to start somewhere.

It is better to have something like everybody else the first time and learn by it, than to shoot for perfection the first time and never be raising chickens at all! Coop and run is how I was raising chickens as a kid. It was how I did it when I was first raising chickens as an adult.

I think that whenever somebody first has the thought of raising chickens, this is what they imagine. This is my rendition of a typical coop and run in the city. Although it is usually the same for folks on a farm. The point of this image is the part that is brown. That designates an area where stuff doesn't grow anymore. So the vegetation factor would be the same for a factory farm: zero. Although I have never seen it, I can imagine a chicken run loaded with plenty of variety of plants edible to chickens. But without the element of paddock shift more on paddock shift later , the vegetation cannot do nearly as well.

With a really big run, the same thing happens, but a bigger fence means more bugs will find their way in. Maybe the lower layers will eventually compost and you'll have less muck to muck out some folks do this compost trick with the idea that it will warm the coop in the winter - it works, but I have concerns about it too.

What an awful job. I would think that a lot of people would switch to the paddock system for this one reason alone! If the run is too small, you might have to shovel poop out of the run too. Damn nasty! To me, this seems just plain wrong. The only shelter that the chicken has is a disgusting health hazard. Often, the ground is covered in poop and there are even little poop mounds under the roosts. Smaller runs are sometimes one big layer of chicken poop. Sometimes daily. Some coop designs have a mesh bottom where most of the poop falls through to a compost pile underneath.

But there is still poop on the wire mesh and there is still that awful amonia smell coming from the pile. Some folks scoop poop every day, some folks scoop poop more like once a month. It is possible to have a watering system and bigger feeder set up to cut back on the feeding chores. And if your coop has a mesh bottom, you might be able to just throw straw or sawdust onto the poop pile once a week - but eventually that pile has to be dealt with.

And you are still going to need to clean that mesh once in a while. I can imagine a massive chicken run loaded with 20 trees and loads of bushes and all sorts of polyculture edible growies. Unfortunately, the chickens will eventually have an over impact on a lot of those growies and the quality will slowly degrade. Hence the value of "1". I've never seen a run that I would give a value of higher than 3, but it is theoretically possible to have a really huge run - so I'm allowing a value of "6" on the high side.

Any grains or annuals will probably be wiped out before they can get very big. But some good trees could provide a fair amount of food. A paddock system would have a micro coop that you can drag around from paddock to paddock. Easier and cheaper to build than any of the non-portable coops I've seen. And since the micro coop is portable, there is no more mucking out the coop and the vegetation under and around the coop doesn't get wiped out.

Since there is loads of chicken poop in the area and a lack of plant growth to take in the manure, the poop is headed for the groundwater supply. The following picture is provided with permission from happyeggs. I think this is an excellent example of a typical chicken run that has been in use for more than a few months. Note the pits. That's where the chickens have scratched and scratched in the same spot for months. The upside is that they make themselves some lovely dust baths - something that chickens need. Note also - no edible vegetation in the run although there is vegetation outside of the run.

If you go to their site and look, you will see that they have about 20 chickens and they have room to spare. These folks could take their existing fencing and make a paddock about half the size of this one on fresh vegetation; then make a new paddock like that once a week and move the chickens to the new paddock. They could probably easily have five paddocks like this. The chickens would then constantly be on edible vegetation and get far more bugs. Plus they would have less chance of getting sick being in the same place all the time and I have lots more to say about this, but I'll say it all later.

This picture is of my first chicken run as an adult from a long time ago. You can see that there is a LOT more vegetation outside of the run. Proof that the chickens do eat this stuff. Consider - the more of this stuff they eat, the less your feed bill is. Note how the chickens are down to the dirt under the bush. Also note how the vegetation inside of the run is less diverse than the vegetation outside the run: chickens have preferences - there were lots of "weeds" outside of the run, but only grass and the serviceberry bush inside the run.

The chickens like "weeds" better than grass. The fencing in this case is 6 feet tall field fence. This is generally a small, portable pen about three feet wide and six feet long with no bottom. You keep three to six chickens in it. The reason it is called a tractor is because it is used a bit like a rototiller I think "chicken tiller" or "chicken plow" would probably have been more accurate - oh well.

The idea is that you leave this pen in one spot and the chickens will eat all of the vegetation and will scratch for bugs and stuff. In the end, it is lightly tilled and covered in chicken poop - all ready for you to plant your crops! There are people who do not use a chicken tractor structure this way. They use their chicken tractor structure as tiny salatin-style pen, which I discuss later.

This technique is sometimes referred to as a "chicken ark".

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For this section I am going to refer strictly to the chicken tractor used to eliminate all vegetation. For the "chicken ark" style of use, please refer to the salatin-style pen section. The pictures below are from the Washington State University test fields: the person giving the tour bounced back and forth between calling these chicken tractors or salatin-style "pastured poultry" pens. Although these are definitely bigger than anything I would call a chicken tractor, they are also smaller than anything I would call a salatin-style "pastured poultry" pen.

The important thing is the clear demonstration of my concern with a chicken tractor. The first pic shows where the tractor will be put tommorrow The second pic shows where the tractor was yesterday. The important part of this pic is to note how much greenery was consumed yesterday. These are about five feet wide and ten feet long. With 35 chickens in each. That, in my opinion, is way too many chickens for such small pens. I think that such small pens should have no more than 15 to 20 birds and should be moved at least twice a day.

While the WSU pictures show some of my concerns about raising chickens in chicken tractors, I do have to say that in this picture, WSU has mitigated my primary concern even though you might not be able to tell in the picture. First, the chicken tractor concept is to eliminate ALL vegetation - which clearly is not done in this picture.

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Second, I happen to know that this is not a normal pasture. This is a test plot. A pasture would contain 10 to plant species - a few of which would be toxic. This test plot contains only clover and rye. Neither of which is toxic to chickens. While I have seen many cases of chicken tractors eliminating all vegetation from a polyculture, I did not think to take a picture of it. Please don't ever use a "chicken tractor" to remove all vegetation. This may debatably be good for your garden, but I think it is a terrible way for raising chickens - as I will explain below. I asked for more pics here and somebody sent me this.

Too cute to throw out. Since chickens will instinctively eat what is good for them, they start off really great! But once all of the good stuff is gone, then they eat the slightly toxic stuff. And then they are walking the edge between craving greens and the only greens being poison - so they slowly eat the poisonous greens - slowly enough so that they don't die.

They might not even show any signs of being ill. But you probably do notice that the last few bits of green seem to last 20 times longer than the first bits of green. Before moving, nearly all the ground has poop. Sometimes the pen is not moved until there is a solid mat of poop. About half the feedback I get on this article is bashing me for bashing chicken tractors. I have to put the word "truly" in there because factory farms use the phrase "free range" to mean something really stupid. The idea here is that your chickens have 24x7 access to your whole place. On the farm, you probably have no fence and the chickens just don't go too far from the food.

In the city, you might have a fenced in yard and the chickens just stay in there. Usually there's a coop where the chickens go to lay eggs and to roost every night. If so, then you have all of the hassles that come with the coop. If not, then you have all of the hassles that come with finding eggs or finding the chickens when it is time to harvest. To get a 10, you have a rich polyculture that has far more food than the chickens could eat. At first this was "3 to 4" and then I had some people write to me to say that they had terrible problems with poop all over all sorts of things where they didn't want poop and it was far worse than the worst coop!

They implored me to discourage folks from raising chickens with a free range approach due to the endless poop everywhere. And then I had people write to me to insist that I should give a value of 10 since they have personally never seen any chicken poop with their free range chickens. I suppose if you had some nearly feral chickens this could happen.

So after a bunch of conversations I'm opening it to the full range, but I think the average is gonna be 3. Usually right on your porch. They like you. Again, a couple of feral-ish chickens on lots of acres will be what scores a 10 - but this isn't very common.