A Word from the Birds: The 3 Most Common Questions We Get About Chickens.

This blog was born way back in 2009 to record our foray into flock-keeping. Back then you were actually considered kind of cool if you had chickens and especially if you had a blog. Now, people just think we’re farmers and, of course, everyone has a blog.

But I did notice recently that Polloplayer, which began as a way to show grandkids then on the East coast photos of our baby chicks, today has more than 500 followers. Thank you so much to all who take the time to faithfully follow and especially to those who post encouraging comments. So fun to see those!

And since we did begin as a chicken blog, every now and then it seems wise to return to our roots in chickendom:

It’s spring and the ladies are laying again. Here’s Willa on the nest:

Which reminds me of the #1 question I get as a flock-keeper: How do you get eggs if you don’t have a rooster?

I would have asked the same question fourteen years ago and I hear it over and over. The answer: hens lay eggs with or without a rooster. The only difference is that with a rooster, the eggs will be fertilized and can result in baby chicks. Hens living spinster lives without rooster produce infertile eggs.

#2: The second topic that always seems to surprise people is the answer to What do chickens eat?

Most people seem to think they are vegetarians, a belief that is encouraged by egg brand marketers:

It’s a big selling point for eggs these days, but the truth is that “vegetarian fed” chickens are not the happiest chickens. Yes, our hens have a staple diet of layer crumble, which is indeed vegetarian with corn, soybean and wheat as the top three ingredients.

And they do enjoy a nice salad course (too bad about those succulents we planted)::

But you know what they really like to eat?

Worms. And bugs.

It rained here a week ago and the hens have had a field day feasting on every manner of creepy crawly creature that emerged from the ground after a good soaking. Here are the girls busily digging holes in search of worms and grubs:

So when you ask, “what do chickens eat?” the answer is “pretty much everything!” Be mindful not to give them avocado or green potato skins, which are toxic to them, but other than a brief list of other no-no’s, almost any kitchen scrap is gobbled down. Even, and including, scrambled eggs and cooked chicken.

And #3: The third question I hear when someone learns that we have a flock of hens is “But aren’t chickens dirty?”

The answer to that one is “only if the humans allow them to be dirty“. I’ve seen a few sorry barnyards with soiled, bedraggled hens. But it’s not the norm and shouldn’t be! Keeping the coop and the birds clean is key to keeping them healthy. It’s as simple as disposing of their waste on a regular basis and as complicated as the very occasional bath if a hen’s fluffy butt ends up being matted with soil or waste. Hens want to be clean and that’s why you’ll see them create their own dust baths to free their feathers of dirt or unwanted mites or parasites. Here’s Bella having a dirt bath:

I often watch the hens as they go about their daily routine and think how much easier life would be for them if only they had hands! There are so many things they can’t do for themselves, having to manage it all with just their beaks and their strange and sturdy little dinosaur feet. But God decided to give them wings instead of arms – maybe that just means they are angels:-)

Again, thanks to all the Polloplayer followers from everyone in the flock!

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in All Things Poultry, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Word from the Birds: The 3 Most Common Questions We Get About Chickens.

  1. Christina Tunger says:


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. dizzyguy says:

    Interesting concept, linking the chickens to angels; let’s go with that. So next Christmas we’ll need 5 coat hangers to dangle the ladies from our tree. Live performances are a bonus!

  3. citymama says:

    The hens digging for worms looks like me at a sale at Saks. 🙂 Love this post. Thanks for teaching us about the ladies and giving them such wonderful lives.

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