1. How long do chickens live?

Chickens in small flocks live several years if conditions are correct. A life span of 6-8 years may not be unreasonable. Most commercial layers are kept for 2-3 years.

2. How noisy are chickens?

Roosters are VERY noisy, and contrary to popular belief, they don't just crow in the morning. They crow all day long. Hens are much quieter -- you basically won't hear them until they've just laid an egg, or if they're threatened.

3. Where can I get pet chickens for myself?

You can get grown chickens from a local farmer, or you can get baby chicks from a hatchery.

4. What if one of my pet chickens gets sick?

Take it to a veterinarian that specializes in avian medicine or farm animals.

5. Can I have just one chicken?

You shouldn't. Chickens are social creatures and they will not do well alone. I advise a minimum of two.

6. What are certified egg production flocks?

Certified egg production flocks are those flocks that comply with the guidelines established by the United Egg Producers organization. To be certified, flocks must meet requirements in housing and cage space allowance, beak trimming, molting, transportation and handling.

7. Does the small white spot on the egg yolk indicate that the egg is fertile?

No, all eggs have the white spot called the germinal disc. It is almost impossible to determine if an egg is fertile without first incubating it for several hours.

8. Do you have to give chickens baths?

No! Chickens take dust bathsthat keep them clean and free of pests. However, if you plan on showing your chickens in a Poultry Show, you'll want your bird looking her best, so you can wash them with a gentle cleanser and blow them dry.

9. How can the sex of baby chicks be determined?

Vent sexing by an experienced chick sexer can be done at one day of age. This technique is difficult and requires a great deal of experience. If a fast feathering gene has been introduced into the breeding flock, chicks can be sexed by observing the differences in the appearance of the primary wing feathers. The feathers on the wings of the female will be a little longer and in a different pattern than those on the males. Most chickens can not be sexed in this manner.

10. What part of the egg develops into the baby chicken?

The chicks develop from the true egg, seen as a small white spot (germinal disc) on the yolk. If the egg is fertile and incubated at the correct temperature, cell division will continue. The egg white protects the developing embryo and offers some nutrition, however, the yolk is the primary nutrition source.

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11. Do chickens really "come home to roost"?

Yes! Chickens will come back to the same place to sleep every night -- so you can let your chickens roam your yard during the day and when it gets dark they will return to their coop to catch up on their beauty rest. (A "roost" is a pole they perch on, which they much prefer to sleeping on the ground.)

12. Where does Salmonella originate?

Salmonella bacteria are spread in fecal material from all kinds of animals. Animals may also pick up bacteria from the soil or perhaps from contaminated processed feed. The organisms then live in the intestinal tract of the host and may or may not have an effect on the animal. As food animals are slaughtered and processed, there are times when some of the bacteria from the intestines have the opportunity to contaminate uncooked meat products.

13. HOW OLD DOES A HEN HAVE TO BE TO START LAYING EGGS?

Generally speaking, about 20 to 26 weeks. However, there are other factors that may affect it- breed of chicken, weather, time of year, etc. I have had a spring chicken start as young as 16 weeks.

14. Why do chickens and turkeys have light and dark meat?

Different muscles in the body of the bird are used at various rates. Since chickens and turkeys do not fly, the breast muscles (which are used in flight) are not used as much as the leg and thigh muscles and do not require as much oxygen. The oxygen transport mechanism is myoglobin and is present in dissimilar amounts in the muscles which results in the color contrast.

15. DO YOU NEED A ROOSTER TO GET EGGS FROM A CHICKEN?

No. A rooster is only needed if you want fertilized eggs. Just imagine how you would get a rooster to service all those hens in battery cages! As usual very few male animals are needed except for meat puroses.

16. Do cats attack chickens?

In the vast majority of cases, no, but you do hear of this once in a while. Most cats are more intimidated by grown chickens than chickens are of them. Baby chicks are more at risk because they're helpless, but again in our experience cats aren't interested in them. Better to take precautions, though!

17. WHY WOULD A HEN LAY AN UNFERTILIZED EGG?

Beats me! It's just the way mother nature operates! It's probably because as the eggs develop, they are too large to remain inside the hen.

18. HOW MANY EGGS DOES A HEN LAY BEFORE SHE SITS ON THEM?

This is more complicated than it seems! There are usually only about one nest box for every 4-8 hens, they share nests. Hence, the eggs a hen sets on may not all be hers! If she is able to sit on a clutch of 8-10 eggs for any length of time, she may decide to "go broody" and try to hatch them. The process takes about 21 days during which she stops laying. Therefore we collect eggs as soon as possible, to prevent her from becoming broody, and going out of production.

19. ARE CHICKENS VEGETARIANS?

No, not by choice but only as foisted on them by their human "keepers". A chicken free ranging in the yard/field will eat many insects, worms etc. I have even witnessed them eating mice that they encounter. That is like a fight over the last 'hot' christmas gift on Dec 24th or an active rugby game. Watching them fight over and run with the poor mouse in the beak is amazing. They will also eat their own eggs if cracked- all these are animal products.

20. WHAT IS MEANT BY GRADE AA AND GRADE A EGGS?

Egg quality is judged by the size of the air pocket at the top of the egg and the stiffness of the white of the egg. It is usually determined by candling (Passing a bright light through a small hole in the "candler" through the shell of the egg). White eggs are easily candled. Brown eggs are more difficult.The smaller the air pocket and the stiffer the white, the higher the quality. Because the shell is porous, the white can evaporate over time, increasing the size of the air pocket. Commercial eggs are usually sprayed with a fine mist of oil to prolong shelf life.

21. HOW DOES A HEN FERTILIZE AN EGG?

When a rooster mates with a hen, the semen is stored in the oviduct for later use. When she gets ready to lay the egg,a sperm fertilizes the egg before the shell surrounds it. The sperm is viable for about a month in the oviduct.

22. HOW OFTEN DOES A CHICKEN LAY AN EGG?

Some references list the egg laying interval as 27 hours. However that number is across all breeds, all conditions, etc.(If this were true, in practice we would have to alter egg collection by 3 hours each day. This is just not so!) In general, a chicken lays an egg every 24 hours.

23. SOME PEOPLE CLAIM THEIR CHICKENS DIET IS FREE OF ALL ANIMAL PRODUCTS. HOW CAN THAT BE TRUE?

It is not something they can prove 100%! We divide matter up into 3 categories - animal, vegetable and mineral. Animal includes all critters that can move on their own- this includes oysters (we use oyster shell for grit and extra calcium), insects and other critters. If a chicken breaks an egg they usually will eat it. If they catch a mouse in their travels they will rarely pass it up as a meal! The more free range a hen is, the more likely she will have animal products in her diet! The Federal Govt. forbids PROTEIN PRODUCTS OF RUMINANTS (cow, sheep, goat) to be included in chicken feeds (not ALL animal byproducts)[title 21 CFR589.2000]

24. WHO ARE THE WORST PREDATORS OF CHICKENS?

Everybody loves chicken! Daytime, we have hawks, cats and dogs. most predators are nocturnal and include fox, opossum, skunk and raccoon. By far, my worst one is raccoon. They are persistent, clever, can climb or dig and their paws can manipulate. Any opening is a challenge,and they will keep at it until the whole flock is gone.

25. WHAT ARE THE WEIGHTS OF THE VARIOUS SIZES OF EGGS?

All eggs sold in the state of Maryland must be sold by the following weight classes as specified by USDA standards (The minimum weight of each class increases by 3 oz more than the one smaller than it):

EGG WEIGHTS
SIZE OZ/DOZ
Small 18
Medium 21
Large 24
Extra Large 27
Jumbo 30

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26. IF I HAVE AN OLD EGG IN THE REFRIGERATOR, DO I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT CONTAINING A DEVELOPING CHICK?

No.A chick will only develop from a fertilized egg. Secondly, if the egg were refrigerated, that would also prevent the development of a chick in a fertilized egg. Eggs must be incubated at about 93 degrees for 21 days to produce a chick.

27. WHAT IS MEANT BY DEBEAKING AND WHY IS IT SO COMMON?

Debeaking is a misnomer. It should be called "blunting". It is done right after the chick is hatched by burning the tip of the beak electrically, preventing the development of the sharp point of the beak. At the time it causes less stress than cutting a baby's umbilical cord. Chickens tend to be bullies and pick on each other, hence , "pecking order".The result is that they destroy the feathers, mostly on the rear of the bird. If a chicken complains, it only excites the others to pick even more, ultimately resulting in death. This does not end it -they will pick the flesh off, until there is just bone left. Even with plenty of space available, this is a problem. Hence for their own protection, most producers blunt the beak for a healthier flock.

28. THE HEALTH FOOD STORES SAY FERTILIZED EGGS ARE BETTER FOR YOU. IS THIS TRUE?

Imagine that the size of a sperm is much less than a grain of salt. Would you expect a grain of salt to be able to flavor the whole egg? Could you tell the difference? I doubt it. Refrigeration slows development of the embryo and therefore there is no more than the difference of the grain of salt. Why pay any more for that miniscule a difference?

29. WHAT IS A FREE RANGE OR FREE ROAMING EGG?

The eggs are so active we have to cut off their legs to keep them in the carton. Just kidding! It's a matter of sloppy English. What is meant is that the hens are able to run around outside usually in a field or pen.It's the Chicken not the Egg that is free-range! The big question is, are the eggs laid in a nestbox or were they collected from whereever she laid them. If not laid in the nest boxes, then you have to guess how old they are. Another consideration is feed. Plenty of lush grass tends to fill up the hen with less nutritious food. A certain level of protein (16%) is required for good egg production. Pasture fed chickens must have a higher percentage feed than normal to produce similar quality eggs. Does a woman fill up on lettuce when nursing a child? No, she needs to watch her food intake to produce milk. There is always a balancing act. Current research at Penn State states that with optimum forage on pasture, yes, eggs can be higher in Vit E and Omega 3, however, optimum pasture is not a year round possibility with droughts and frozen grounds - it is a limited scenario.The report states:
"The researchers noted that the hens did not forage to the degree necessary to meet their requirements for energy and protein, when compared to the commercial birds. At the end of the experiment, pastured hens weighed 14 percent less and averaged 15 percent lower egg production than commercial birds.
"Pastured hens were lacking dietary protein and energy to match the intake of the commercial hens," Patterson explained. "We have since estimated that, at the level of voluntary forage consumption of hens in this study, pastured hens would require additional mash feed to sustain body weight and egg production equal to that of the commercial hens Supplementing the birds with additional mash, however, would likely result in reduced omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin A and E concentrations in their eggs," he added. "Further research is needed to identify how to optimize pastured poultry feed supplementation for optimum egg production, hen welfare and egg nutritional quality."

30. Basic Poultry Farm Manager interview questions:

► Are you planning to continue your studies?
► Do you work well under pressure?
► Give examples of ideas you've had or implemented.
► Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.
► Do you think you are overqualified for this position?

31. Situational Poultry Farm Manager interview questions:

► Where do you see yourself in five years time?
► Situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise.
► What quality of yours or personal trait matters the most in your career?
► Which subjects did you enjoy during your qualifying degree?
► How did you handle meeting a tight deadline?

Describe your weaknesses as strengths. Make sure your eye contact with the interviewers during the interview. Have some good ones handy to mention.

32. General Poultry Farm Worker interview questions:

► What were your starting and final levels of compensation?
► How did you go about making Poultry Farm Worker assignments?
► Examples of situations when your initiative ideas for improvement have made a significant difference.
► What are you most proud of?
► What have you learned from mistakes on the Poultry Farm Worker job?
► How do you handle failures? Provide examples.
► What were your annual goals at your most current employer?

Explain why you are interested in the job and ask questions about what you possibly dislike.
Tell them about the training you received or the work related experience you gained.
These are most common Poultry Farm Worker interview questions.

33. Video Based Poultry Farm Manager interview questions:

► Give some examples of teamwork.
► Describe a situation in which you had to collect information.
► What would make you happy in a job?
► What do you think, would you be willing to travel for work?
► How would you weigh a plane without scales?

34. Phone based Poultry Farm Manager interview questions:

► Tell me about an important goal that you set in the past.
► If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for?
► What has been your biggest professional disappointment?
► What do you feel is the best educational preparation for this career?
► Tell me about an important issue you encountered recently.

The most important tip is that you have get yourself prepared carefully before the behavioral interview. Limit your answer to your career background and experience. Answer all Poultry Farm Manager interview questions honestly and stay focused throughout the hiring process.

35. Behavioral Poultry Farm Manager interview questions:

► Have you ever had to deal with conflicting deadlines?
► A team experience you found disappointing.
► How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time?
► Give me an example of a high-pressure situation?
► What kinds of situations do you find most stressful?

36. Phone Based Poultry Farm Worker interview questions:

► What motivates you to work as Poultry Farm Worker?
► What are common risks for Poultry Farm Worker? And how to face?
► Give an example when you had to explain a complex technical issue to someone.
► How quickly do you make decisions?
► What changes did you develop at your most recent employer?
► How do you reach a decision if you don't have all the facts?
► List five words that describe your character.

37. Strengths and Weaknesses Based Poultry Farm Manager interview questions:

► What are your salary requirements.
► Tell us about the last time you had to negotiate with someone.
► What do you consider your most significant accomplishment?
► What do you think this position involves.
► Time when you made a suggestion to improve the work.

38. Face to Face Poultry Farm Worker interview questions:

► If selected for this Poultry Farm Worker position, describe your strategy for the first days?
► Which subjects did you enjoy during your qualifying degree?
► What salary are you seeking?
► How quickly do you make decisions?
► How do you react to instruction and criticism?
► Time when you made a suggestion to improve the work.
► What's the most important thing you learned in school?

Talk about desire to perform and be recognized for contributions. Stay focused on what is critical to the job. Do your homework before you go to Poultry Farm Worker interview.

39. Communication skills based Poultry Farm Manager interview questions:

► List five words that describe your character.
► What assignment was too difficult for you?
► What's most important to you in a new position?
► Do you have the qualities and skills necessary to succeed in your career?
► Describe a time you were faced with stresses which tested your skills.

Just confine your words to better opportunities. If you can come up with an example that relates to the position you're applying for that would be even better.
Be prepared to discuss in detail and with examples your five or six main attributes.

40. Informational Poultry Farm Worker interview questions:

► What performance standards do you have for your unit?
► Are you planning to continue your studies and training for Poultry Farm Worker?
► What percentage of your time is spent doing each function?
► What major challenges and problems did you face?
► Do you know anyone who works as Poultry Farm Worker at this company?
► How do you keep track of things you need to do?
► What are your salary increases?

Focus on yourself and your talents, not other people's flaws. Let the interviewer know that you focus on getting the most important things done first. Orient your answer toward opportunities rather than personal security.

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41. Competency Based Poultry Farm Manager interview questions:

► Did you feel you progressed satisfactorily in your last job?
► When given an important assignment, how do you approach it?
► What are your long-term goals or career plans?
► Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?
► How do you react to instruction and criticism?

Never interrupt - even where the question is obvious, wait for the interviewer to finish before your reply. Think of actual examples you can use to describe your skills. The interviewers want to know the real you, the potential candidate they may accept in.

42. First Poultry Farm Worker interview questions:

► What do you think this Poultry Farm Worker position involves.
► What is the most recent skill you have learned that related to Poultry Farm Worker?
► What do you believe are your key strengths?
► How have you coordinated the work of your team to achieve target goals?
► How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution?
► Time when you have encountered conflict in the workplace.
► What type of salary are you looking for?

Your preference may also depend on where you are in your career.
You don't need to memorize an answer, but do think about what you're going to say. Don't talk about yourself too much.

43. Basic Poultry Farm Worker interview questions:

► What has been your most successful Poultry Farm Worker experience in speech making?
► If offered the Poultry Farm Worker position, how long do you plan to stay at company?
► Tell me about the most effective presentation you have made.
► What is your greatest fear?
► What other careers have you considered/applied for?
► Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.
► Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?

44. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BROWN EGGS AND WHITE EGGS?

The main difference is in the breed of chicken. Nutritionally, they can be the same. That depends on feeding and management. White eggs are usually the most popular commercially because the chickens (usually white leghorns)are smaller and more feed efficient. The large commercial operations are "battery" or cage operations with one or two birds to a small cage. In home flocks they may be treated much differently.98% of commercial operations are cage raised according to the United Poultry Producers.

45. Are chickens in cages being abused?

Housing chickens in cages does not abuse them. The egg producer does not intentionally abuse chickens because the birds will not be healthy and happy and good egg producers. The certification program mentioned in Question 9 is designed to increase cage space and modify other production practices that may be in question. Research has shown that keeping hens in cages actually may be less stressful since there is less competition and interaction with other more aggressive birds.

46. How big are chickens?

"Standard" chickens weigh 4-7 pounds depending on the breed and the sex (roosters weigh more than hens). "Bantam" chickens -- which are the same as standard chickens, only smaller -- weigh 1-2 pounds.

47. How should frozen poultry be thawed?

Frozen chickens and turkeys should be thawed in the refrigerator. This prevents all parts of the bird from getting warm enough to encourage the growth of spoilage bacteria before the entire birds is thawed completely. Depending on the size of the bird, two or three days may be required to complete the thawing process. If faster thawing is necessary birds can be immersed in cold water. Directions on the label concerning thawing should be followed.

48. Will I save money by having chickens?

No more so than a gardener would growing tomatoes. If you're currently buying cage-free organic eggs, you may be able to break even by having your own chickens. There are lots of great reasons to have your own chickens, but saving money is not one of them.

49. Will twin chicks hatch from a double yolked egg?

A double yolked egg is not likely to hatch. An embryo may begin to develop from the germinal disc on both egg yolks, but usually there is not enough room for two chicks or the conditions are not adequate for two embryos and the chicks do not hatch.

50. Is there really such a thing as a "pecking order"?

Yes. This is a very real phenomenon. All chicken flocks have a well-defined pecking order. It's their way of preventing mayhem.

The lucky chicken at the top of the pecking order basically gets to push everyone around. She gets first access to food, water, prime roosting spots and so on. If she doesn't like what anyone else is doing she has full pecking rights. She gets to tell any other chicken to bug off. The poor baby at the bottom of the pecking order is in the exact opposite situation: everyone in the flock can peck her, and she has last rights to food and other resources. The other chickens in a flock fall somewhere between these two extremes. The #2 chicken can only be bullied by the #1 chicken and can bully everyone else in turn, and so on and so on.

Pecking order is established at a very early age and usually remains unchallenged until death.

51. How can I tell if an egg is fertile?

To determine if an egg is fertile, incubate it for a few days and then candle it to see if cell division has begun.

52. Can chickens fly?

Sort of. Smaller (lighter) breeds, and "bantams" -- which are the same as "standard" breeds but about 1/4 the size -- can fly 25-50 feet and will roost in trees if allowed to. Heavier breeds have much more limited flight.

53. How old are chickens when they begin to lay eggs?

Under optimum conditions; good nutrition, ideal day length, adequate housing and good management practices, most layers should begin egg production at about 20-22 weeks of age.

54. Is there a nutritional difference in eggs with different colors of shells?

There is essentially no nutritional difference due to shell color. White, brown or blue-green eggs from birds being fed similar rations are very similar. Research has shown that the cholesterol content of eggs is about the same regardless of color and whether or not the egg is fertile. In simple terms an egg is an egg regardless of the color or whether it is fertile.

55. Do you need roosters for hens to lay eggs?

No. This is one of the most common misconceptions about chickens. Hens will lay eggs just as well in the absence of roosters. If roosters are present, however, the eggs may be fertilized!

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56. Does eating eggs increase my cholesterol?

According to research results, moderate egg consumption will not increase a person's serum cholesterol and the American Heart Association is now reporting that there is no evidence to suggest that eating eggs will increase the risk of heart disease in healthy individuals. In fact, scientists now know that eggs provide several much needed nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin which may decrease the possibility of macular degeneration. Eggs are also an excellent source of folic acid and choline.

57. Will owning pet chickens put me in violation of town ordinance?

Maybe. Some municipalities allow residents to keep poultry and some don't. The best thing to do is check with your local municipal, zoning, and health boards.

58. What causes blood spots in eggs?

Blood spots are the result of broken capillaries in the reproductive system. When the capillary ruptures, a drop of blood leaks out and becomes part of the egg. The presence of a blood spot does not mean the egg is fertile or that an embryo is beginning to form. Egg processors attempt to identify and remove all eggs containing blood spots before eggs go into the carton. Occasionally one is missed, but if the blood spot is small, it can be removed and the egg used. For large blood spots the egg should be discarded.

59. How do chickens reproduce?

Chickens reproduce in a manner similar to some other animals. The female produces an egg which if fertilized can result in a baby chick. The true egg, the part that develops into the embryo, is located on the egg yolk. The yolk begins to develop in the ovary and after 10-12 days of development, ovulation occurs. If the female has been mating with a male, sperm will be present and fertilization can occur.
The male chicken does not have a penis and therefore there is no penetration of the female reproductive tract at the time of mating. Instead the female inverts the cloaca (site of the common junction of the reproductive and digestive systems) which comes in contact with the male's inverted cloaca and receives the sperm. The cloaca is then drawn back into the hen's body and the sperm are captured. They then begin the journey up the length of the reproductive system. The sperm live inside the female reproductive system and each time an ovulation occurs (every 24-26 hours in good egg producers) the egg can become fertile. This process continues and matings at 7 - 10 day intervals are necessary to maintain fertility. After fertilization occurs the egg albumen, shell membranes, and shell are added to complete the egg formation process. The chicken usually lays the egg about 24 hours after ovulation.

60. How long will eggs keep?

If eggs are properly refrigerated they should remain usable for several weeks. Most eggs have a 4 week expiration date on the carton. That means they may be sold up to four weeks after they are placed in the carton and the consumer will still have plenty of time to use them. Keeping eggs in the carton in the refrigerator will extend the shelf life. Keeping eggs at a temperature below 40° F, but above freezing and at a high humidity is the ideal way to maximize the shelf life.

61. Will the eggs my pet chickens lay taste better than store-bought?

Without a doubt. The chickens in your backyard will lay eggs unlike any you've tried before. A good rule of thumb: the more orange the egg yolk, the more healthy and better-tasting the egg is. Plus, research shows that if you allow your chickens to roam your yard freely (which we highly recommend you do) your eggs will be higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol, among other health benefits.

62. What are the stringy white things in eggs?

The stringy white portion of the egg is called the chalazae. It is there to anchor the yolk in the center of the egg. The presence of a prominent chalazae is actually an indication that the egg is fresh because as the egg ages the chalazae becomes less noticeable.

63. Can eggs be produced without a male being present?

Yes, most eggs produced for human consumption are produced this way and are non-fertile.

64. Should I eat foods that may contain uncooked eggs?

The recent introduction of in-shell pasteurized eggs now provides an extra margin of safety when using raw or undercooked eggs in foods. To be absolutely safe, only pasteurized eggs should be used when preparing foods that may be undercooked. Even clean, sound shelled eggs have the possibility of bacterial contamination and should be fully cooked.

65. How often do chickens lay eggs?

That depends on three main factors:

► The breed of chicken. Some chickens are bred for meat production and lay few eggs; some are bred for egg production and can lay as often as once a day; some are bred as "dual purpose" andare good for both egg-laying and meat, although not optimal for either.

► The hen's age. Hens start to lay at 4-5 months of age, and lay best during their first year. Each year after that their production decreases.

► The season. In the winter (with fewer daylight hours), egg production drastically decreases. High laying season is summer.

A healthy, young hen bred for egg-laying can lay almost an egg a day!

66. Can eggs be frozen?

Eggs can be satisfactorily frozen after mixing the yolk and the albumen. It may be desirable to freeze the egg mixture in ice trays or muffin tins and then store the frozen eggs in plastic bags. The frozen eggs can be thawed in the refrigerator and used any where a whole egg is needed. Three tablespoons of liquid whole egg should be used in place of one large egg. Egg whites can be frozen satisfactorily and can also be frozen in ice trays or muffin tins. Yolks on the other hand become very gelatinous when frozen unless they are mixed with salt or sugar. To help retard the gelation, mix 1/8 teaspoon salt or 1 ½ teaspoons sugar or corn syrup per ¼ cup eggs yolks (4 large yolks). Freezing in ice trays or muffin tins may also be desirable. When the egg yolks are used, the recipe should be adjusted to the salt or sugar already in the egg yolks.

67. Are brown eggs healthier than white eggs?

No, the color of the egg has no effect on how healthy it is. However, how chickens are kept DOES have an effect on how healthy the eggs are!

68. Why are some hard-cooked eggs difficult to peel?

Eggs that are very fresh are usually more difficult to peal. As the egg ages the pH changes and the shell is more easily removed. To improve peelability, start with an egg that is a few days old, hard-cook the egg, then immerse the egg in cold water and peel immediately.

69. How much do chickens cost?

Baby chicks cost $1-$5 each, depending on a variety of factors including the sex (females are more expensive than males) and how rare the breed. Started pullets (young hens that have just started laying eggs) should cost $15-$25 each.

70. What are designer eggs, free range eggs, etc?

Designer eggs are those eggs produced by flocks of chickens which have been fed special diets in an attempt to modify the nutrition of the eggs they produce. Consumers should be well informed about the differences in these eggs and all other eggs when making purchasing decisions. Free range eggs are produced by flocks of chickens which are not confined in cages. The chickens may be raised on the floor of a poultry house or they may be allowed to roam around outside. Yolks of free range eggs may be darker because of the chicken's eating foods that contain more carotenoid pigments (green grass, yellow corn, etc.).

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71. Why do chickens lay different-colored eggs?

They just do! Different breeds lay different-colored eggs. Eggs come in many different colors - light brown, deep chocolate brown, white, off-white, pinkish and even green and blue! Some also lay speckled eggs.

A couple of key facts:
► An individual bird's eggs will remain basically the same color all the time.
► There can be variation in the shade of egg colors amongst individuals within a breed, but not the base color (brown, white, blue etc.).
► One way to tell what color egg a chicken will lay is to look at her earlobe! A hen with a white earlobe will always lay white eggs, whereas hens with red earlobes can lay brown, blue or green eggs.
► Araucana and Ameraucana breeds, also known as the "Easter Egg Chickens", famously lay varying shades of green and blue eggs

72. What should chickens be fed?

Commercial rations will usually produce the best results from all types of poultry. A ration designed specifically for a particular type of bird should always be used (ie. layer ration for layers, broiler ration for broilers, etc.). The commercial ration should not be supplemented with scratch, corn or table scraps because the birds will not be eating a balanced diet.

73. Is there any danger from eating poultry?

If the chicken is fresh and is properly cooked (to an end point temperature of at least 165 degrees F.) there should be minimal danger. The bacteria that may be of concern is Salmonella. There is a possibility that Salmonella could be present on some raw chickens, but as stated earlier, proper cooking eliminates any potential problems. In addition to proper cooking, another safeguard that should be remembered when preparing all meat items is to carefully wash hands, utensils, and countertops after preparing the meat to avoid cross-contamination to other foods.

74. What size eggs should I purchase?

Most recipes are written for large eggs. Because of that, better results will be obtained by using large eggs in baked products. If the end use of the eggs is scrambled, fried, poached, hard cooked or a method where volume is not critical, then the size with the least expensive cost per ounce might be the best choice.

75. How much care do pet chickens require?

They're much easier than dogs: no walking, no twice-daily feeding, no baths, no grooming. With the proper housing they're a very low-maintenance pet:

► Daily: a "checking on", egg collection, and closing the coop if you've let them out.
► As necessary: fill feed and water containers.
► Monthly: change bedding and remove that free fertilizer (poo) so it can be put to good use!
► Twice a year: a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the coop.