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.