In my town there has been some zoning changes regarding keeping chickens. My town is part urban and part rural and keeping backyard chickens has become very popular. Unfortunately, some chicken owners have not been good to their neighbors by containing the noise from loud roosters and/or containing the flock to their own yards. On more than one occasion I’ve had to wait for a flock of chickens finish crossing the road to get to the other side.
Because of a few knuckle heads, my town changed its zoning regulations to restrict backyard chicken owners to 11 hens on less than 5 acres and no roosters. Honestly, I don’t blame the town for banning roosters – they can be noisy all day and night, some are aggressive and in my opinion are not needed if the reason for having chickens is to have fresh eggs.
A pullet (hen less than 1 year old) will begin to lay eggs around 5 months of age regardless if there is a rooster. Remember your basic biology, when a male mates with a female the result is a baby. However, some people think hens need roosters to lay eggs. If you want baby chicks then yes, you need a rooster.
Once a hen (pullet) is old enough, she will begin to produce an unfertilized egg every day like clockwork. She doesn’t need any help from a rooster to do her thing. I actually prefer to eat unfertilized eggs. On occasion I’ve had fertilized eggs that have had a bit of blood in them, which I find unappealing.
- Hens (or pullets) begin to lay eggs around 5 months of age.
- In the first year hen’s lay small eggs at least once every day and the eggs get gradually bigger as the hen ages.
- Two-year-old hens (depending on the breed) lay larger eggs, but may not lay every day but every other day.
- Three years and older, will lay large eggs less frequently and the older the hen is the less eggs she lays. This is why farmers turn over their flocks on the third year and bring in new pullets.
- A good laying hen in her prime on average can lay 250 – 280 eggs in a year! That's 1 hen!
- Do you remember the jingle on TV back in the 1980’s– “Brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh?” Well that was a brilliant ad campaign. How many people fell for it? Do you see me raising my hand?
- Myth: The color of the eggshell does not determine the freshness of the egg. The color of the shell indicates it’s a breed of chicken that happens to lay a brown, white, or blue egg. People thought brown eggs were once white and had gone bad. Which is why egg producers created the commercial - to get people to buy brown eggs since only white eggs had been sold commercially.
To test if an egg is fresh place an egg in a bowl of water. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom. An old egg will float up to the surface of the bowl.
- Another slick marketing campaign used by some health food stores was claiming that fertile eggs are more nutritious than infertile eggs. The goal was to charge more for these “special” eggs.
- Myth: According to “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens” there is no evidence that states that a fertile egg is more nutritious than an infertile egg.
- How many people do you know that gave up eggs (especially yolks) because they were told they cause
“Chicken eggs are high in cholesterol, but the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared with the effect of trans fats and saturated fats.
The risk of heart disease may be more closely tied to the foods that accompany the eggs in a traditional American breakfast — such as the sodium in the bacon, sausages and ham, and the saturated fat or oils with trans fats used to fry the eggs and the hash browns.”
- Myth: Eggs are high in cholesterol however; one would have to eat a lot of eggs to get their own cholesterol to rise. According to an article from the Mayo Clinic:
So enjoy your eggs!