Sunday, November 16, 2008

Raising Chickens

Not having grow up around chickens I can't say that I knew too much about them. I certainly know more today that I did a year ago. For example, did you know that a Female chicken under the age of 1 year is called a pullet and a male is called a cockerel?

Did you know that pullets start laying eggs at about 18-20 weeks of age. And that when she starts laying regularly she will lay an egg every 25 hours. I've also learned that hens require about 14 hours of light each day to lay on a regular schedule. That mean that they will decrease their egg production in the winter unless you use artificial light as a supplement for them to have that all important 14 hours.

I didn't know up until a month ago that chickens are cannibalistic. There are several theories as to why chickens behave in such a manor. Some believe it's a lack of protein in their diets while others believe that it's because they don't have enough foraging opportunities. Can you imagine, they will actually peck at one another. If you look closely at Little Red Hen's wing you can see where she has been pecked. We are increasing the amount of protein they eat and their time in the back yard in hopes that this will stop.

Oh and speaking of pecking, do you know what pecking order really means? Pecking is an expression of dominance. It's the social hierarchy in a flock of birds. Each dominate bird pecks subordinate birds and the subordinate bird submits to being pecked by dominant birds. It's pretty interesting to watch when one get out of line or decides she's not going to take it any more.


jayedee said...

a little better than halfway look like you're doing a bang up job with noblopomo this year. i'm struggling with it lol

c'est la vie!

Kelly said...

After raising chickens for over 30 years I think it might be possible for you to eliminate the cannibalism problem by researching what breeds you are raising and the amount of room allowed for each bird.

I don't mean this to be nasty. I mention it because I have experienced the same thing many years ago. Also, get some old fashioned pine tar, go in the coop at night, put a good heavy layer on the sore where the red hen has been pecked, almost always this stops the attacks and helps cure the wound.

Kelly said...

Have you tried the pine tar and did it work?

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