Skip to comments.Tips for getting tasty eggs from backyard chickens
Posted on 07/27/2009 3:14:41 AM PDT by JoeProBono
Dear Martha: I'd like to raise chickens. Which breed of chicken is best for egg production, and do you have any tips?
A: It's not so much about the breed of chicken as it is about how you're going to keep them. You absolutely must have a well-fenced yard, so raccoons and other animals don't get the chickens; the fence should extend 12 to 14 inches into the ground. The coop will need electricity to run a light and keep their water from freezing in winter; you can also get a heated water dispenser. I let my chickens out every day, no matter the weather.
All the feed is organic, and I give them scraps that I would otherwise compost, such as apple cores and carrot peelings. We also hang cabbages on wires throughout their yard and in their houses. It gives them something healthful to eat, and they peck the cabbages, not each other. If they are well-fed, they will lay. I've had good luck, and the eggs are utterly delicious.
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I read somewhere that you should only buy eggs from the store, because da gubmint inspects them to make sure they’re safe. /s
Chickens should not be kept in a pen. They should “Free Range” over the yard. That way they can get all the bugs and grass they want and need. Ours have 3 acres+ to go over. Lay large brown eggs that have a very dark yolk, almost orange in color. Fryers should be raised the same way, search “Pastured Poultry”, best chicken you will ever eat. Time to go feed.
I have to keep my chickens in a pen. It’s roomy and they seem to love it. We have way too many raccoons, many of which I’ve seen in the daytime, as well as foxes and other predators.
Mine should start laying in September. Can’t wait!!
Coyotes used to loved to come to chicken dinner here. They got 30 one night. Then we got a Great Pryenees, have not lost any thing since. She keeps all the animal safe.
We don’t have chickens, but if we did, we’d have to keep them in a pen, even though we have a fenced yard. We have birds of prey (bald eagles, osprey, hawks) even though we live in a well populated city, but we are close to a nature refuge. Then there are the racoons. Our yard is fenced, but racoons and opossum get in the yard, I guess they travel from tree to tree...I’ve seen opossum come into the yard on the wires running to the house, just like a squirrel does. They tell me we have a coyote problem, and cats are being killed regularly, but I don’t think a coyote could find it’s way into our backyard, however we did have a 5 foot alligator in our backyard once, LOL. Although we had forgotten to close the gate that time and that’s how he wandered in.
We’ve thought about building a chicken pen, and keeping chickens, but I think they would drive our Weims crazy.
I have a mobile “chicken mobile” coop on wheels and a 10 ft cube wire on reclaimed water pipe so can move it to a new area every week or so.
And that's not even mentioning the 'possums, raccoons, and snakes that live out there -- all of which love chicken/eggs.
When I do get around to raising backyard fowl, I intend to construct a roomy and portable wire mesh chicken run for them. No need to tempt little talons!
Nice to see so many people into it. I’ve had laying hens for close to 10 years now; got into it by accident when a BIL had to move from his farm and he gave me all of his hens.
Mine have a roomy coop, and large fenced yard and live like queens. I used to sell the eggs to a local yuppie deli, but then I changed jobs and it wasn’t convenient to drop them off anymore. Now I sell all we can produce to one guy; it’s wonderful to come home to cash in the fridge, Baby. ;) It defrays their feed costs, and of course we eat all we can stand each week, too.
I used to let them roam, but they destroyed one of my garden beds; I’d let them have it if I didn’t need it to feed ME!
They get cracked corn and laying mash and eat seasonally, as do we. The only thing I’ve found that they won’t eat are raw potato peels, but they will eat baked potato skins.
I like the Buff Orpington and Araucana breeds for consistent brown egg layers year-round and the colorful eggs from the Araucana.
The yoke color of a ‘real’ egg makes the store bought eggs look anemic.
We raise Black Australorps. Sell ~15 dozen eggs each week, and hatch ~50 chicks each week. “Black” chickens are “in” this year. Can’t hatch enough. The chicken coop is moved each week to keep the nitrogen level from getting out of hand in one spot. We have Red Tails, they don’t bother the hens. Catch a 3’ foot Rat snake each week, take him 10 miles away, he finds his way back. Guess I need to take him farther.
The daughter of a neighbor will not eat our eggs. She says there is something wrong with them because the yolk is so dark!
She’s robbing herself. You should make her some ice cream with some of your eggs.
Martha Stewart, poultry authority. Now I’ve seen everything.
Shortly after this addition, our chickens started laying much better. While we didn't know why this addition would affect egg production, we went with it, and named the duck "Coach" (Those that can't so, coach).
Spring came, and the duck left. Soon egg production went back to normal. Weirdest thing I ever saw.
Buffs are the best, I concur having had several breeds. They lay well on less feed than some meatier breeds Ive had; and the roosters are not aggressive. They also tend to be broody, which I like. Watching a mother hen raise a clutch of chicks is a lot of fun.
Right now I have Gold Stars which I'm not too fond of: need a lot of high protein food, tend to molt, and the rooster is mean.
Black chickens are less “obvious” to predators. Chickens who are multi colored are much less so. White chickens might as well have a light beacon to predators. Black ones who roost in trees do not get picked off by owls like white ones.
Turkens are great chickens. Not too pretty, but huge chickens and they lay thru the winter. They get pretty broody too. The older heavy breeds are ones who will do their own “grocery shopping”.