Episode 11 – In this episode we discuss common chicken myths you should know about.
Light Sussex Update
You know that old saying “never count your chickens before they hatch?” It is wise advice, and never more appropriate than this last weekend when we were expecting our first batch of Light Sussex baby chicks to hatch. Sadly, not one of the ten eggs hatched.
There were a group of eight Golden Laced Wyandotte eggs along with that batch, and seven of those hatched successfully. This tells me that it wasn’t the conditions in the incubator or hatcher, but more a situation with the eggs themselves.
Jim A C left us a very nice review on iTunes. Thanks Jim!
Also, Jennifer posted on Facebook to let us know that she was telling her young daughter about the podcast and her daughter had a good laugh because she thought that the purpose of “Online Chicken School” was to teach chickens.
Brooke Names Some Hens
Our adorable niece, Brooke, was out to the farm for a visit this last weekend. She is very inquisitive and always wants to know the names of all the animals. When she discovered that two of the hens did not have names, she decided to call them ‘M&Ms’ and ‘Sprinkles.’ How do you say no to that?
Chicken Myths You Ought to Know
Although chickens are very easy to raise, when you really start digging into the knowledge base of chicken information you can run into a lot of anecdotal accounts of dubious validity. Most of it is harmless one way or the other, but here are some we think you ought to know as a chicken keeper.
Chickens Carry Dangerous Diseases
Okay, we can’t technically call this one false because it is true that chickens can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Let’s say that this one is true, but needs perspective.
While chickens can carry salmonella and exotic diseases like West Nile Virus, keep in mind how many diseases cats and dogs carry. Just a few weeks ago I was bitten by a feral kitten and had to go to the doctor because of all the nasty things cats can carry in their mouths.
Likewise, if you live within a mile of a cat, dog, horse, or wild bird, and there are mosquitoes where you live, you are capable of catching those exotic diseases even if you don’t personally have pets.
Brown Eggs Taste Different than White Eggs
While it is true that not all chicken eggs taste the same, it doesn’t have anything to do with egg color. Rather, taste has to do with the diet of the chicken who lay the eggs.
Similarly, the color of the egg does not effect the nutritional value of the eggs either. The more natural the diet of the chicken, the better it will taste and the better it will be for you.
Egg Are Bad for You
This is one of those things that everyone takes for granted because that’s what we have been told growing up, but scientists have been rethinking their hard stand on eggs.
If you are raising your own free-ranging chickens, the eggs your hens provide will be much healthier than the ones you find in the store.
Farm-fresh eggs have have more vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and beta carotene. The have less cholesterol and saturated fat.
Chickens are Naturally Vegetarians
There is no basis for the idea of vegetarian chickens. Given the opportunity, chickens will eat every bug they find. They will even eat small snakes and mice.
Even if you kept them caged up and never let them outside, how would you keep flying bugs from getting near their cage? If they can reach them, a chicken will snap a bug right out of the air.
Eggs Labeled as ‘Free-Range’ Come from Free-Ranging Hens
Possibly, but not as much as you might think. When you buy eggs from the store, the government regulates the terms used on egg packaging, In order to call eggs “Free-Range,” the chicken factory must have a door that open to the outside through which chickens can pass of their own free will.
The problem is that they don’t say how big the door has to be. So if you have 20,000 hens crowded into a barn, only the small number near the door might truly have access to go outside.
Furthermore, the government does not say what must be on the other side. In many cases, it is not so much the rolling hills of green grass you picture in your mind. Often it is a small area that has been over-picked so that it is now a dirt lot with no vegetation.
Roosters are Aggressive
While is is certainly true that roosters can be aggressive, it is not always the case. Aggressiveness is a function of breed, personality, and how much they are handled when they are young.
Most of the roosters we raised and handled from birth are very sweet and docile.
The Lightning Round
Here are some quick myths that do not require a lot of explanation or discussion:
White chickens lay white eggs and brown chickens lay brown eggs… is false. Egg color is determined by breed, not by feather color. There are breeds of white chickens that lay brown eggs and there are breeds of dark chickens that lay white eggs.
There are more chickens than people… is true! There are nearly three times as many chickens in the world as people.
Hens need a rooster to lay eggs… is false. A hen will lay eggs regardless of whether there is a rooster available or not.
Only roosters crow.. is false. When you have a flock of hens without a rooster, sometimes a hen will stop into that role and begin to crow. She may also take a dominant role as protector of the flock.
Yolk color is determined by what chickens eat… is true! The more natural and live things they eat, the more brilliant yellow or orange their yolk will become.
You can tell the sex of a chick by the shape of the egg… is false. That method is no more accurate than flipping a coin.
Chickens attract pests… is false. Chickens eat the pests! Leaving chicken feed unsecured out in the open, however, is a great way to attract bugs and other pests.
Which came first the chicken or the egg? It is without a doubt the egg.
We hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, consider leaving us a nice review at iTunes. You can also contact us through the website at onlinechickenschool.com or on Facebook.