I have been busy traveling around the country sharing my new book, A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens, with many newbie chicken keepers and older chicken keepers alike. I have had a blast doing presentations for a variety of audiences, but my favorite chicken keeping questions still come from the kids. Today I thought that it would be fun to share a glimpse into the mind of juvenile chicken keepers. Some of these questions are good ones and others just have to make you smile. Enjoy!
What do chickens eat?
Chickens eat plenty of things. Most chickens are fed food that can be purchased from the grain store depending on their age. They also like to eat many fruits and vegetables as well as seeds, weeds, bugs, and grass.
How many chickens do you have?
The number of chickens that I keep seems to fluctuate. Right now, I have nine.
How do chickens get clean?
Chickens take baths in the dirt! They dig a hole by scratching in one place with their feet. Once the hole is deep enough, they sit down in the hole and use their wings to toss dirt onto their bodies. They roll around and do this until they are clean. Once they are happy with the dirt bath they stand up and shake themselves off. Then they preen their feathers with oil. They get this oil from a gland right above their tail.
How long to chickens live?
Chickens live on average 5-7 years but some can live to be 20 years of age.
Where do you get chickens from?
Chickens can be purchased as chicks from the local feed store or even through the mail. Most chicks are sold during the spring and early summer. You can also purchase older chickens just about ready to lay from local farmers and some hatcheries.
Do dogs get along with chickens?
Yes, chickens and dogs can get along. However, you have to be careful and train the dog not to harm the chickens. It is more difficult to train a dog that has been bred to hunt birds.
Can you train chickens like a dog?
Yes, chickens can be trained very much like a dog to come when they are called and also to do simple tricks like follow a maze, perform a task, and even play a child’s piano. Usually training takes time. Training clickers as well as treats can help to train the chickens.
How do eggs get their color?
Chickens apply the “color” of the egg right before they lay it. It is applied about four to six hours prior to the hen laying the egg by the shell gland. It is a pigment that she applies to the egg. All eggs start out white.
Do chickens have teeth?
No, but this is why they need grit. Grit helps to grind up food when it reaches the gizzard.
Do different colored eggs taste the same?
No matter the chicken egg color, they should all taste the same. Chicken eggs can taste different based on their diets, such as ones with garlic. Like us, we may all look different on the outside but inside we are all the same.
I also picked up a new joke from the kids too.
What type of chickens lay blue eggs? Cold ones!
If you’d like to see me on tour, I’d love to meet you in person! I’ll be at the upcoming Mother Earth News Fairs in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
All photos used in this post were used under the Creative Licensing Agreement.