Do you keep chickens?

There are a total of 182 votes:

Yes, for meat and eggs
(14 votes, 7%)
Red dot

Yes, for eggs
(21 votes, 11%)
Red dot

Yes, for meat
(0 votes, 0%)
Red dot

Yes, for pets
(6 votes, 3%)
Red dot

No - don't have any
(141 votes, 77%)
Red dot

Previous Polls

DH wants to but not me. I don't want to go through what I did on the farm' Still can smell those singged (sp)feathers,yukkk''''Sis'

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I want some. I plan to have some. But first things first, and first is getting my greenhouse up and running. I hope some folks who do have chickens will vote and check in, as I have a bunch o' questions for them :)

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

We don't have chickens. I wouldn't mind having a hen or two for fresh eggs, though! Dumb question here -- don't laugh -- but DH and I were just wondering aloud whether you have to have a rooster in order for the hens to lay eggs. I know ya have to have one for there to be chicks, but do hens just naturally want to lay eggs if there's no rooster around to motivate 'em? LOL! And for that matter, how big does a coop have to be for just a few chickens? Too many neighborhood cats for any freerange birds here!

Cedar Key, FL(Zone 9a)

Like what kinda questions?I only have about 125 of them right now,cutting back.But I can ask them any questions you guys might have.No, I don't eat them, some times I wish I could to cut down on the #'s.But I just can't bring myself to eat my pets!!!

Chickens will lay eggs without a rooster around and probably be a lot happier! We had chickens growing up and the roosters could be a bit, well, rude. Also, if you don't want to hear them crowing in the wee hours of the morning, don't get a rooster. I wouldn't worry so much about neighborhood cats with adult chickens unless the cats are really aggressive. We had problems with dogs and once a raccoon. It's a great project to raise chickens, especially if you have kids.

southeast, NE

Actualy, we fit in a "other" category. We have "free range" chickens. I'm not even sure what breed they are. Sometimes they end up being feed for coyotes. We use them as our "pesticides" and "clean uppers". They are great at eating bugs and clean up spilled grain. If we can find them, we do eat their green eggs. They don't bother us unless they are protecting their newly hatched chicks. If I hear my dd letting out a blood curdling scream in the barn it is usually because she has just been chased by a hen.

Cedar Key, FL(Zone 9a)

garden wife,hens do not need a male chicken,we call them cocks(go ahead,giggle) The hens laying eggs is triggered by light.The pituitary gland is in the eye,long periods of light,14-18 hrs a day bring on the eggs.Most egg layers owners have their barn set up with timers on the light so they will lay all winter.As for the size of the coop,it depends on how big the full grown chickens are.Bantams will take alot less room than a large fowl

New Paris, OH

We have pasturized (free range can be done in a barn or a dirt yard-pasturized birds must be out on pasture) chickens. Right now we have about 120 laying hens and pullets. soon we will cull a bunch of older hens and have stewing hens in the freezer and for sale.

During the summer we usually raise up 100+ boys for sale to our customers.

Sis, one doesn't have to singe the feathers to pluck them-a vat of 147F water does a better job with no stink or, even better, find a farm that processes them. It's worth the buck a bird for someone else to do the killing, plucking and gutting.

See pictures of our birds here

Toadsuck, TX(Zone 7a)

Sorry, guys. I don't want anything to do with raising chickens. When I was an adolecent, we lived next door to an egg farm,, and the smell was absolutely horrible!


Thanks for info know all 'bout it,used to pour the kettle(boiling water),pluck,the whole nine yards' Believe me,I do know,lol'Fighting varmits in the hen house,snakes,huh,uh' Didn't have a choice then but do now'

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Okay, I heard an interesting hypothesis, and maybe some of you eggs-perts (groan) can clue me in :) I have heard that fertilized eggs have low or no cholesterol, while unfertilized eggs are higher in cholesterol. Fact or fiction? It's more a matter of curiosity for me; my neighbor will likely raise a stink when I bring home a few hens - I wouldn't dare try a rooster, too :)

Gardenwife, there is a good article on backyard chickens in the Oct. issue of Organic Gardening - I'm guessing you get it because you clued me into the free subscription? If not, I can copy and send it to you. It has plans for a portable chicken "ark" (instead of a permanent coop), and some pointers on how to quietly integrate these productive animals into an urban setting.

Geneseo, IL(Zone 5a)

This is so fun to read.. we only have 6 chickens right now.. just for eggs.. But my daughter had a class and no one in her HS class could answer any questions about chickens. The way she told it- We laughed so hard.. Many of the kids dont know what a rooster is for and why you need both and of course the other question, about needing a rooster to have eggs.. We also live in a farming area!!

Mansfield, MO(Zone 6a)

I loved reading this. We got a few this spring and they took care of the tick and flea problem, plus helped out with the bugs in the garden. The idea was a few eggs and a few to eat, but have gotten kind of attached to a couple of them. The rooster and one hen in particular. They are definitely now pets. Yesterday one of the hens got into the shed where my son in law keeps his tools and the wind blew the door shut so she could not get out. By the time someone went in there, she had laid an egg on top of his chain saw. :O The eggs they lay are so much better tasting than what we can get in the grocery store! For the ten hens and the one rooster we have a small house, about 15 by 8 and a fenced yard (wire on top too) about 25 by 25.
We confined them to that area for the first two weeks to be sure they would not roam, but now they go everywhere. We have some that lay colored eggs, and some that lay brown. The easter egg ones are prettiest, but taste the same. I think the flavor is because they run around and eat a variety of food, not just the feed we provide for them. It is a neat experience. Glad we started with grown ones, though may try chicks next spring.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)


Been there, done that, never again!!!


I answered no because no longer BUT we did raise chickens when the kids were growing up. When dh built the nests, he named each nest after all the kids cousins. We enjoyed it, ate the eggs, when they got old, stewed them. Would I do it again? no, only because it was more for an experience for the kids. We do have a bobcat which will clean it up but it is a rather smelly job. We always wore nose and mouth maske. We had rhode island reds and white chickens. we bought them from the local farm bureau around Easter for a dollar a piece and put them in a box with lamp for warmth. It was fun. I enjoyed it. vic

When I was a toddler we lived in an industrial town, my Mother rescues any creature that may cross her path and she bought home 10 baby chicks one day. My Father was of the opinion that countryside was for filling in space between towns and disliked animals although he'd never hurt one. We kept them for eggs and the cockerels were for Sunday dinners at that time. My uncle had to come and wring the necks though!

One day uncle Fred was wringing the neck of a slow moving cockrel, when another chicken walked past and fell down dead at the sight ... a whole two days of roast chicken!

I came to think they were dirty, viscious creatures and while most of the farms I worked on had a few about they were just background scenery. Then I had to take charge of 800 baby chicks per year and grow them to point of lay as well as look after the bantams and ornamental chickens. In two years I met some of the most weird and wonderful people who come under the general heading of backyard poultry keepers.

No one told me that poultry keeping was addictive and now have 5 chickens for eggs and playing pirates with ... Ok so they are a poor substitute for a parrot but I don't have a parrot and the ducks just won't do the shoulder sitting thing.

Newnan, GA(Zone 8a)

baa, you tickle me all the time!!!

Fall River, MA(Zone 6a)

baa, "playing pirates with"? what the heck kind of game can you play with a chicken? rofl

how do you get the chickens to lay eggs? over 30 years ago i raised roasting chickens for pocket money (i was 14) and about 20 years ago my dad kept some, though i have no idea if he ever got an egg out of the lot (lots of rats, however).

how do you get a chicken to lay eggs? how old does a chicken have to be to lay eggs? and yes, i'm a dope, do you need a rooster for the hens to lay?


(btw, great question Dave!)

Granted, trying to train them to say pieces of eight is pointless.

No rooster is required for eggs unless you want chicks of course.

Egg production depends on what breed, crossbreed or hybrid you have. While all hens techincally lay eggs, the level of production varies. Table birds lay just a few eggs a year, egg producers lay many eggs per year (200+).

Age when they are point of lay also depends on the breed, crossbreed or hybrid. With most egg production birds laying within the first 6 months of their life. The egg producing birds have to lay consistantly good eggs (shells need to be tough) for at least 14 months of their life. The modern hybrid birds are bred to perform in this manner. I've often heard that the hybrids don't lay after 2 years of age and 18 months is really their retirement age but many in a non intensive situation will continue with a lower egg production for several years.

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8b)

i raise rhode island reds and a few aracona for beauty. i think the eggs are lower in cholesterol because they don't only sit in a cage eating feed they get bugs and grass they are eating healthier so they are healthier. i feed a layer feed that helps develope the egg and calcium for the shell and scratch for a treat they follow me around at feeding time i love it. they also sit at the garden fence waiting for me to throw them tasty morsals. they are only allowed in my veggie garden between planting or i would loose all my veggies and they do a very good job finding all the frogs so frogs win the veggie garden and the birds have the open yard. geese in the pasture with the horse now they are a pain to raise but i love all my animals.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

karenmarie, your chickens were the wrong type to lay many eggs, nowadays they are bred to either be meat birds or egg layers and not many do both well. We raised Cornish Cross chickens for meat and Rhode Island reds or Barred Rocks for eggs. We butchered the meat birds at about 8 weeks, they start to get tough if over about 10-12 weeks. Some chickens start laying a few eggs at about 4 months old, they just do this naturally. They lay good for a year, not so good then next year, worse after that. We kept our hens for 2 years then sold them for $1 each for stewing hens. Roosters eat a lot, are sex fiends and just hassle the hens which can effect egg production and occasionally attack people. Hens do just fine and lay lots of eggs without a rooster, but if you want fertile eggs you need one. Many people love to hear a rooster crow, but some roosters don't have much of a sense of time and will crow all night.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I voted "No, not now" but I have had chickens before, and I'd have them now if my zoning allowed, but alas, I am within the city limits. My old Rhode Island Reds (and a few arucanas) were just for eggs... If you like eggs, nothing beats a fresh egg from a chicken allowed to range 'free' some of the time in the garden, and all the time in a large chicken yard. With organic, free range eggs selling for nearly $3.00 per dozen at out local co-op, the cost of having chickens for fresh eggs is in my favor.

I have to admit that I didn't have them long enough to get past their laying stage, when I would have to decide on having someone else butcher them, or do it myself. I do remember my grandma chopping off the heads of a hen or two, and watching the aftermath. Wouldn't choose to do that myself, LOL.

Lake City, FL(Zone 8b)

Does having them bought on special and frozen in the freezer count???? :-)

Don't have chickens on this end,except for me of course. I'm chicken when it comes to seeing a mouse. I had enough of chickens while growing up on the farm. Don't care to have any more of the stupid things.Yes, I do think that chickens are stupid. As much as I like farm fresh eggs,I still wouldn't have a chicken at my place.A ceramic one maybe for my garden but that's it.Nope.No cluckers here.

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

You guys, this is SO interesting! Thank you for sharing your fowl experiences! Oh, and I have decided we will not have chickens.

Belfield, ND(Zone 4a)

I had to vote no, because DH won't let me have REAL chickens. I keep working on that though. He'll weaken someday. LOL About 10 years ago or so I bought a little ceramic chicken at an antique store, and the word got around. Now I get ceramic chickens from my co-workers and kids for Christmas, birthday and such. I have decorated my tiny kitchen with them, and my Mom sewed me kitchen curtains out of chicken material. I love it. It is very country looking.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

Raise chicks, no.
Eat'em, no.
Eat eggs, no.

Crossville, TN

NO! Won't even gather eggs..when I was a child a mean old rooster flogged me and stuck his spur in my leg. I did see some beautiful roosters in an old National Geograpic. They were from the orient and had LOOONG tail feathers...Anyone know what they were? Jo

Travis AFB, CA(Zone 9a)

When I was 14 I wanted to live in the country and raise chickens.

Fast Forward 31 years...I STILL want to live in the country and raise chickens.

DH has promised I'll have the hen houses, runs, and chickens of my dreams once we quit globe-hopping. I check out armloads of "How To" chicken books and search the web for more chicken info. I want to be prepared.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

We used to raise chickens and assorted other birds for show. We had bantam Old English and also standard and bantam cochins. The standard cochins are like big pets, lay a good amount of eggs and the bantams are good layers in the spring though they do lay small eggs. Each breed had it's own pen, and the colors were separated.

Camilla, GA(Zone 8a)

I can't imagine going out into the yard and not have a few hens and roosters scratching here and there, lol..I love my chickens and all my other fowl.. They have free range daily and I shut them up at night. too many predators here. I could never eat them, only the eggs..I cannot remember ever not having chickens, and I'm almost 46 years old.

southeast, NE

And our border collie, Abby, wouldn't have anything to herd. As long as she doesn't try to eat the chickens we let her "think" she is herding the chickens. The cats just don't seem to think it's too much fun to have the annoying dog herd them.

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8b)

roadrunner, i think the chicken with the real long tail is called a phoenix murray mcmurry hatchery has a great picture of them. i would love to get one but the rooster would breed with my rhode island red girls and i can't have that.
i think chickens are smart.. they know they are not allowed in my flower beds so when my back is turned they sneak in with one as a look out and calls out when they see me coming and all fly out. now isn't that smart?lol. the few that are named know their names.

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

We have about 30 something free roaming chickens that live in our back pasture. Right now we are using them for eggs. In the future some will be culled out and those culled will make a daRn good gumbo!

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

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This message was edited Thursday, Oct 11th 5:25 PM

Noblesville, IN(Zone 5a)

I would love to have chickens but it is not possible. I don't have the room for them and my dog hates anything in her yard.

Spring Hill, FL(Zone 9a)

When I was a youngster living home with my parents we had about 10-15 chickens for eggs and twice a month butchered one for Sunday dinner. Now that DW and I "migrate" it wouldn't work to have them at either location. My Dad kept White Leghorns for eggs and Plymouth Rocks for meat.

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Okay...On culling. I've read now that chickens are only good for laying for so long, and then their production drops off. How do you tell who's a good layer if they're free range chickens? Are they habitual, preferring to roost and/or lay in the same places consistently? I can see how chickens in a henhouse would be fairly easy to track, but how do you tell which chickens are earning their keep when you have dozens of 'em running around loose?

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