This simple introduction to the raising homestead chickens hopefully will inspire you to take on a flock of your own. Chickens are a staple on most farms and homesteads all across the country. From the smallest family owned farm to the largest corporate farming operation you will find the chicken. Their eggs are used as food for the family, as well as sold at market to help fund the farm operation. Chickens are also raised to be slaughtered to provide meat for the family and for the larger corporate farms sold to meat producers.
Chickens raised for their eggs are often kept in chicken coops where the environment can be controlled and the chickens can be protected predators. The coops were lined with nests and each of the hens were kept in their nest. These nests were checked daily for new eggs and they were collected. While the majority of the eggs where collected for consumption, some of the eggs are hatched in order to produce more chickens for the farm.
More Facts About Chickens
The technical name for the chicken is a domesticated fowl and chicken actually refers to the meat derived from the bird. However, over time it was much easier to just call them chicken instead of calling them by the more correct name. The male of the species is called a rooster and female is called a hen.
The rooster is really easy to pick out is differentiated from the hen mostly by its distinct plumage. The rooster has a brightly colored comb on the top of its head and distinct pointed feathers around the neck and long shiny tail feathers. Hens are raised for two specific reasons for their eggs and for the meat. Hens that will be raised for her eggs are called Egg-laying Hens and ones that raised for her meat are called Broiler Hens.
Egg-laying and Broiler Hens
Hens raised for producing eggs are called egg-laying hens and they have been known to lay as many as 300+ eggs each year (some have been known to lay closer to 400). The typical egg-laying hen’s life expectancy is around 7 years of age. So a single hen can produce produce several hundred eggs throughout it life.
The typical lifespan of the Broiler Chicken is far less than that of an Egg-laying chicken and that is because it normally takes a chicken to reach the age it is ready to be slaughtered for the meat between 6 to 14 weeks of age. The free-range Broiler Chickens also known as organic usually are not slaughtered until 14 weeks of age.
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