Tag Archives: Homestead

Fall Composting

This is the time of year when I do one final clean up before the weather starts to cool off. I clean the chicken coop, rake all the animal areas and any leaves that fell (not many here in Florida) and put everything into the compost pile.

This will probably be the last cleaning of the coop for a couple months. Unless it turns out to be a warm Fall. I leave the coop alone to create heat that helps keep the chicken warm during what few cold weeks we have.  More on “Winterizing Your Coop Florida Style” later.

For more on leaf composting and to see what a pile of leaves looks like, check out this post by City Girl Farming

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Chickens 101

People ask me all kinds of questions when they find out I have chickens. Now that I’m at the market with a few of my girls, I get dozens of those questions every week. I thought a short, basic chicken lesson would help. For more information, there are hundreds of websites, blogs and pages about chickens. Or maybe someday I’ll write a part two. (“>

First, let me answer the most common questions.

  • No, not all “chickens” lay eggs. Only the female “hens” lay eggs.
  • Most young hens lay one egg a day, 5-6 days per week.
  • Hens start laying eggs somewhere between 4-6 months old.
  • No, not all eggs have chicks in them, only the eggs fertilized… by a rooster…before laying.
  • Males and females both have combs and wattles. Most males have more prominent combs and wattles than their female counterparts.
  • Most chickens can fly short distances, over fences or up into trees where they naturally roost.
Next, let’s get our terminology straight.
  • Adult females are called hens.
  • Females that are too young to lay eggs are called pullets.
  • Adult males are called roosters.
  • Males under 1 year are called cockerels.
  • Baby chickens are called chicks.
  • comb is on the top of their heads and the wattles are on the sides of their beaks.
  • Chickens loose their feathers once a year in a molt.
  • coop is a hen house with a roost to stand on and a nesting box to lay in.

Finally, here are some other helpful and interesting facts.

  • Hens need 12-16 hours daylight to lay eggs. Most free-range hens don’t lay during the winter due to the shorter days.
  • Chickens live about 5-10 years depending on the breed.
  • Some breeds are better layers while others are better for their meat, “broilers” or “fryers”.
  • Chickens eat most anything. Grubs, popcorn, leftovers and scraps. Feed, water and egg shells and they’re good to go!
  • DO NOT feed them citrus, avocado skin or pit, raw eggs, salt or sugar.
  • They put themselves to bed at sunset.
  • Chickens are very social and fun to watch.
  • Chickens are easy to take care of. Food, water, hay for the nesting box, a safe place to roost for the night and a safe pen to run around in during the day. Don’t forget to check for eggs!
Have fun!   (“>