The Where, What, When, Why & How of Chickens

Where do chickens come from?

Chickens are descendants of wild jungle fowl, which were domesticated thousands of years ago.


Where are chickens native to?

No one is really certain where chickens originated. Evidence indicates that chickens most likely originated in southern China or northern India.


Chicken Characteristics


Are chickens birds?

Yes. Chickens are birds and, like all other birds, are members of the class Aves.


Are chickens dinosaurs?

No. Chickens are not dinosaurs. Chickens are birds. Dinosaurs are reptiles.


Are chickens related to dinosaurs?

Yes. All birds are closely related to dinosaurs. Both belong to the clade Dinosauria.


Are chickens mammals?

No. Although both chickens and mammals are warm blooded, mammals differ in having hair or fur, rather than feathers. Also mammal females (usually) give live birth and have mammary glands that produce milk for their offspring. Chickens hatch their offspring from eggs and do not nurse their young.


Why do chickens lose feathers?

Chickens lose feathers for a number of reasons including feather picking, body parasites, and molting.


When do chickens lose their feathers?

Chickens are most likely to lose their feathers when they molt.


When do chickens molt?

Chickens typically molt in the fall, before the weather turns cold.


Why do chickens molt?

Chickens molt to replace feathers that have become worn or damaged since the last molt.


Chicken Behavior


Are chickens intelligent?

Yes. Chickens are intelligent. Among other things, they learn quickly, can do basic arithmetic, and have good memories.


Are chickens cannibals?

No. Chickens are not cannibals. But they can become cannibalistic under stressful conditions, such as being overcrowed.


Can chickens fly?

Some chickens can fly. But most chickens can’t fly far.


Why can’t chickens fly?

Chickens can’t fly well because their wings are too small to lift their heavy bodies far off the ground.


Can chickens swim?

Yes. Chickens can swim. But they don’t swim as well as ducks, because they lack webbed feet.


How do chickens reproduce?

Chickens reproduce by laying eggs, then keeping them warm for 21 days until the eggs hatch into baby chicks.


How do chickens mate?

When chickens mate, the hen squats on the ground while the rooster climbs on her back. The hen then lifts her tail, everts her vent, and the rooster gives her a “cloacal kiss.”


How do chickens sleep?

Chickens prefer to sleep on a perch, up off the ground or coop floor. Outdoors they’ll sleep on a fence top or tree branch.


When do chickens attack?

Chickens are most likely to attack when they’re afraid. A hen might attack someone if she thinks her chicks are in danger. A rooster might attack someone he feels is a threat the flock. Chickens also attack each other when they challenge the existing pecking order.


Where are chickens kept?

Chickens are kept on every continent except Antarctica and every country except Vatican City, according to the book Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?


Where do chickens live?

Wild chickens live in forests and jungles. Domestic chickens live in a coop and yard on a farm or in a backyard.


What is the place called where chickens are kept?

The place where backyard chickens are kept is called a coop, hen house, chicken house, chicken tractor, ark, or hutch. Typically, the chickens have access to a fenced yard, also called a pen or run.


Why won’t chickens go into the coop?

Chickens may not want to go into the coop for a number of reasons, including: the coop needs cleaning; a predator got inside the coop and scared them; the chickens are fighting too much; the chickens were recently moved to the coop and don’t know it’s their new home.


Why do chickens make noise?

Chickens make noise to communicate. Chicks peep the loudest to indicate they are unhappy. Mother hens cluck to keep her chicks close. Hens cackle after laying an egg. Roosters crow to assert their dominance.


Will chickens ruin my garden?

Yes. If chickens have free access to a garden they will eat or scratch up the plants. However, if they are confined to a chicken tractor, or vulnerable plants are protected by wire cages, chickens will benefit the garden by eating pesky weeds, weed seeds, and bugs.


Will chickens kill rats?

Chickens don’t often kill rats, because rats are active at night when chickens are asleep. But if a chicken does see a rat, it may try to kill it.


How are chickens killed?

Most backyard chickens are killed by dogs, raccoons, foxes, hawks, and other predators.


What Chickens Eat


What do chickens eat?

Confined chickens eat commercially formulated chick starter when they’re young and commercial layer ration when they’re old enough to start laying eggs. Free range chickens eat mostly insects, tender grasses, and weeds.


Are chickens herbivores?

No. Chickens are not herbivores. Although they eat a lot of plant material, they also eat meat in the form of insects, worms, snails, slugs, mice, lizards, and frogs.


Are chickens omnivores?

Yes. Chickens eat a variety of both plants and animals.


Can chickens eat pumpkin?

Yes. Chickens can eat pumpkin.


Will chickens eat pumpkins?

Yes. Chickens love pumpkins, raw or cooked.


Can chickens eat bananas?

Yes. Chickens can eat both the banana fruit and the peel.


Will chickens eat bananas?

Yes. Chickens love bananas, especially over-ripe bananas.


Can chickens eat tomatoes?

Yes. Mature chickens can eat fully ripe or over-ripe  tomatoes. But not tomato stems and leaves, which are toxic.


Can chickens eat bread?

Chickens love bread, but feeding bread to chickens is not a good idea because it’s not very nutritious. Chickens that eat too much bread don’t have enough room left to eat a proper diet containing the nutrients they need to remain healthy and lay eggs


Can chickens eat apples?

Yes. Chickens can eat apple fruit with skin, but not the seeds, which are toxic to chickens.


Will chickens eat apples?

Yes. Chickens will eat cored apples, peel and all. But they don’t like apple peels fed separately, because the peels are too tough.


Can chickens eat mushrooms?

Chickens can eat any kind of mushroom a human can eat. Like humans, chickens should never eat mushrooms that are toxic.


Will chickens eat mushrooms?

Chickens don’t care much for raw mushrooms. They will eat mushrooms, and digest them better, when the mushrooms are cooked until soft, but without butter, oil, or salt.


Will chickens eat slugs?

Yes. Chickens will eat slugs. Do don’t put out slug bait where chickens are likely to find and eat the poisoned slugs.


Chickens and Eggs


How do chickens make eggs?

A hen comes into the world with a cluster of ova, or egg yolks, at the top of her reproductive tract. As each ovum matures to the right size, it is released into the reproductive tract, fertilized (if the hen has been with a rooster), and continues down the tract to accumulate egg white, shell membranes, and a hard shell. When the egg reaches the uterus, the hen pushes it out into the nest. The entire process takes about 25 hours.


How do chickens lay eggs?

A hen’s uterus grips the egg so tightly that the gland turns itself inside out as it follows the egg through the cloaca and out through the vent. The uterus’s red tissue briefly protrudes through the vent before withdrawing back inside the hen soon after the egg is laid.


What chickens lay eggs?

Mature female chickens lay eggs unless they are extremely old, ill, poorly nourished, or have some physical problem that interferes with egg production.


Why do chickens lay eggs?

Chickens lay eggs to reproduce more chickens. However, unless a rooster is present, the eggs won’t be fertile and therefore won’t hatch.


When do chickens lay eggs?

Chickens usually lay eggs in the early part of the day.


Where do chickens lay eggs?

Chickens like to hide their eggs. Inside the coop they will usually lay in nests that are provided. Outside the coop they will hide eggs under a shrub, in tall grass, in the corner of a fence, or next to a wall. Young chickens just starting to lay may drop their eggs wherever they get the urge, such as on the ground or on the coop floor.


When do chickens start laying eggs?

Most chickens start laying eggs when they are about 4 or 5 months old.


Why do chickens stop laying eggs?

Chickens typically stop laying eggs when some internal or environmental condition prevents their bodies from both maintaining health and producing eggs.


What chickens lay blue eggs?

Chickens derived from Araucana or Ameraucana breeds lay blue eggs. Some of the breeds that lay blue eggs<> include Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, and Cream Legbars.


Which chickens lay white eggs?

All Mediterranean chickens lay eggs with white shells<>. A few other breeds also lay eggs with white shells. Some of the breeds that lay eggs with white shells include Appenzeller Spitzhauben, Fayoumi, Hamburg, Lakenvelder, Leghorn, Minorca,and Polish. Hybrid chickens that lay white eggs include Austra White and California White.


Which chickens lay green eggs?

Among chickens that lay blue eggs, a few may lay eggs with green shells. Chickens that regularly lay green eggs are Olive Eggers<> and chickens that result from a cross between a blue-egg layer with a brown-egg layer.


What chickens lay brown eggs?

All Asiatic breeds and most American chickens lay eggs with brown shells.<> They include Brahma, Dominique, Plymouth Rock, New Hampshire, Orpington, Rhode Island Red, and Wyandotte. Hybrid chickens that lay eggs with brown shells include Black Sex Link, Cinnamon Queen, Golden Comet, and Red Sex Link.


Which chickens lay the darkest brown eggs?

Dark brown egg layers<> include Barnvelders, Marans, and Welsummers.


Which chickens lay the biggest eggs?

Chickens that lay the largest eggs include Barnevelder, Leghorn, Minorca, Orpington, Welsummer, and some hybrid layers including Golden Comet and Production Red.


Which chickens lay the most eggs?

Among chicken breeds that lay the most eggs are the Mediterranean breeds (such as Ancona and Leghorns) plus Australorp, Barnevelder, Hamburg, Marans, Orpington, Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red and Sussex. Any of the hybrid layers lay as well as, or better than, some of the pure breeds. They include Austra White, Black Sex Link, California White, Cinnamon Queen, Golden Comet, and Red Sex Link.


Which chickens lay the best eggs?

Egg flavor has more to do with what the chicken eats than with the breed that laid the egg. The best eggs are laid by hens that eat a well balanced diet.


Why do chickens eat their eggs?

Chickens eat their own eggs for many reason, the main one being that eggs taste good. Ten other reasons chickens eat their eggs may be found here.


Chicken Meat


How are chickens killed for meat?

Backyard chickens are usually killed either by cutting the throat or chopping off the head.


How are chickens killed in factories?

Chickens are slaughtered in a factory by first being stunned unconscious and then killed with a single cut to the throat.


How are chickens processed?

Chickens are killed, then eviscerated, cleaned, and chilled. After being thoroughly chilled, whole chickens may be cut into pieces, sometimes deboned, and packed for sale.


How is a whole chicken cooked in the oven?

Pat the chicken inside and out with a paper towel, salt the inside, tie the legs together, and salt the outside. Then place the chicken in a roasting pan and cook it in a 450ºF oven for 45 minutes to one hour.


At what temperature should a chicken be cooked?

A chicken is fully cooked when the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F.


How are whole chicken wings cooked in the oven?

Generously season the wings with your favorite rub. Spread them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place the sheet in a 450ºF oven for 35 minutes. Remove the wings from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Chicken Idioms


When do chickens come home to roost?

Chickens literally come home to roost at sundown. Figuratively speaking, this idiom means that any bad things a person says or does will eventually cause problems for that person.


When do chickens have teeth?

Chickens don’t have teeth. As an idiom, the expression refers to something that will never happen.


Chickens and Fortnite


Where do chickens spawn in fortnite?

In the video game of Fortnite, chickens spawn where they tend to congregate, which changes with the current season.


Where are chickens in fortnite?

In fortnite, chickens are scattered around pretty much everywhere. But they can be hard to catch, because they move as soon as they realize they’ve been seen.