Can Chickens Fly? Yes….And No.

Can Chickens Fly? Yes….And No.

Wondering “can chickens fly?” Well, like most things with chickens: it depends.

 

Some chicken breeds can fly and some can’t. And even within a specific breed, some individual chickens can fly, and some cannot.

 

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the question “can chickens fly!”

 

What Is A Flightless Bird, Really?

Flightless birds are comparatively rare – there are only about 60 species of flightless birds on Earth. One of the most iconic of flightless birds, the ostrich, is the largest bird and can run at speeds upwards of 40 mph (64.37 kph). 

 

These massive runners live in Africa, and use their 2-inch diameter eyes to spy out threats like lions, leopards, and packs of hyenas. While it might not be clear when these incredible birds lost their ability to fly, there is evolutionary precedent for this: ostriches are ratite, which is “any bird whose sternum (breastbone) is smooth, or raftlike, because it lacks a keel to which flight muscles could be anchored. All species of ratites are thus unable to fly.” Other ratites are the emu, cassowary, rhea, and kiwi.

 

Right up there with the ostrich as the most iconic of flightless birds is the tuxedo-sporting critter: the penguin. Unlike ostriches, penguins are not ratites. They possess the keel on their sternum to which their wings attach. 

 

Whereas volant birds use their wings for flight, penguins have adapted to underwater explorations, and instead use their wings as fins that allow them to effectively navigate in the waters where their food lives. In a way, because of this adaptation, penguins might be considered volant birds that just happen to fly through a vastly different environment than most other volant birds. 

 

So where does this leave us with pet chickens?

 

Are Chickens Actually Flightless?

So, what does all this say about chickens? Your chickens have all of the right tools for flight. They (generally) have the feathers and the keel on their sternum which their wings attach to, and they certainly have the muscles for it. With all of these details, the question remains: Can chickens fly?

 

Yes, kind of. And it depends on the breed. 

 

All chickens have strong muscles, and flight is one of the few ways this species can keep safe from predators. Most breeds are capable of “burst flights”, which are quick and can carry chickens to safety within moments. At night, as you probably know, they like to fly up to their roosts, which gives them a good vantage point to see if any raccoons, dogs, etc are coming their way.

 

Since they’ve been domesticated, they’ve largely lost this ability. Why is that? 

 

Chickens are most commonly bred for two things: eggs and meat. White meat is muscle, and it’s white meat that our ancestors favored. Selective breeding for meat has maximized the size of our chickens’ chest muscles. In theory, this should make chickens fantastic fliers. In reality, however, this is counterproductive. In order to fly, birds need light bodies with muscles strong enough to carry their own weight. 

 

The ideal flier will have a lean – almost sinewy – body: one that is strong enough to propel itself off the ground and light enough to stay aloft. Sustained flight also requires endurance. Human-bred chickens seldom are bred for strength, leanness, and endurance. 

 

Unlike ostriches and penguins, modern flightless chickens are not tied to the Earth because they don’t have the muscles to fly, but because it’s been bred out of them. In other words: We have bred our birds to be too large to support much of a flying ability. The average chicken can fly for about 10 feet, and about as high off the ground.

 

Being similar in flight skills to game birds, chickens were never the greatest fliers, and lack the skills for sustained flight, but they have been known to fly for as long as 13 seconds and a distance of 301.5 feet. It might be a short flight, but it likely is plenty enough to do its job: to get the chickens away from danger. 


Which Chickens Can Fly?

Larger chicken breeds are far less likely to even hover, as the energy required for even minimal flight can be preventative, but there are a number of breeds that are more inclined to flight:

 

 

are the most commonly known fliers. 

 

They have leaner bodies, and this is better suited for the short flights attainable by chickens. Our own Leghorns love flying into trees. 

 

At night, Araucanas occasionally roost up in the trees. Originally from Switzerland, the Spitzhaubens are a flighty bird that sometimes takes that adjective literally. Thanks to their smaller size, some bantam hens can achieve high heights for roosting purposes or when spooked. 

 

Which Chickens Can’t Fly?

There are some breeds that, no matter what, simply won’t get liftoff. Either they lack the feathers, or are just too dang heavy.

 

Some breeds, such as Silkies, can’t fly at all – they simply don’t have flight feathers on their wings. To keep them safe, you have to give them a place to climb up to. Ours can get lift off of maybe 12 inches, and that’s pretty much a big jump for a silkie.

 

Our Mille Fleur bantams and Cochin bantams can’t fly either – although they have wing feathers, their wings are too small. 

 

Other chickens, such as Orpingtons or Brahmas, have been bred to be so large, they simply are too heavy to fly.  

 

How Can I Stop My Chickens from Flying?

 

A few times a week, a person in my Facebook group asks how they can stop their flock from pooping all over the neighbor’s yard. There’s some easy ways to keep your chickens from making unwanted visits.

Build a Fence

The easiest way to prevent your chickens from flying away is to build a sizable fence around your chicken coop. This will stop most birds from flying out of their homes. 

 

For the heaviest breeds, you will not need anything taller than a 4-foot fence. For the slightly less heavy – the Mediterranean breeds, for example – you might need to build a 12-foot fence. 

 

Clip Their Wings

If you want to stop a bird from flying, one more adage comes to mind: “clip their wings,” which really means to trim their feathers. 

 

When done correctly, trimming feathers is painless. Once clipped, your chicken’s feathers can’t provide the lift needed for flight.

 

Do you still wonder “can chickens fly?” How far have your own chickens flown? Leave a comment below!

 

Cream Legbars: Hatchery Reviews & More

Cream Legbars: Hatchery Reviews & More

Pet birds don’t get much better than Cream Legbar chickens. They lay blue eggs and you can tell which are males and which are females seconds after they hatch – what’s not to love?

 

This fascinating breed of chicken is a relative newcomer to the backyard flock scene, but because of their good looks, excellent egg laying ability, docile personality, and sky-colored eggs, they’ve become extremely popular.

 

However, you might not be sure where to find these wonderful colored egg layers

– or which breeders are the best.

 

In this article, you’ll discover everything there is to know about Cream Legbar chickens, where to buy them, what to look for, and how to care for these feathered beauties.

 

5 Amazing Cream Legbar Chicken Facts

  • They’re an unusual crested chicken breed.
  • The chicks are autosexing
  • They lay blue or blue/green eggs
  • The breed almost went extinct in the 70s because nobody wanted blue eggs (surprising since powder blue suits were all the rage).
  • It took several decades of study for the breed to form.

 

Where to Buy Cream Legbar Chickens

There are several major hatcheries and a few recommended breeders where you can buy your Cream Legbar chicks from.

 

With a breed like this – very popular and not very well publicized – it’s easy to head to the wrong place and purchase chickens that LOOK like Cream Legbars, but won’t lay blue eggs or are unhealthy.

 

(One popular cross I’ve seen is a Cream Legbar and a Welsummer chicken – they look like the real deal, but likely won’t lay blue eggs.)

 

Or, you might find the breeder doesn’t know the difference between Cream Legbars, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, or Araucanas and accidentally sells you the wrong breed. You can learn the difference between these super blue egg layers here.

 

Because of their popularity, they tend to be much more expensive than other chicken breeds, which makes it tempting for people to pass off hybrids for purebred Cream Legbars.

 

When it comes to this breed, make sure you’re prepared to spend a bit more at a reliable hatchery. While most chicken breeds tend to cost between $2 – $5, Cream Legbar pullets start at approximately $25, while the young roosters are less.

 

Recommended Hatcheries

The top hatcheries to purchase Cream Legbars are:

  1. My Pet Chicken
  2. Meyer Hatchery
  3. Cackle Hatchery
  4. Murray McMurray

 

My Pet Chicken

Located in Connecticut. If you live on the East Coast, you’ll want to use this hatchery so your chicks don’t travel too far.

 

This has been one of the top hatcheries for decades in the United States. They carry day old chicks that you can have shipped right to your door. The Cream Legbars on their site have gotten many 5 star reviews, and owners seem happy with their purchase.

 

Meyer Hatchery

Located in Ohio. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Northern Midwest, this is a good hatchery to order from. Your chicks won’t travel too far.

 

Meyer has a good reputation, and on their website, they show photos of beautiful sky blue eggs that’ll be perfect in any morning egg basket. Their reviews aren’t quite as good as My Pet Chicken’s, although it seems there are more reviews (which is a good thing). The prices of the Cream Legbars are the same as other hatcheries.

 

Cackle Hatchery

Located in Missouri. A good hatchery to order from if you live in the Midwest, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas, etc. This is the hatchery I have the most experience with. Every time I’ve ordered from them, the chicks arrived ASAP and in good shape.

 

Their prices for Cream Legbar chicks are competitive. Note that as of the time of press, they only shipped these chicks through June, so get your orders in early.

 

The roosters in particular look very beautiful. You can read our review of Cackle Hatchery here.

 

Murray McMurray

Located in Iowa. A good place to order from if you live in the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, etc. I’ve ordered from this hatchery before (although not Cream Legbar chickens), and had a good experience.

 

Their prices are very competitive, and the photos on their website show pretty blue/green eggs, and hens with very impressive crest feathers!

 

There’s only 1 review on their site for this chicken breed.

 

Recommended Cream Legbar Breeders

Greenfire Farms

One of the top breeders (if not THE top breeder) in the United States, Greenfire Farms, also has Cream Legbar chickens for sale. As one of the first importers of these chickens, they’ve helped establish solid flocks for other breeders, and only raise healthy birds you’ll be proud to have in your flock. You can expect to make more of an investment in your birds, but you’ll have beautiful parent stock from which you can establish your own flocks.

 

Willow Croft Farm

These breeders are based in Washington state, and might be a good option for those living on the West Coast. They only offer a limited number each year, so it’s best to check with them directly. According to buyers, their Cream Legbar chickens come from Greenfire stock, are very healthy, and lay every day.

 

Cream Legbar Chicken Hatching Eggs

If you want to purchase hatching eggs, Purely Poultry seems to have them in stock. Bear in mind that while this can seem like an easy way to save some money, the phrase “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” rings true for a reason – there’s no guarantee you’ll have any chicks. The USPS is notoriously bad for shipping eggs.

 

Other Ways To Purchase Cream Legbar Chickens

 

  1. You can join the Cream Legbar Club to connect with other enthusiasts (and possibly breeders).
  2. Join Facebook groups and ask for breeder recommendations. Here’s a popular group called Cream Legbar Breeders of America.

 

Cream Legbar Eggs

What Color Eggs Do Cream Legbars Lay?

Because of their Araucana heritage (and selective breeding), the crested Cream Legbar egg color is blue or blue/green. If your Cream Legbar hen doesn’t lay blue eggs, then it’s likely a hybrid (you can find out about other colored egg layers here.).

 

How Many Eggs Does A Cream Legbar Lay?

Cream Legbars lay about 280 eggs each year, and are noted for being very prolific egg layers. So, don’t be surprised if you find lovely blue eggs in your nesting boxes 5 times a week!

 

You can learn more about which nesting boxes chickens prefer here.

 

What Age Do Cream Legbars Start Laying?

Like most chickens, Cream Legbars start laying their eggs at about 6 months of age. This will depend on different factors, however, such as her diet and the time of year. It’s always best to feed your hens a high quality layer feed that’s at least 16% protein. You can also supplement with extra treats, such as black soldier fly larvae and oyster shells for extra calcium.

 

Many readers ask “When do cream legbars start laying?” because their chickens are 7 months old, with no eggs in sight. Remember that if your hen turns 6 months old during winter, she is less likely to start laying. In fact, she might wait until spring before beginning egg production. You can find out more about how often hens lay eggs here.

 

If your Cream Legbar hen stops laying eggs, you can troubleshoot egg laying problems here.

 

Cream Legbar Vs. Ameraucana: Which Is Better?

When it comes to laying eggs, many owners report that Cream Legbars are more prolific layers. However the Ameraucana is more likely to be friendlier and cuddlier. Ameraucana roosters are also usually pretty mellow.

 

Cream Legbar Breed Standard

History Of The Cream Legbar Breed

Established in the United Kingdom, Cream Legbars are getting more popular, but are still considered to be a fairly rare breed in the USA.

 

It was developed by Reginald Crundall Punnett and Michael Pease, researchers at Cambridge University, who wanted to create a breed that could easily be sexed at hatching (you can read more about how to sex a baby chick here).

 

These gentlemen crossed a Gold Legbar chicken (a hybrid of Barred Rocks and Brown Leghorns) with white Leghorns and Aracauna chickens.

 

While this gets a bit technical about chicken genetics, the Araucanas brought the dilute creme gene to the mixture, which inhibits the gold gene from being expressed in the chicks (which is why Cream Legbars are a light grey or cream color).

 

It’s also from the Araucanas that the Cream Legbar gets its crest and blue egg laying genes.

 

Thanks to this mixture, the chicks can be sexed after they hatch by examining their down. Like other autosexing chicken breeds, Cream Legbars have specific markings when they’re born. The pullets have a dark brown stripe extending over the head, neck and tail, and barring around the eye. They also have a head spot. Roosters have paler down, and less pronounced barring.

 

Breed Standard

According to breeding clubs, these are the required markings of Cream Legbar hens and roosters:

 

Roosters: Cream neck hackles, sparsely barred. Crests are cream and grey colored. Saddle hackle feathers are long and cream barred. The wings are also faintly barred.

 

Hens: The breast is salmon colored and the rest of the body is silver-grey with soft barring. The neck hackles and tail are covered with cream feathers with grey barring. Like the roosters, the crest should be cream and grey. The hens should lay blue or blue/green eggs, and should lay prolifically.

 

Unlike their Araucana ancestors, these chickens don’t have the tufts.

 

You can read detailed breed standards here.

 

What Color Legs Do Cream Legbars Have?

Cream Legbars have yellow legs and feet.

 

Feeding Cream Legbar Chickens

Like most chickens, the best Cream Legbar diet includes a lot of protein. Chicks need a high protein diet to grow correctly- 18% protein chick starter is best.

 

Layers need it also so they can provide you with yummy eggs. The ideal diet for a hen includes a 16% protein layer feed and fresh, clean water every day.

 

Most commercial feeds are perfectly adequate. If you want to save some money and keep rodents away from your hens, use a no-waste feeder like these. You can also build your own with these tutorials.

 

This is especially important since Cream Legbars (thanks to the Leghorn genes) have a very good feed to egg ratio, so they won’t eat as much as bigger chickens. You want that feed to last as long as possible!

 

Keeping the feed out 24 hours a day will attract pests and predators. Since your Cream Legbars are smaller chickens, they’re more susceptible to being attacked. Keep their feed locked up at night when they’re not going to eat it anyway.

 

For nicely colored yolks, you can add herbs high in beta carotenes, such as calendula.

 

Your flock should have 24 hour access to water (although they probably won’t drink at night). An automatic waterer makes this easy. You can find recommended waterers here.

 

If you want to build your own, you can get my tutorial for a $12 gravity waterer here.

 

Keeping Cream Legbar Chickens as Pets

Are Cream Legbar Chickens Friendly?

The cream legbar temperament is usually docile, but it depends on how they’re raised. Because they have Leghorn genetics, they can be a bit flighty (Leghorns are notorious for their flightiness). However, many owners report that if the Cream Legbar chicks are hand raised, they’re very friendly and will take treats from your hand.

 

According to the breed standard, having a docile Cream Legbar is ideal.

 

Cream Legbars also have a bantam variety, and on the whole, bantams tend to be friendlier than full sized chickens. You can read more about bantams here.

 

Are Cream Legbar Roosters Aggressive?

Some breeders report that Cream Legbar roosters tend to be more aggressive than other chicken breeds, and are good protectors. So, if you’re looking for a pet chicken for your children, then this breed might not be the best available (Silkies and Cochins are two options.)

 

Cream Legbar Chicken Lifespan

Cream Legbars tend to be healthy birds, and on a general basis, you can expect yours to live between 5-10 years. Note that the exact lifespan depends on lots of different factors, such as diet, shelter, and veterinary care. You can learn more about the factors that can effect how long your chickens live here.

 

Coops For Cream Legbar Chickens

The perfect Cream Legbar chicken habitat should be:

  1. Safe from predators
  2. Well ventilated
  3. Draft-free
  4. Easy to clean
  5. 10 square feet of space per chicken
  6. Full of environmental interest, such as branches and toys

 

While Cream Legbars are not very large, they can be flighty and nervous. It’s best to stick to the 10 square feet of space per chicken rule of thumb.

 

These are also smaller birds, and easily picked off by predators, including dogs, raccoons, opossums, and larger predators like bears. Make sure your coop is 100% predator proof, and use a run or tractor to allow your flock some outdoors time.

 

You can learn how to build a predator proof coop here and figure out the best chicken wire here for your particular coop. If you want to know how to identify common chicken predators, you can read this article.

 

Cream Legbars are both cold hardy and heat hardy, but remember that they’re still fairly small birds. So, your coop should keep them dry and warm in the winter so they don’t freeze.

 

In the summer, your coop should have good cross breezes so they don’t overheat. A few windows are always a good idea – just be sure to use screens or hardware cloth so no predators can eat your flock.

 

You can also offer frozen treats like these Beef Tallow Treats. Your flock will love you for it.

 

Known Health Issues

When Greenfire Farms first imported Cream Legbar chickens, Marek’s seemed to be a big issue. The breeder reported that this was partly due to the imported birds having no resistance to the strains of the virus we have in the USA. Subsequent generations seem more immune. However, it’s not a bad idea to have your Cream Legbar chicks vaccinated for Mareks to be on the safe side.

 

Because Cream Legbar hens are such prolific layers, there’s a chance she might end up with a prolapsed vent. However, this seems unlikely, and reports are few and far between.

12 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs: Blue, Green, Chocolate, and Pink!

12 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs: Blue, Green, Chocolate, and Pink!

Every backyard flock owner dreams of raising chickens that lay colored eggs. Who doesn’t want a paint box of vibrant colors in your morning basket?

 

But first, you need hens that lay colored eggs – so you gotta know which breeds LAY colored eggs!

 

In this article, you’ll discover which chicken breeds lay:

  • Blue eggs
  • Green eggs
  • Dark brown eggs
  • Pink Eggs

 

We’ll also share where you can buy these types of chickens!

 

Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Blue Eggs?

  • Araucana
  • Ameraucana
  • Cream Legbar
  • Easter Egger
  • Arkansas Blue

 

Did you know all eggs are either blue or white? You can read more about different colored eggs here

 

Araucana

This ancient breed is named after the Araucania region of Chile – where scientists say they evolved. Araucana chickens lay blue eggs and have an appearance unlike most other chickens – they grow tufts of feathers near their ears, called “peduncles.”

 

Araucanas also are “rumpless” (meaning they don’t have tails), so don’t expect your roosters to grow any long tail feathers.

 

Many people confuse Araucanas with Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers. They can look similar, but they’re different breeds with different egg laying abilities. You can read more about the difference between Ameraucana and Araucanas here:

 

 

So if you want this type of chicken in your flock, go to a reliable breeder.

 

The hens lay about 200 beautiful blue eggs every year. You can learn more about Araucana chickens here.

 

Ameraucana

Wondering “what color eggs do ameraucana chickens lay?” Well, they’re blue! Ameraucanas were created by American researchers, who used Araucana bloodlines, but eliminated a lethal gene that kills a portion of chicks before they hatched. (Ameraucana is a conglomeration of the words “American” and “Araucana.”)

 

Like their Araucana foremothers, this breed lays blue eggs. They have a distinctive appearance with tufts of feathers, muffs, and a “beard” of feathers that makes their chicks look like balls of fluff. They also have a pea comb.

Ameraucana hens lay about 200 blue eggs a year, and they can be a light sky blue to almost green.

 

You can read more about Ameraucanas here.

 

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbars are a relatively new 20th century chicken breed that was created by researchers at Cambridge University. These scientists crossed Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and Cambars with Araucanas to create a second type of blue egg layer that also eliminated the lethal Araucana gene.

 

These chickens have cream-colored feathers (hence the name Cream Legbar). They also look different from Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Easter Eggers.

 

Cream Legbars hens lay about 200 blue or bluish green eggs annually.

 

Arkansas Blue

This is a relatively unknown breed that’s been developed by researchers in Arkansas. They’re not for sale currently. They don’t have muffs, tufts, or beards, however, they do have a pea comb and lay blue eggs.

 

Easter Egger

Many new backyard chicken owners have heard of Easter Eggers! They’re a very popular breed because they lay different colored eggs.

 

These hens lay about 250 eggs per year, and some do lay blue eggs. Unlike the chicken breeds previously mentioned, not all Easter Eggers will lay blue eggs.

 

In fact, this type of chicken is a hybrid – a cross between a blue egg layer (like Ameraucana) and a brown egg layer (like a Plymouth rock). An Easter Egger chicken can lay blue, green, brown, or pink eggs!

 

Each chicken only lays one color egg though. If you want blue eggs, it’s best to stick with Ameraucana, Araucanas, or Cream Legbars.

 

You can read more about Easter Eggers here.

 

What Chicken Lays The Bluest Eggs?

Araucana eggs are the bluest eggs known, and are caused by the oocyan gene. This breed evolved in Chile, and all other blue egg laying breeds are descended from Araucanas. The blue egg gene is a mutation caused by a retrovirus.

 

Chickens That Lay Green Eggs

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Green Eggs?

  • Easter Eggers
  • Olive Eggers
  • Isbars
  • Ice Cream Bars
  • Favaucanas

 

Easter Egger

As previously mentioned Easter Eggers can lay green colored eggs – however, it’s not guaranteed. The color of the eggs will depend on the genetics of the individual chicken. So, if you definitely want green eggs, then check out the breeds below.

 

Olive Egger

What chickens lay olive green eggs? Like other types of chickens mentioned on this list, Olive Eggers aren’t a true breed – they’re hybrids. BUT they lay great dark green eggs!

 

They’re a cross between a blue egg layer and a dark brown egg layer, and their eggs can range from dark green to a brownish green egg. One breed combination that makes an olive egger chicken is an Ameraucana hen and a Marans rooster.

 

The amount of eggs olive eggers lay depends on the individual bird (since they’re a hybrid) but you can usually expect about 200 eggs per year.

 

Isbar

Isbar (pronounced “ice bar”) is a Swedish breed developed in the mid-20th century by Martin Silverudd, who wanted to create an autosexing chicken breed that consistently laid colored eggs. (Autosexing means you can tell the sex of a chick as soon as it hatches).

 

This breed lays about 200 green colored eggs each year. You can buy Isbars at Greenfire Farms, among other breeders.

 

Ice Cream Bars

Ice Cream Bars are a cross between Isbars and Cream Legbars – and they lay green eggs! Many owners say their eggs are colored teal or blueish green – so it seems the actual shade depends on the individual hen.

 

Favaucana

Like the other chickens on this list, Favaucanas are a hybrid chicken (which isn’t bad – usually hybrids are healthier and friendly). They’re a breed sold on My Pet Chicken, and is created by crossing Favorelles with Amerauanas. They lay “sage green” eggs, and are said to have friendly personalities.

 

Chickens That Lay Dark Brown (Chocolate Eggs)

  • Barnvelder
  • Welsummer
  • Marans

Barnvelder

Barnvelders originate from the Barneveld region of Holland. They were developed about 200 years ago by crossing local Dutch chickens with breeds imported from Asia such as Cochins or Brahmas.

 

Barnevelders are beautiful birds – the hens display a black-and-white or buff-and-white “double laced” feathering, giving them a distinctive appearance. Roosters have blue and green tinged double lacing, with a single comb. They were included in the American Standard of Perfection in 1991.

 

Some unrecognized varieties are auto-sexing (meaning, you can tell the sex of the chick when it’s born). These types include:

  • Barred
  • Dark brown
  • Partridge
  • Chamois
  • Blue
  • Silver

 

Welsummer

Welsummers are intelligent and docile chickens that add nice, chocolate-brown eggs to any backyard flock. Like their name implies, they originated in Holland. They love to forage, and you can expect up to 200 eggs per year. You can buy Welsummers at any major hatchery.

 

Marans

Originating in the town of Marans, France, Marans eggs (particularly Black Copper Marans) are noted as the best in the world – in fact, some chefs will ONLY cook with Marans eggs!

 

While historically a dual purpose breed, many people now raise these chickens for its striking egg color and beautiful appearance.

 

Maran eggs are traditionally a deep chocolate brown color, although the exact color will depend on the individual bird. You can usually tell how dark a hen’s eggs will be after she lays 12 eggs (the first 12 might be darker than the remaining eggs she lays.)

 

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Pink Eggs?

Easter Egger eggs can sometimes be pink. However, this hybrid breed can also lay eggs of varying colors that range from blue, green, or brown. Take note that a hen will only lay one color of egg.

 

Easter Eggers are great for beginners because they lay consistently (about 250 eggs per year) – There is no standard for this chicken breed, and one chicken can look quite different from another.

 

Can A Chicken Lay Different Colored Eggs?

No, a hen will only produce one color of egg, and the tint of her eggshells is determined by her genetics. Unlike yolks, you cannot change the color of her eggs based on diet. That being said, if the hen is stressed, she might lay lighter eggs or weird looking eggshells. However, some breeds, like Easter Eggers, will produce hens that can each lay a different color egg (so one hen will lay blue eggs, one will lay green, etc).

 

Why Are My Chickens Eggs Getting Lighter In Color?

A decrease in pigmentation in the eggshell can be caused by a poor diet, stress, or age. Stress such as predators or heat stress can cause a lightening of the eggshell. Make sure your hens have plenty of protein and fresh water. To make sure her diet is right, feed your hen a good layer feed with 16% protein.

 

Do Different Color Eggs Taste Different?

No, eggs with different colors doesn’t taste any different than a regular white egg. The taste of an egg depends on the quality of the hen’s diet, not the color of the eggshell. You can read more about what to feed chickens for great tasting eggs here, what chickens eat here, and about alternative feeds for chickens here. For golden egg yolks, offer your flock herbs.

 

How Do You Tell What Color Egg A Chicken Will Lay?

You can tell by the breed of a chicken – Plymouth rock will lay brown eggs, for example. You can also look at the earlobes, although this isn’t much help determining the egg color of Easter Eggers or chickens when you don’t know the breed (some can lay brown eggs, some olive eggs, etc). Traditionally, hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs while hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. The exception is Silkies, which have blue earlobes, but lay white eggs.

 

Do Chicken Ears Determine Egg Color?

Chicken earlobes can be a determinant of their egg color. Traditionally, hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs while hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. However, in practice, this isn’t a good indicator because Silkies have blue earlobes, but lay white eggs, while blue or green egg laying chickens have red earlobes.

 

How Many Different Color Eggs Do Chickens Lay?

A chicken will lay only one color of eggs. Some breeds, like Easter Eggers, will have hens who lay different colored eggs, but each individual hen will only lay a single egg color her whole life (so, one hen will lay blue eggs, another will lay green eggs, etc).

 

What Chicken Lays Purple Eggs?

No chickens lay colored eggs that are a true purple. Eggs have a protective layer on their outside called “the bloom,” which helps eggs stay fresh and bacteria free. Some hens will lay brown eggs with a heavy bloom that can tint the egg purple. However, when the bloom is washed off, the egg will be brown.

 

Does The Rooster Determine Egg Color?

No – both parents determine egg color. That’s why hybrid breeds – like Olive Eggers – can exist. One parent has a blue egg laying gene while the other has a dark brown egg laying gene. So, chickens that lay colored eggs have genes from both parents that influence shell color. You can read more about how roosters influence laying here.

 

Which chickens that lay colored eggs do you raise? Leave a comment below!

Bantam Chickens: Owner’s Guide

Bantam Chickens: Owner’s Guide

Looking for an adorable new personality for your lively backyard flock? Then a tiny bantam chicken might be a perfect match for you!

 

These chickens are essentially smaller versions of regular chicken breeds, however, they make for good pets because they lay a lot of eggs that are just as good as a regular sized chickens.

 

If you’re thinking about raising bantam chickens, you’ve made a good choice! In this article, you’ll discover how to rise bantams successfully, and tips to care for your new poultry pals.

 

Bantam Chickens 101

Bantam are small chicken breeds that make a great addition to any flock: they’re adorable, usually fluffy, always full of personality, and they lay eggs!

 

Particularly if you’re looking for a great pet chicken for your children, bantams are usually the way to go. With some notable exceptions (which we talk about below), bantams are friendly, like to be held and cuddled, and love attention – making them perfect for kids or adults who want a new best friend.

 

The hens usually aren’t broody (with the exception of silkies and pekins), and the roosters are typically friendly, and are less likely to flog or attack their owners.

 

You’ll see chicken owners referring to bantams and “true bantams.” This can be confusing (because aren’t all bantams “true bantams?”). Most chicken breeds have a bantam variety – which means there’s a wide array of options available for your flock.

 

However, just remember that a “true bantam” means there’s no full-size equivalent.

 

Read on further to discover the varying bantam chicken breeds available, and discover which is best for your flock!

Which Chicken Breeds Come In A Bantam Variety?

Here’s our bantam chicken breeds chart:

 

Breed Eggs laid per year Egg color Good for families? True bantam?
Belgian Bantam 150 Off white Yes Yes
Frizzle 200 Brown or white Yes No
Pekin 80 Cream Yes No
Araucana 280 Blue Yes No
Naked Neck 200 Brown Yes No
Dutch Bantam 200 Cream Yes, but needs consistent handling Yes
Japanese Bantam 50 Cream Yes Yes
Brahma 200+ Brown Yes No
Sebright 80 White Possibly – roosters can be territorial Yes
Silkie 100 Cream Yes Yes
Serama 160 Cream Yes Yes
Barbu d’Uccle 200 Cream Yes Yes
Polish 150 Cream Yes Yes
Easter Egger 300 Brown, blue, green, or pink Yes No
Cochin 200+ Brown Yes No

 

Belgian Bantam

Belgian bantams originate in – you guessed it – Belgium. They come in a variety of lovely hues and is a lively addition to a flock. They’re one of the more rare chicken breeds – in danger of extinction – so if you choose to raise these chickens, you’ll be helping the breed out! They’re friendly and a true bantam – so they have no full sized equivalent. They are, however, good fliers so you need to ensure that they have a good chicken run and build a coop that’s safe, so they don’t wander off.

 

Bantams tend to be targets for chicken predators because of their size – even skunks, raccoons, and possums can easily pick them off!

 

Where to buy: Murray McMurray Hatchery

 

Pekin Bantam

Pekin bantams originated in China (possibly in the court of the Emperor), and like a lot of other bantam varieties, it has feathered feet! They made their way to Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria, and are friendly birds that are very docile.

 

The hens tend to go broody, although they’re only fair egg layers (approximately 80 eggs per year) – so if your hens do want to hatch chicks, you can always give them eggs from their flock mates! (if you want to hatch chicks, but don’t want to deal with a broody hen, you can see the incubators I recommend here.)

 

Cochin bantam chickens might be related to Pekins, but its not clear.

 

Dutch Bantam

Dutch Bantams come in a few different varieties: Partridge, black, blue, lavender, silver, and many more. According to historians, it was developed hundreds of years ago because peasant farmers (serfs) could only keep small eggs – the larger eggs were the property of the landholder. Today, it’s mostly kept as an ornamental chicken (meaning, because they’re pretty).

 

Some owners report their Dutch Bantams are particularly hardy against the elements, and if not handled regularly, they can be flighty. Because of their size, they eat less than other breeds (you can find out what chickens eat here, and different alternative chicken feed options here.) It’s a good flier, so a sturdy and enclosed chicken run is definitely needed. They’re good layers, coming in around 200 eggs per year.

 

Where to buy: My Pet Chicken, Stromberg Chickens, Welp Hatchery

 

Japanese Bantam

Japanese bantams are popular chickens, and because of their size, they’re regarded as the easiest to keep (although most bantam breeds are pretty easy). You might notice this type of bantam has very short legs – this is due to genetics. In order to be considered a true Japanese bantam, the chicken must have these short legs. Like seramas and sebrights, their wings angle down (instead of horizontal, like other chickens).

 

There’s many color varieties available, black, lavender, red, partridge, as well as frizzle and silkie variations.

 

They lay about 150 small eggs per year.

 

Where to buy: My Pet Chicken, Purely Poultry, Cackle Hatchery 

 

Brahma Bantam

Known for being sweet and friendly, this perfect urban flock chicken that comes in a variety of color combinations, such as:

  • Light
  • Dark
  • Buff
  • Black
  • White

 

They have feathered feet (which can get quite dirty during rainy, muddy days). They were accepted into the American Poultry Standard of Perfection in 1946. This breed is gentle, and is tolerant to cold conditions. They’re decent egg layers that’ll lay about 200 brown eggs a year. There’s also a full-size variety. You can read more about brahma chickens here.

 

Where to buy: My Pet Chicken, Purely Poultry, Cackle Hatchery

 

Sebright Bantam

Sebright bantams are popular (especially silver laced) because they’re very beautiful. They have laced feathers, and rose combs, and are a bright addition to any flock. They’re also very tiny: both hens and roosters lay less than 2 pounds. They’re a true bantam breed, and were developed in Great Britain by Sir John Saunders Sebright, as an ornamental breed.

 

However, choose your breeder wisely – some roosters can be very territorial, and they have spurs. So they’re not really for beginners. They’re also difficult to breed, because the males tend to be infertile. While they’re not known for being a spectacular layer (only about 80 per year), they still are lovely, active birds.

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, Stromberg Chickens, My Pet Chicken

 

Silkie Bantam

Silkie bantam chickens are possibly the most popular, well-known, and beloved bantam chicken breeds out there. They’re great for children, and make a wonderful family pet. Unlike other chickens, silkies have feathers that resemble down. So, make sure to keep an eye on them in winter and cooler days, since they can’t keep themselves warm very well.

 

Silkies come in a variety of colors, including buff, white, black, blue, grey, splash, and partridge. Like other black chicken breeds, silkies can be susceptible to heat stroke in the summer, so be sure to offer cool shade for them.

 

The roosters aren’t aggressive, and will tolerate being held (especially if you have treats like black soldier fly larvae or shrimp).

 

They’re fair egg layers, and will give you about 100 eggs per year. The hens tend to be great mothers, and go broody consistently, so if you want baby chicks, then silkies can definitely hatch them for you!

 

You can read more about silkie chickens here, and discover fun facts about them here.

 

Where to buy: Purely Poultry, Meyer Hatchery, Cackle Hatchery, Murray McMurray.

 

Serama Bantam

A true bantam and the smallest breed of chicken in the world. Seramas originated in Malaysia, and are distinctive because of their small stature and their profile, which includes a puffed out chest, straight tail, and vertical wings. The name “serama” is a variant of “Rama,” which means king. They can lay up to 160 cream-colored eggs per year.

 

Where to buy: My Pet Chicken

 

Barbu d’Uccle (Belgian d’Uccle)

These adorable bantam chickens have beards and tufts – giving them a unique and cuddly appearance! Developed in Belgium in the 20th century, they come in many varieties, including:

 

  • Blue,
  • Lavender,
  • Mille Fleur,
  • Porcelain,
  • Mottled,
  • Black,
  • White, and
  • Cuckoo

 

The Mille Fleur and Porcelain varieties are very popular because they’re an unusual addition to any flock. They’re very friendly, enjoy human company, and are great for children (especially since the Mille Fleur variety look like cartoon characters.) They’re good layers, and you can expect about 200 cream eggs per year.  

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, Murray McMurray

Polish Bantams

Bantam polish chickens are friendly and cuddly chickens….that also happen to look like a Dr. Seuss character! With their “pom pom” of feathers that crown their head, they’re a fun addition to any flock.

 

They enjoy being held, and are a good family bantam. Polish chickens probably originated in Holland, and are generally kept as pets for ornamental purposes. They lay about 150 cream colored eggs each year, and come in a variety of colors such as silver laced, golden laced, buff, black, and white crested. The white crested is one of the friendliest black and white chicken breeds.

 

Where to buy: Any major hatchery

 

Frizzle

Frizzles aren’t a backyard chicken bantam breed per se, but more a variety of different bantam breeds. The frizzle effect of the feathers is a genetic abnormality that’s selected for – so many breeds have frizzle bantam varieties.

 

They’re on this list because frizzles look so different from other bantams – their feathers don’t lay flat, but turn up away from the body. They have wonderful personalities. They look adorable, and are friendly, calm, and enjoy human company.

 

Because of their frizzled feathers, children are attracted to them, and this breed enjoys being held. Although they’re getting more popular, frizzles are still a relatively rare chicken breed to find in backyards. You can learn more about frizzles here.

 

The amount of eggs laid per year will depend on the breed of frizzle, but most breeds lay about 200 eggs per year.

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, My Pet Chicken, Meyer Hatchery

 

Easter Egger

Bantam Easter Egger chickens are miniature versions of the full-size variety. Easter Eggers aren’t a breed, but a hybrid. They’re popular because they’re friendly and lay eggs of varying colors – from blue to green, to pink or brown. (The color of the eggs will depend on the individual chicken.)

 

Easter Egger Bantams are good layers, although their eggs are smaller than their full-sized cousins. They’re friendly, and with their muffs and beards, they have a distinctive profile! Note that they may or may not lay blue eggs, so if you definitely want eggs that color, then consult this list of blue egg layers.

 

You can read more about Easter Egger chickens here.

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, Meyer Hatchery, Murray McMurray.

Cochin

Bantam cochin chickens make wonderful additions to your backyard flock. They’re very friendly, and lay tiny brown eggs. They’re not the best layers – you can expect about 200 eggs per year.

 

But they make up for it in personality! They love human company, and actively seek their people for cuddles. They’re very small – weighing in at about 2 pounds. With their feathered feet, intelligent eyes, and big personalities, you’ll fall in love with them!

 

You can read more about cochin chickens here.

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, My Pet Chicken, Meyer Hatchery

 

Naked Neck (Turken or Transylvanian)

These bantams have a very distinctive trait – they don’t have feathers on their necks! They look strange, but they’re friendly birds who enjoy interacting with people. While their full-sized counterparts are fairly common, the bantam variety are more rare, with only a handful of hatcheries actually selling them. The full-sized Turkens lay about 200 brown eggs each year.

 

Where to buy: Dunlap Hatchery

 

Raising Bantams

Where To Buy Bantam Chickens?

You can buy bantam chickens for sale at any of your local farm store or major hatchery. Here’s a list of common hatcheries:

 

  • Cackle Hatchery
  • My Pet Chicken
  • Meyer Hatchery
  • Murray McMurray
  • Purely Poultry
  • Stromberg Chickens
  • Ideal Poultry
  • Welp Hatchery
  • Metzer Farms

 

You can also buy them from breeders. A good place to find them is in Facebook groups or breed associations.

Are Bantam Chickens Good Egg Layers?

Yes, some are, and some aren’t (like all types of chickens). You can see the chart below for which bantams are good egg layers. The best egg laying bantams lay at least 200 eggs a year, so it’s best to keep these breeds, if you’re keeping them just for the eggs. It’s also important to remember that Silkies usually lay smaller eggs than their full-sized chicken counterparts. Many of these breeds also go broody often, and when birds are broody they temporarily cease laying.

 

Breed Eggs laid per year Egg color
Belgian Bantam 150 Off white
Frizzle 200 Brown or white
Pekin 80
Araucana 280 Blue
Naked Neck 200 Brown
Dutch Bantam 200 Cream
Japanese Bantam 50 Cream
Brahma 200+ Brown
Sebright 80 White
Silkie 100 Cream
Serama 160 Cream
Barbu d’Uccle 200 Cream
Polish 150 Cream
Easter Egger 300 Brown, blue, green, or pink
Cochin 200+ Brown

 

What Does Bantam Chicken Mean?

The term “bantam” is a size characterization for chickens – bantams are smaller variations of larger chicken breeds, or have been developed as a separate breed. According to Dictionary.com, this size of chicken was named after the province of Bantam in Java. The word itself comes from the Indonesian word “Ayam kate,” and refers to any small variety of fowl, especially chickens. Since most large chicken breeds have a bantam counterpart, they are sometimes referred to as a miniature.

 

Are Bantam Chickens Friendly?

Most bantam breeds are friendly because they’ve been bred as companion or ornamental chickens (which is why bantams are great for children). However, there are some breeds that are more likely to be skittish. Like other animals, any chicken or bantam that’s not handled regularly, can become skittish. If you spend time with your bantams and give them treats, they’ll be very friendly to their humans, and enjoy your company.

 

How Big Do Bantam Chickens Get?

The size of a bantam depends on breed, diet, and the individual animal. Some types of bantam chickens will only be about 8 inches tall (Sebrights and Seramas are examples), while other breeds might be closer to a foot. The smallest bantam breed in the world are Seramas.

 

What Are Bantam Chickens Used For?

Many people keep bantams as pets, because of their friendly natures. You can also keep them for eggs, although their eggs are smaller, and they don’t lay eggs as well as some full sized chicken breeds. They’re great pets for children, since most bantams enjoy human company and being held. Many people also keep bantams as FFA or 4H projects, or to show in competition.

 

How Much Room Do Bantam Chickens Need?

The perfect bantam chicken coop offers 4 square feet per chicken will be adequate enough if they also have a run. Make sure your flock has enough room, otherwise they might become stressed or develop bad habits, like feather picking. You can read about how to build a coop here, which chicken wire is best for a run, and what your coop should include here.

How Long Does A Bantam Chicken Live?

Bantam chickens can live for between 4 to 8 years depending on the breed and how well they are cared for, just like any other chicken. Some bantams live 13 years. The oldest chicken in the world lived to about 40.

 

What Is The Smallest Breed Of Bantam Chickens?

The smallest breed of bantam chicken is the Malaysian Serama. It weighs in at about 1 pound and is only around 9 inches tall.

 

Can Bantam Chickens Live With Regular Chickens?

Yes they can. Even though they’re small, most bantam breeds do well with full-sized chickens. They’re not pushovers in the flock, so they aren’t at the bottom of the pecking order. Just make sure your rooster doesn’t over mate with the hens (full size roosters are too big for most bantam breeds), and that you put out extra food and water in case they have a hard time getting a dinner.

 

What Do Bantam Chickens Eat?

When they’re chicks, bantams should eat an 18% protein mash. As adults, they should eat a 16% protein layer feed. You can also feed them treats, such as black soldier fly larvae. You can discover a full list of what bantam chickens can eat here, and a list of alternative feed options here. You can also see the chicken feeders I recommend here.

 

Can Bantam Chickens Fly?

Some can and some can’t. Breeds such as Cochin Bantams fly very well. Silkies, on the other hand, can’t fly at all. They can jump short distances and hop onto objects. It’s important to remember this when building your coop – you need to make sure there’s a place off the ground or your Silkie chickens to sleep, otherwise they might get eaten by a chicken predator.

 

At What Age Do Bantams Start Laying Eggs?

Larger and heavier birds like Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks will start laying on the later side whereas lighter and smaller breeds will start laying sooner. On average, hens will start laying eggs at 6 months of age, depending on the breed.

 

What Color Eggs Do Bantam Chickens Lay?

Bantam chickens can lay eggs of varying color depending on the breed such as brown, blue, green, white,  and so on. You can see the options in the bantam egg color chart below:

 

Breed Eggs laid per year Egg color
Belgian Bantam 150 Off white
Frizzle 200 Brown or white
Pekin 80
Araucana 280 Blue
Naked Neck 200 Brown
Dutch Bantam 200 Cream
Japanese Bantam 50 Cream
Brahma 200+ Brown
Sebright 80 White
Silkie 100 Cream
Serama 160 Cream
Barbu d’Uccle 200 Cream
Polish 150 Cream
Easter Egger 300 Brown, blue, green, or pink
Cochin 200+ Brown

 

Can You Eat Bantam Eggs?

Yes! They’re chicken eggs! Bantam chicken eggs taste the same as any eggs of larger sized chickens. To improve the nutritional value of your bantams’ eggs, you should make sure she has a healthy diet.

 

How Long Do Bantam Chickens Sit On Eggs?

Bantam chickens typically sit on their eggs for 21 days be it a large or small bantam. It takes between 19 and 25 days for bantam eggs to hatch. You can learn about good nesting boxes for broody hens here.

Are Bantam Roosters Aggressive?

Bantam chickens are friendly in nature, however, some breeds can be aggressive when compared to others depending on the bird. Roosters typically don’t attack until they reach puberty and only then if they perceive humans as a threat.

 

Which Bantam Chickens Are The Best Layers?

Easter Egger, Brahma, Cochin, and Dutch bantams lay the most amount of eggs per year (about 200 eggs). You can review the chart below for more information:

 

Breed Eggs laid per year Egg color
Belgian Bantam 150 Off white
Frizzle 200 Brown or white
Pekin 80
Araucana 280 Blue
Naked Neck 200 Brown
Dutch Bantam 200 Cream
Japanese Bantam 50 Cream
Brahma 200+ Brown
Sebright 80 White
Silkie 100 Cream
Serama 160 Cream
Barbu d’Uccle 200 Cream
Polish 150 Cream
Easter Egger 300 Brown, blue, green, or pink
Cochin 200+ Brown

 

How Big Do Bantam Chickens Get?

While it depends on the breed, you can expect your bantam to be between 9 and 12 inches tall. The smallest breed of bantam chicken is the Malaysian Serama. It weighs in at about 1 pound and is only around 9 inches tall. Most bantams weigh between 2-4 pounds. One of the benefits of bantam chickens is they’re small, but if you live in an urban area, it’s best to do a “bantam chicken size comparison” before deciding on the perfect breed for your backyard.

 

Are Bantam Roosters Loud?

They can be. Even though they’re small, bantam roosters still crow. Because of their size, they tend to have “Napoleon syndrome” and forget how small they are – so sometimes, they crow even more than other roosters. Sebright bantams are particularly shrill.

 

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken? Egg Cost Comparison

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken? Egg Cost Comparison

Many beginners wonder “How much does it cost to own a chicken?” And in this article, we’re going to talk specifics about how chicken keeping can effect your wallet.

 

Like many things in life, you can make chicken keeping as expensive or inexpensive as you want.

 

Now, just how much does it cost to own a chicken? It is important to take into account the kinds of things you’ll spend money on and the ongoing costs that come with having a backyard full of fluffy butts.

 

Here’s your “chicken cost calculator” guide!

 

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken?

For 5 chickens:

  • Regular feed typically costs about $30 per month, non-GMO feed about $150 per month
  • A coop can cost from $1 to $2,000
  • Bedding costs about $20 per month
  • Feeders & waterers cost about $5 each
  • Baby chicks cost about $5, adult chickens cost $1 to $30 on average

 

You can read more about the bedding I recommend here.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Chicken?

Buying a baby chicken can cost anything from a few cents to hundreds of dollars (for purebred breeding-quality chickens). On average, though baby chicks should cost less than $5 for most chicken breeds. The specific cost depends on a variety of factors, such as the sex of the chicken (females usually cost more than males), how rare the breed is (rare breeds cost more), and if it is a hybrid chicken (like an Easter Egger). Started pullets, which are young female chickens that are about 4 weeks old,, cost on average $15 to $25 each. Laying hens can cost anywhere from $10 (for mixed breeds) to $100 (purebred from a hatchery). Certain breeds, like the all black chicken Ayam Cemani, can cost up to $5,000!

 

  • Baby chicks: Starting at $1, averaging about $5
  • Started pullets (4 weeks – 16 weeks): About $15 – $25
  • Laying Hens: About $10 to $100, depending on breed

 

Here’s where to buy baby chicks and started pullets. If you only want female chickens (pullets), then learn how to sex baby chicks here. Layers are easiest to buy in your local area.

How Much Does A Pullet Cost?

It depends on the breed, but started pullets are on average around $15 to $25, although this amount varies by location. If you purchase one from a hatchery, you will also need to pay shipping. It’s typically best to buy a started pullet in your local area.

 

How Do You Get Chickens In Your Backyard?

To start raising chickens in your backyard, first make sure you can have chickens! Otherwise, you might have a nasty surprise visit from your city/town officials, and, heartbreakingly, you might have to re-home your flock. If you’re sure it’s okay to have chickens, you will need to make sure all their basic necessities such as the coop (or brooder, if they’re chicks), feed, water, and etc are covered. You can learn more about what backyard chickens need here.  You can also find out where to buy baby chicks here.

 

If you want to hatch chicks from eggs (you can get eggs from a local dealer – just make sure the flock has a rooster), you’ll need an incubator, You can read about the best incubators I recommend here, and my favorite incubator here.

 

Where Can I Buy Egg Laying Chickens?

You can buy egg laying chickens at a hatchery, your local farm store (like Tractor Supply, Orschelns, Southern States, or Rural King, depending on your region), or from a local breeder. To find a local breeder, it’s best to ask at farm stores in your area, or look on Facebook for groups. If you want a specific breed, you can search Facebook for breeder groups. If you plan to use a hatchery, choose one near you – the chicks will be shipped overnight or 2 day priority. A hatchery close to you means the chicks will have less time in transit.

 

Here’s a list of recommended hatcheries that will ship chicks to you:

 

  • Cackle Hatchery (this is the hatchery I personally use)
  • Murray McMurray
  • Meyer Hatchery
  • Ideal Hatchery
  • My Pet Chicken
  • Stromberg’s Chicks
  • Freedom Ranger Hatchery

 

When purchasing chicks from a local farm store, be sure to note the welfare of the chicks – if they don’t look healthy, or their crates don’t look clean, DO NOT BUY!!

 

Feeding Chickens

How much does it cost to feed a chicken per month?

On average, it costs $0.15 to feed your chickens per day, with organic feed costing at around $0.60 per pound. For a flock of 5 chickens, you will likely spend less than $30 a month, if you feed a 16% layer feed found at local farm stores. For organic feed, you will spend more – about $150 per month. If you feed treats like black soldier fly larvae or mixed treats like BEE A Happy Hen (which is really popular), you need to factor those costs in as well. However, it doesn’t pay to be cheap – chickens are living creatures, and you will need to feed them well so they lay healthy eggs for you. I have a list of what chickens can eat here.

 

How much should I feed a chicken?

The amount to feed a chicken varies, however, on average, 1 chicken needs about ½ – 1 cup of feed daily. You can free feed your chickens (you can use one of the chicken feeders I recommend here) or put a meal out for them daily. Check their weight and general health frequently, and increase their feed if they need it. If you see them wasting a lot of feed, then decrease the amount you’re putting out for them (or use a no-waste chicken feeder).

 

Do chickens need herbal supplements?

While not strictly necessary, you can offer your flock herbal supplements (such as nesting herbs, or mixing herbs in their feed) to ensure that they will be at their optimum health – and a healthy immune system will protect them against common diseases. Remember that treating unhealthy chickens can impact your wallet and result in a lost flock member.

 

How much does a free range chicken cost?

If you plan to free range your chickens, you can save some money on their feed. However, it’s still advisable to feed them a 16% layer feed. For a flock of 5 chickens, you will likely spend less than $30 a month, if you feed a 16% layer feed found at local farm stores. If you want to feed your hens non-GMO feed, it typically costs about $150 per month. If you feed treats like black soldier fly larvae or mixed treats like PowerHen, you need to factor those costs in as well. If you want your chickens to lay eggs for you, then you’ll need to feed them well. Free range chickens might not get all the nutrients they need, or they might eat stuff that effects the nutritional value of their eggs. I have a list of what chickens can eat here. You can find a list of alternative feeds for chickens here, if you really don’t want to purchase chicken feed.

 

Buying Eggs vs. Keeping Chickens

Is it cheaper to have chickens or buy eggs?

If you simply want to save money, it’s cheapest to buy your eggs from a grocery store or allow your own flock to free range permanently. However, there’s other issues with both of those options. For starters, the industrial egg industry, being concerned with profits, typically does not provide their chickens with healthy, happy lives and there’s multiple animal welfare issues. Many of these chickens are killed or otherwise disposed of after 12 – 18 months. They’re usually confined to cages or very crowded living conditions. In some cases, they’re given antibiotics continuously, which does show up in their eggs. The quality of the eggs is poor. If you’re conscious of your food sources, or an animal lover, consider raising chickens yourself or getting your eggs from a local supplier, where you can be sure the animals are treated with respect.

 

Chickens that free range permanently tend to have happier lives than chickens that are kept by the egg industry. However, they tend to hide their eggs (which defeats the purpose of raising them for eggs), or stop laying eggs altogether. They might also become flighty, since they have to fend for themselves (since free range chickens aren’t typically provided secure coops and runs) against chicken predators.

 

Another option is to allow your chickens to feed off your compost pile, develop a mealworm breeding farm, or raise black soldier fly larvae (which can also feed off your compost pile). During spring, summer, and fall months, you can provide some type of free feed to your hens (through your compost pile) but the nutritional value of your eggs isn’t guaranteed, nor is the health of your flock.

 

Remember that once you have an established flock, keeping chickens is a relatively low cost because unlike other pets you can greatly profit from them since they produce food for you.

 

How many eggs does a chicken lay a day?

Chickens lay only one egg per day (unless they’ve laid an egg inside an egg – then technically, they’ve laid two. You can read more about abnormal eggs here.) Remember that there will be some days where they won’t lay eggs at all since a hen’s body take 24 – 26 hours to fully form one egg.

 

Chicken Coop Costs

How much does a chicken coop cost?

The chicken coop cost is typically around $200 to $2000 if you buy them from Amazon or another store.  You can build your own chicken coop for around $100 or less (for a very simple structure) or, if you can find pallets, you can build it for the cost of nails. You can find 55+ free chicken coop plans here and a list of free pallet barn plans here. You can also find a list of what your coop should include here. You can find reviews of different chicken wire options here.

 

These are the coops on Amazon that we recommend:

 

Is it cheaper to buy a coop or build one?

It depends primarily on the materials you use and the features your coop will have. Many low cost coops (around $200 – $300) are very cheap and will break after 1 or 2 years, regardless of what the manufacturer promises. In the long run, it’s cheaper to invest in a good coop or garden shed (that can be converted into a coop) or to build a coop yourself with good quality materials.

 

Remember that if you purchase a garden shed and convert it into a coop, you can always convert it back into a garden shed if you decide chickens aren’t for you – so this makes buying a good quality building worth the investment and it might increase your property value.

 

Keeping Chickens For Beginners

What are the best chickens for beginners?

Here’s a list of champion egg laying chicken breeds:

  • Cochins
  • Delaware
  • Easter Eggers
  • Jersey Giants
  • Marans
  • Rhode Island Reds

 

You can also read about more chicken breeds here.

 

Cochins

Cochins are a lot of fun to own because they’re hardy, lay brown eggs consistently, and enjoy human company. You can get a full-sized cochin or the bantam variety – and both have feathered feet! The bantams will eat less but will also lay smaller eggs. You can read about cochin chickens here.

Delaware

Delawares are excellent laying chickens that can produce up to 5 brown eggs per week. They’re cold hardy, distinctive looking, and friendly.

 

Easter Eggers

Great for beginners because they lay consistently of about 250 eggs per year – and you might even get blue eggs! (Or green, or pink…..it just depends on the genetics of the individual hen.) You can read more about Easter Eggers here and other blue egg laying breeds here. If you definitely want blue eggs, you can learn about Ameraucanas here and Araucanas here.

 

Jersey Giants

Jersey Giants are a heritage chicken breed, and also one of the largest purebred chickens in the United States. They’re great egg layers producing at around 200 eggs per year.

 

Marans

Marans are pretty quiet, disease-resistant, and are cold-hardy chickens that don’t require a lot of work. The hens lay chocolate-colored eggs (although how dark they are will depend on the individual chicken). They’re great layers producing approximately 250 per year.

 

Rhode Island Reds

Rhode Island Reds are another heritage chicken breed that’s pretty popular. They require little care (except for food, water, a clean coop, and vet care), but lay large brown eggs 4-5 times a week.

 

Is it hard to raise chickens for eggs?

No, but like any other pet, you need to ensure they’re safe, have access to food and water, and a clean home. They’re easier than dogs or cats because they can feed and water themselves (as long as you use a gravity feeder or a DIY chicken waterer that allows them to free-feed). And unlike dogs or cats, they don’t need to be let in and out of the house constantly.

 

It you’re concerned about the work, it’s best to start with 3 hens, and a small coop. You can always expand and build a bigger coop later. Chickens will produce eggs if they feel they are protected and are in a healthy and spacious environment. As long as you provide this, they should prove no trouble to raise for eggs.

 

Selling Chickens & Eggs for Profit

How much is a live chicken worth?

A live chicken will on average cost around $3 to $30 depending on the breed and age of the chicken. Here’s some general guidelines:

 

  • Baby chicks: Starting at $1, averaging about $5
  • Started pullets (4 weeks – 16 weeks): About $15 – $25
  • Laying Hens: About $10 to $100, depending on breed

 

How much is a full grown chicken worth?

A full grown chicken can cost at around $1 to $5,000 depending on the breed and sex of the bird. Barnyard mixes (chickens of unknown lineage) can cost $1 while prized breeds like Ayam Cemani can cost $5,000. Age is also a factor: hens that come from the egg laying industry might be 12 months old, but cost $1. Older hens might be less (or even free), while chicks that are 6 months old (so, just starting to lay eggs) might cost more because they have a lot of egg laying year left. So, best to do your research first in locking down your ideal bird, then calculate how much does it cost to own a chicken for your area.

 

Can I make money from eggs?

POssibly. This will depend on a variety of factors, including how much it costs to raise your chickens, what your chickens eat, and how much people will pay for eggs in your area. If you only sell a dozen eggs for $1, then it’s harder to turn a profit. But if you sell your eggs for $6 a dozen, then you’ll make money, as long as your chickens cost less than $6 to feed. It’s best to write a detailed spreadsheet of expenses, then base your cost per dozen eggs off that.

 

How much are baby chicks worth?

The average baby chick sells for $5, depending on the breed. Purebred and unusual breeds will sell for more (maybe $7 – $10), while mixed breeds will sell for $1 or $2. Chicks over 1 week typically sell for less, also (since farm stores don’t want to keep them longer than 1 – 2 weeks). If you’re planning to hatch eggs yourself, then you will want to sell the chicks “straight run,” and tell buyers you aren’t sure whether the chicks are hens or roosters. You’ll need to decide whether you’ll sell purebred or a hybrid chicken. Cost of a baby chick varies based on these factors.

 

Can I sell chicken feathers?

Yes, you can sell chicken feathers – there are even special birds bred for their feathers. Many chicken owners sell feathers on Ebay or Etsy. Feathers are usually sold by the pound.

 

Do you still wonder “How much does it cost to own a chicken?” Do you think chicken-keeping is for you?