Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Four Chicken Myths Busted

Gallus domesticus is a bird with a bad reputation — a reputation it doesn't deserve.

Chicks in soft light with blue background

Photo: ukalipt (Flickr)

Look at that little guy! Isn't your heart just melting?

They’re Coming!

A sign in the farm supply store says chicks will be arriving this week!

What could be cuter than a bunch of cheeping fluff balls running around? They’re really pretty irresistible.

But if hearsay about raising poultry has dissuaded you from bringing home a few of these little bundles of joy in years past, read on. This myth-busting post will change the way you think about chickens.  

Myth #1: You Need A Rooster For Your Hens To Have Eggs

This one is totally wrong — hens produce eggs whether a male is around or not. In fact, most hens will lay better without a rooster around to bother them all the time!

Really the only time you need a rooster is when you want to increase your brood by hatching chicks of your own.

Close up chicken head

Photo: Yndra (Flickr)

Sorry Chanticleer, your services are not required.

Myth #2: Chickens Attract Predators

This one is often peddled by people opposed to allowing chickens inside city limits. But predators and scavengers like raccoons, coyotes and hawks are just as interested in mice, squirrels, rabbits and garbage as they are in chickens.

If you lock your birds up at night and take care to store their feed in a secure container, hungry animals will look elsewhere.

raccoon gritting teeth

Photo: alasam (Flickr)

If you don't give pesky critters a reason to come around, they won't.

Myth #3: Brown Eggs Are Better Than White

I know this will disappoint many brown-egg aficionados, but the only difference between a brown, a white or even a blue egg is shell color.

The way a particular egg tastes is actually tied to what the hen that laid it was eating. A diet rich in greens, bugs and other nutritious morsels is what is going to make your omelets more flavorful.

4 eggs of different color

Photo: jronaldlee (Flickr)

Eggs come in a variety of sizes, shapes and hues. The white ones you find in stores come from a particular kind of hen that's bred to be productive.

Myth #4: Chickens Are Noisy And Smelly

Actually this is two myths combined. People just tend to lump them together.

Let’s start with the noise. Though roosters can make quite a racket at certain times of the day, hens are generally pretty quiet, mostly just clucking softly.

A hen might yodel a bit after she’s laid an egg, but heck, wouldn’t you? My dogs are much louder than my chickens for sure.

rooster crowing face close-p

Photo: John Schneider (Flickr)

High-volume crowing is another reason you might opt not to keep roosters around.

What about smelly? Any animal’s waste, if not cleaned up regularly, isn’t going to smell good. But having four to six hens in your backyard isn’t going to be any worse than if you had some other pet.

If you maintain your coop and keep it dry, you won’t have problems. (The pine shavings I put down after cleaning sessions even smell kind of nice.)

Now You Know

As you can see, there is a lot of misinformation out there about chickens. They’ve gotten a bad rap for some reason — but now you know better.

Then what are you waiting for? Head down to your nearest farm supply store and say hello to those cheeping fluff balls.

Good luck leaving empty handed!

Jana Wilson

Jana Wilson lives on 20 acres just outside of Bloomington, IN and writes her blog, The Armchair Homesteader. In addition to the chickens, she has ducks and a border collie named Winnie who helps her with her various efforts at becoming more self-sufficient.

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