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Common Chicken Myths

  1. cluckcluckgirl
    When I first started raising chickens, I had to do some research. Being new to chickens, I didn't exactly know what was or wasn't true. Did I really need a rooster for eggs? What is the health difference in different colored eggs? Am I eating a potential chick each time I eat the egg's yolk? There are so many myths about nearly everything in the world, and chickens definitely have many myths roaming around about them too. But what I find to be so amazing is that I actually believed most of these myths before owning chickens! So for the past 3 1/2 years, I've been reading and reading about chickens, and I can answer some of those myths.

    Your hens won't lay without a rooster...

    This is probably one of the biggest myths I've come across. A hen will lay an egg regardless of rooster presence. A rooster is needed to fertilize eggs, but not to force the hen to lay them.

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    Fertile eggs are bad to eat...

    As long as the embryo hasn't developed, the egg is fine to eat. The only difference is that egg had the potential to become a chick, but if it wasn't under the right conditions to hatch, nothing is in there but breakfast. They taste the same and have no health effects.

    Chickens are vegetarians...

    When I was a young kid, I remember watching cartoons where a flock of chickens would try to get a worm. My flock will do the same thing. They dash over as I point out an ant, spider, worm, or any other bug. Yes, chickens do enjoy some nice veggies, but it's in their instinct to forage for bugs.

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    Green and blue eggs are lower in cholesterol...

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    After I got my first Easter Eggers, I wanted to know more about that. Are they really lower in cholesterol? I came across an article specifically about green and blue egg laying breeds, and it was the answer to my question: they are not significantly lower in cholesterol than any other egg. The cholesterol level in an egg is actually dependent on diet and the hen's individual body. So while studies will show different cholesterol levels in different eggs, it's not significant enough to confirm this myth.

    Spur bumps mean roosters...

    Hens can actually acquire a few rooster traits. Some hens may crow, and some can grow spur bumps. If you're trying to sex some chicks, checking for spur bumps is not an accurate way.

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    Eggs need to be refrigerated...

    The eggs you see in the store are refrigerated, so they must need to be, right? Wrong. An egg is laid with a natural coating, called the bloom, that protects the egg from bacteria. An egg can be stored at room temperature for up to a month and still be fine to eat if the bloom has not been washed off. Once the bloom has been washed off with water, the egg will need to be refrigerated in order to stay fresh.

    Farm fresh eggs mean that they're dirtier than store bought eggs...

    Since the bloom has been washed off many eggs you can buy at the store, the eggs are susceptible to bacteria. If the hens are kept in a good environment and the eggs are handled properly, farm fresh eggs can actually be cleaner.

    Chickens are just birdbrains...

    I'll admit it, I thought this exact thing before we owned chickens. There seems to be so much misleading information that chickens aren't very smart and are kept only for eggs. In reality, chickens can be trained to do certain tasks like hop on your lap and go in at night. Chickens will also associate certain objects with certain things (for example, a food scoop with food). Just as a dog will start to get anxious if you pick up his food bowl, my chickens get anxious when I pick up their food scoop.

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    Eggs with blood/meat spots aren't good to eat

    This is a very common myth and in reality, the eggs are fine to eat. The blood/meat spot was just accidentally added to the egg when the hen's body was developing it, but it does not make it inedible.

    Chickens are solely used for eggs and meat

    Yes, chickens are used for eggs and meat, but they have so many purposes besides that! Some people buy them as pets, some for stress relief, but everyone has their own reason. There are countless reasons for someone to get chickens and to say that they are used for eggs and meat is only the tip of the iceberg.

    The yolk of an egg turns into the chick

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    I believed this prior to owning and researching chickens. I never would have thought otherwise. As it turns out, the yolk is not the potential chick, but rather it is the chick's first source of food. The white spot on the yolk, also known as the blastoderm, is what has the potential to be the chick if fertilized by a rooster. The chick absorbs the yolk as a food source shortly before it hatches.


    The elongated eggs are from roosters

    As crazy as that may sound, I have heard this myth before. These eggs are like all other eggs in their origin- a hen. Roosters do not have the 'equipment' to lay eggs. Another myth regarding the elongated eggs is that they will be roosters if hatched. That is also not true because the egg will not change shape for the sex of a chick.

    Ameraucanas or Easter Eggers???

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    (This is one of my Easter Eggers)

    This is a very common mistake. Many hatcheries will advertise chicks as "Ameraucanas" when they are in fact a mutt breed carrying the blue/green egg gene, called an Easter Egger. True Ameraucanas are rare, but Easter Eggers are very common. There is no breed standard for Easter Eggers (because they are basically mutts) unlike Ameraucanas, who have breed standards.

    You can't hatch double-yolkers

    While the odds of hatching a double yolker are low, it is still possible. I read stories on this wonderful site of many people who have done it. Complications may arise when the chicks are trying to hatch, but it can be done.

    And one of the biggest mistakes

    "Once you've had chickens for a while, you stop learning". No. That is something I kind of wish were true so that I could easily identify anything relating to chickens (illness, breed, gender, behavior, etc.) Chicken keeping is like life- no matter how long you've been in it you never stop learning. It's good to continue to learn and that is why I say I only kind of wish to know everything past a certain time of chicken keeping.

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  1. BaileyMChicks
    I like the myth about the long eggs being from roosters. If that were true then my buff orpington would have to be a rooster, because thats the only shape of egg she lays. They are fairly long and a bit skinnier than my other hens' eggs. My mottled houdan also lays longer, thinner eggs.
  2. Mountain Peeps
  3. cluckcluckgirl
    Thank you! I just entered it. :)
  4. Mountain Peeps

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