The A- Z of Chickens

A is for araucana, a breed of chicken from South America which lays blue/green eggs and has a beard under its chin.

B is for broody, when a hen gets the unwavering urge to hatch eggs.

C is for coop. All hens need somewhere to live.

D is for development. Chicks grow at an alarming rate. Some commercial breeds can go from egg to being table ready in just 12 weeks.

E is for egg. Either for hatching or eating, eggs really are a marvel.

F is for feathers. Chickens usually have loads of them. Some are really pretty and some breeds are more like fur than feathers.

G is for gizzard which is part of a bird’s stomach used for grinding food. Chickens need a constant supply of grit if they can’t find it naturally to aid digestion of food.

H is for hen, the name is technically used to refer to a female chicken who is over one year old.

I is for incubator. The place where you can ratify ally hatch eggs.

J is for jelly eggs. Sometimes a hen will lay an egg with a really soft shell which has the appearance of jelly. This is completely normal and they usually lay a normal egg the next time.

K is for knitted jackets. Some people put little coats on their hens when they moult. While they may look cute, it really isn’t necessary. Hens are made to cope until their feathers grow back.

L is for layers pellets or layers mash-the most common food fed to chickens in the UK.

M is for moult which happens when a chicken is about a year old.

N is for naughty. As we drive into the farm, the children quite often shout ‘naughty chicken’ when they see that they have escaped from their field. It is nice for them to free range though and, the grass really is always greener.

O is for omnivore. Chickens are naturally omnivores. They will peck at anything and, given then chance, eat slugs, snails and even mice.

P is for pullet. The term used to describe a female under a year old.

Q is for quick. Chickens can run so fast. Especially if they are some way away and see you come with their food. Often it is half run half wing flap but it is so funny to watch.

R is for red mite, the most common pest to affect chickens. They swarm in the coop and it takes a lot of disinfecting to get rid of them. You can see if you’ve got them best by shining a torch in the coop at night and birds will be more reluctant to go to bed at night.

S is for silkie, a fluffy little breed of chicken which are one of my favourites.

T is for treats. Meal worms, pumpkins, melon, hens will eat anything but these are our chicken’s favourites.

U is for under the head hen. Pecking order is real and every flock has a head hen or too which the others all come under.

V is for vorwerk, a breed of chicken which originates in Germany.

W is for wattles. The red bit under a chicken’s beak. They are more prominent in cockerels but tend to mean healthy birds in both sexes.

X is for xylophone. There was a video doing the rounds on social media of chickens playing a xylophone so I had a go with ours. They weren’t quite as successful but it was still funny.

Y is for yelling. Whether it’s a danger warning, excitement about food coming or letting the world know they have laid an egg, hens are a very noisy creature and so, so comical.

Z is for zzz aka sleeping. When a hen sleeps, they go into some sort of natural coma until the morning. This is the best time to move them but also why they are such easy targets for predators.

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