Day 4 – Five Odd Questions About Poultry

I like Holly Spangler’s idea of posting short lists… so today’s post is a list of five questions we’ve been asked about our eggs and poultry.

1. Do you need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs?

We get asked this question all the time, so in case you have been wondering but were too shy to ask, the answer is no. Hens happily lay eggs even when there is no rooster around. If you want your eggs to hatch out chicks, that’s a different matter.

Chicken Eggs

Most grocery store eggs are either brown or white, but chicken eggs come in a range of colours. We find eggs that are pale blue, green, creamy-coloured, dark brown, pale brown, speckled, and plain. They also vary widely in size and shape depending on the particular breed of chicken, age of the hen, and season. Yolk colour also varies and ranges from yellow to deep orange to almost red. Yolk variations are most dramatic in response to changing fruits and vegetables we feed to supplement the birds’ standard diet of pasture and grain.

2. How long is a turkey pregnant?

Errr… turkeys don’t get pregnant, nor do they suckle their young. They lay eggs like other birds. It takes them about 28 days of incubation to hatch out a clutch. That’s shorter than our ducks and longer than the chickens.

3. Can you eat turkey eggs?

Absolutely. They are delicious! After we’ve collected enough eggs to incubate and hatch out for holiday birds we eat the rest of the eggs laid that season. Though, as our customers learn how good our turkey eggs are (and, how large – they are about double the size of a decent-sized chicken egg) we are finding we have fewer and fewer left for our fridge!

4. Can you cross a duck and a chicken?

Not any more successfully than you could cross a cat and a dog. Though, our rooster Wimpy is a bit in love with one of our Muscovy ducks and has certainly been trying to pull this off.

5. Does the rooster fertilize the eggs externally?

The asker did not clarify exactly how this was supposed to happen, but I can only imagine he was thinking about how our local salmon do this. Ever since, I have been keeping an eye open for our rooster stalking around the orchard looking for unattended nests so he could… err… squat and sprinkle.

The serious answer is ‘no.’ Chicken reproduction occurs internally. I won’t go into further detail as this is a family-friendly blog, but if you are curious, this website has a lot of excellent information about how all that works…

Interested in learning who else is participating in the 30 days blog-a-thon or the five things Holly Spangler will be talking about all month long? Head over to Prairie Farmer to find out!

4 responses to “Day 4 – Five Odd Questions About Poultry

  1. OK, I have been keeping chickens for more than a decade, and I’ve had some weird questions, but number 5 is my all time favourite…if people could just think for a minute before they actually utter the words…but then we wouldn’t get such a chuckle, I guess.


    • I try really hard to be respectful and kind when I answer questions (reminding myself there really are no dumb questions), but this one really challenged my ability to keep a straight face while I groped around for an answer that wouldn’t make the person feel too bad. I must say that it has made answering subsequent questions a bit easier because really, not too many top that!


  2. Dude. Wimpy sounds like he has “issues!”. I love it! (purrs)!



  3. I love your blog and your farm! Fabulous! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and following! It’s much appreciated and I welcome your comments when you visit! Blessings, Robyn


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