7 common chicken questions
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Question: How old are chickens when they begin to lay eggs?
Answer: Under optimum conditions; good nutrition, ideal day length, adequate housing and good management practices, most layers should begin egg production at about 20-22 weeks of age.Date Published: June 26, 2015Date Updated: October 23, 2015
Question: How long do chickens live?
Answer: Chickens in small flocks live several years if conditions are correct. A life span of 6-8 years may not be unreasonable.Date Published: June 26, 2015Date Updated: October 23, 2015
Question: What should chickens be fed?
Answer: Commercial rations will usually produce the best results from all types of poultry. A ration designed specifically for a particular type of bird should always be used (ie. layer ration for layers, broiler ration for broilers, etc.).
The commercial ration should not be supplemented with scratch, corn or table scraps because the birds will not be eating a balanced diet.Date Published: June 26, 2015Date Updated: October 23, 2015
Question: What are certified egg production flocks?
Answer: Certified egg production flocks are those flocks that comply with the guidelines established by the United Egg Producers organization. To be certified, flocks must meet requirements in housing and cage space allowance, beak trimming, molting, transportation and handling.Date Published: June 26, 2015Date Updated: October 23, 2015
Question: Are chickens in cages being abused?
Answer: Housing chickens in cages does not abuse them. The egg producer does not intentionally abuse chickens because the birds will not be healthy and happy and good egg producers. The formentioned certification program is designed to increase cage space and modify other production practices that may be in question.
Research has shown that keeping hens in cages actually may be less stressful since there is less competition and interaction with other more aggressive birds.Date Published: June 26, 2015Date Updated: October 23, 2015
Question: What are designer eggs, free range eggs, etc?
Answer: Designer eggs are those eggs produced by flocks of chickens which have been fed special diets in an attempt to modify the nutrition of the eggs they produce. Consumers should be well informed about the differences in these eggs and all other eggs when making purchasing decisions.
Free range eggs are produced by flocks of chickens which are not confined in cages. The chickens may be raised on the floor of a poultry house or they may be allowed to roam around outside.
Yolks of free range eggs may be darker because of the chicken’s eating foods that contain more carotenoid pigments (green grass, yellow corn, etc.).Date Published: June 26, 2015Date Updated: October 23, 2015
Question: How long will eggs keep?
Answer: If eggs are properly refrigerated they should remain usable for several weeks. Most eggs have a 4 week expiration date on the carton. That means they may be sold up to four weeks after they are placed in the carton and the consumer will still have plenty of time to use them.
Keeping eggs in the carton in the refrigerator will extend the shelf life. Keeping eggs at a temperature below 40° F, but above freezing and at a high humidity is the ideal way to maximize the shelf life.
For more information, visit the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University.Date Published: June 26, 2015Date Updated: October 23, 2015
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