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St. Louis, MO 63117
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chicken2007-235.JPGWe keep chickens. We have a chicken coop in the backyard with a dozen Buff Orpington hens. They have beautiful reddish-brown feathers and a sweet disposition. Their egg shells are brown and the yolk an intense yellow color because of the corn in their feed. Generally, a chicken lays an egg a day and will continue to lay for about three years. We eat the eggs, not the chickens, especially since the meat on old chickens is tough.

We do not have any useless roosters, since their noise level makes them unneighborly pets. Unless you are interested in breeding chickens, the rooster is not necessary. So our eggs are unfertilized. (Females do not need males to produce eggs.)

This morning all of our chickens died, cause unknown.

5 Comments for “The Chicken and the Egg”  

  1. Mia

    I am sorry to hear that you lost all of your chickens. There were no clues as to why they died?

  2. Noel

    How sad! Please keep us informed if you find out why they died.

  3. Anne

    Thank you for your comments. We are having their feed tested. Since all the birds died simultaneously, we suspect a toxin, not a disease. The suspect is aflatoxin fungus, which appears in moldy food. In 1960, all the turkeys in England died from alflatoxin in their feed, which contained contaminated peanut butter.

  4. Carol J

    Hi, At what age does this hen become too old to eat? Are we talking 6 months to 1 year or closer to 3-4 years old? Ours are 16 months old now. Sorry to hear that you lost your hens.

  5. Anne

    We do not eat our hens, because we keep them for eggs and they lay eggs for four years. But many people do eat older chickens and find the meat more flavorful. I suggest cooking older chickens in liquid (stock or wine) for a longer period of time, so that the meat tenderizes. I do not suggest the high, dry method of cooking for older chicken meat. At the supermarket, I like to get chickens that weigh four pounds, which is about 6 months old.

    As for our chickens, we now have seven live buff orpington hens that are laying eggs. We never figured out what killed our chickens, but the toxin must have been very strong. We replaced all the dirt in the coop. Unfortunately, very natural causes got our next batch of chickens: the fox got into the hen house and feasted. I think the fox would have eaten the chickens at any age. But we did repair the sly hole in the chicken wire that the fox had made.