Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Personality Traits Shared By Chicken Enthusiasts Everywhere

Personality Traits Shared By Chicken Enthusiasts Everywhere

Do you own a chicken or are thinking about setting up a coop for the first time? Those who own and rear chickens on a small-scale urban or suburban setting are a mixed bag of personalities and unique characteristics. However, there are some personality traits all chicken owners share.

They dare to be different.

More than 50 billion chickens are reared each year globally, but the majority of them are kept by food producers or farmers for commercial purposes. Likewise, the Urban Chicken Movement may mean more coops in more backyards these days, but chicken rearing on a small scale by a single household is still a novelty in a lot of places. You may be the only household in your neighborhood keeping chickens. You may also have some strange reactions, particularly if you have a landlord (it’s a good idea to check and make sure it’s with her/him before buying, as landlord insurance may be a factor). Friends may be forthcoming with their opinions about your new pastime and, if you choose a breed of ornamental chicken such as our silkies, then you may have to listen to comments as people marvel over how incredible they look. When you begin raising chickens for the first time, this may be unchartered water. Remember though that you may be unique in your neighborhood or town, but you will be joining a community of chicken enthusiasts who just like you, are willing to try something different.

They’re a choosy bunch.

Rearing chickens means finding the breed of chicken that is right for you and your purposes. If you have young children, rearing a more docile breed is sometimes recommended. Through hand feeding, chickens kept as pets may be tamed. Roosters, however, are known to become aggressive and noisy without the proper handling. Silkies and many bantam varieties are among the more docile breeds for families with young children or a disabled person. Make sure to choose the right breed for you and your particular needs.

Chicken owners must be quite choosy about how they raise their chickens and, in particular, what they feed them. Some kinds of food are preferred for eating, while others will be good fodder for playing. One food that is recommended for instigating play in the pen is orange peels because the peels are too tough for them to eat, but won’t harm them. Be sure to get information from your breeder on what foods are good for food and good for playing with.

They’re proud.

Chicken owners have reason to strut.  Every chicken may lay claim to a long, illustrious history steeped in mythological and religious meaning. For example, in central Europe, a cock could ward off the devil with its crowing. In ancient Greece, chickens were rare and were a rather prestigious food for meetings. They even believed that cocks could scare off lions with its crowing. In Rome, the flying and feeding of chickens were signs for oracles. Also, in the Hebrew text, the Talmud, there is reference of learning to be courteous to one’s mate, a lesson courtesy of the rooster, who calls his hen when he finds something good to eat. In today’s culture they may not be the most celebrated of birds, but we should not be offended if someone calls us “chicken”. In fact, we should feel quite proud.

They’re health-conscious.

Though there is a lot of buzz surrounding egg labeling on certain raising methods such as free range, the labeling system results in some misconceptions. For example, free range does not mean that the hens that produced the eggs were fed differently from hens on normal commercial farms. The hens may have been fed animal-derived byproducts or GMO crops, just as on any other farm. The ones that receive superior grain and feed are usually labeled organic, which is the main reason organic eggs cost more. Since you control what your hens eat, you can have peace of mind that you are consuming the eggs borne of healthy, non-toxic feed. These eggs, though they may not always vary in taste from normal eggs, will certainly be healthier.

At approximately 75 calories each, eggs are relatively low in calories, with the yolk of a large egg containing approximately 60 calories and the egg white containing about 15. Chicken eggs are a rich source of protein, supplying all essential amino acids for humans and providing several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A and B, folic acid,,calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Truly incredible as well is the fact that the egg is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D.

If you are a health-conscious, proud, choosy individualist then rearing your own chickens is probably going to be a good pastime for you. You will never know, though, unless you try it for yourself.