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Grown Here at Home: Facts about chickens you probably don’t know

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 7:39 AM EDT
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MONTVALE, Va. (WDBJ) - Wingstem Farm in Montvale has more than 60 chickens. They raise them for their eggs.

“They’re out all day on forage. We found that even if we keep the vegetation sort of large there are a lot more bugs, so you get orange yolks,” said Lexi Rojahn of Wingstem Farm.

Usually the chickens will produce over two dozen eggs a day, right now it’s about 10. That’s because this time of year, they’re molting.

“They lose their old feathers and the calcium that would normally go into forming an egg shell is actually bound up trying to produce more feathers to keep them warm for the winter. Egg laying is also tied to the number of daylight hours. People think it’s because of the cold that they slow down, but it’s actually the lack of daylight hours. So, after winter solstice, at the end of December and into January, when the daylight hours are noticeably longer, even though it’s colder than it was before, they will actually pick up laying," Lexi explained.

A question many people have is, which eggs are just for eating, and which will produce a chicken?

“If you have a rooster, all the eggs are probably potentially fertilized. So, it’s a matter of development. If there’s been a rooster in with them the egg has been fertilized most likely. So, if you collect it in a timely fashion, like you should, that same day, then you keep it shelf stable because it’s not above a certain temperature. It’s really warm under a broody hen or an incubator, it’s not going to develop any further,” Lexi explained.

Plus, these chickens are just plain fun.

“They actually, a lot of times, have individual personalities. They’re beautiful to look at. But just like any animal, they deserve a good quality of life,” Lexi said.

You can find Wingstem Farm at the Grandin Village Farmers Market. Click here for more information.

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