All about chickens & chicken eggs

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Eggs are such a healthy and versatile part of our diet, so I thought it is worth spending a little more time on understanding it.

Life cycle of a chicken

A common question is whether or not a hen needs a rooster to lay eggs. She doesn't! Hens will lay eggs without a rooster. However, in order to fertilise eggs and get little chicks, a rooster is needed.

Hens start laying eggs from about 18-24 weeks. Very soon they will lay on average 1 egg a day. If a rooster is around, the hen's eggs may be fertilised; and the simplest way to find out is to crack an egg to see if there is a white spot on the yolk. If the egg is

fertilised, eggs laid around the same time are likely to be fertile too. Fertilised eggs are perfectly fine to eat. If you usually buy your eggs from a supermarket, they are very unlikely to be fertilised as these hens don't tend to live together with a rooster.

Fertilised eggs need to be incubated for a chick to grow. After approximately 21 days of incubation, a little chick will hatch from the egg. A chick is a baby chick up to about 15 weeks, at that age (s)he will start to look much less like a fluffy chick. From around 7-15 weeks, it is possible to start to identify if the chick is a boy or a girl. Young girls are called a pullet, whilst boys are called cockerel. As the girls get older they are referred to as hens, whilst boys become roosters.

Hens live approximately 8 years, and over her life, each hen will lay around 500-600 eggs!

Nutritous eggs

Aside from eggs being tasty and versatile to use, they are very healthy too!

Eggs contain ....

  • lots of protein keeping you fuller for longer

  • choline which is good for memory, our mood and muscles

  • Vitamin B12 used for cell formation and anemia prevention

  • Vitamin D regulating calcium & healthy bones

  • Omega 3 fighting depression and reducing heart disease risks

  • and Amino acids to build muscle mass

Free range vs Organic eggs

Codes on eggs and the differences between free range and organic eggs are not usually well under

stood. This little video will hopefully explain things a bit better ....

This little video is based on current UK (EU) legislation and standards provided by the Soil Association and RSPCA.

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