Chickens 101: A Day In The Life Of A Chicken

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

30 July 2014

Are you a novice chicken keeper? Are you egg-cited to get to know these egg-squisite feathered wonders more intimately? Chickens are very busy creatures, but what do these active social birds do all day? Come with me, and let’s take a peek inside the wonderful world of chickens from Penny, our resident hen!

Sunrise

“Ahhh, another beautiful morning! I’m usually one of the first hens to awaken which gives me time to stretch out my legs and wings, hop off the roost and peck a bit of brekky before the others even stir and just savor this lovely quiet time as the sun rises. While my sister hens sleep in, I think I’ll pop in to my favorite nesting box. If I don’t’ get there early enough, it’s already taken by not one, but two of my dear sisters and I’d rather not share seeing as I rule the roost, and I am the Queen of the flock. The others don’t know what they’re missing. It’s the best box. It’s in the corner, has the best view of the goings on in the rest of the coop, and it’s furthest away from the feeder, so no crowds and all the privacy a gal could ask for.”

“I do lay the nicest eggs, if I do say so myself, and I do...Cluck, cluck, cluck! My egg-stra large brown eggs are the talk of the coop and I’ve often overheard our keeper eggs-claiming that they’re the most beautiful eggs she’s ever eaten. Hey, I tell it like it is, sisters!”

7:00 a.m.

“Cluck, cluck, cluck a doodle-do!”

a white rooster crowing in the morning

“Oh, for corn sakes! That Rhode Island Red thinks she’s a he and makes her lame attempt at crowing - maybe Rosie is actually a Roger!

I wish I could cover my ears with my wings - when the egg laying starts, everybody knows about it!

8:00 a.m.

Just when things were quieting down, my keeper makes her way to our coop to collect the days fresh eggs. “I just know she’ll compliment my prize winning egg! I’ll bet it’s a double yolker to boot!”

“Uh,oh, I see that Orpington’s gone broody! I’ll bet she’s got a good sized clutch underneath her, too. Fortunately, for our dear keeper, that gal doesn’t usually fuss too much when our keeper lifts her to gather the eggs. It just bugs me! It’s not really my business, but as Queen, I make it my business. She’s wasting her time sitting when she could be out roaming the beautiful land, discovering, pecking, and socializing with the rest of us - and there’s no man of the hutch anyway!”

After collecting our keeper always lets us out to free range, as that makes our eggs taste better - more vitamins, nutrients and less cholesterol! I’m pretty proud to be able to say that this is what I can do for you.

“Cluck, cluck, cluck! Oh, I just adore this time of day. Freedom!”

9:00 a.m.

“Time for my mid-morning forage. I love to wander in search of delicious worms to slurp, insects to peck, sweet flowers to savor, and anything and everything else that catches my eye. Oh, bother, some late bloomer is squawking about laying an egg.

silkie chickens snacking on some broccoli

I am a pretty crazy creature - as I can sense what my body is lacking, and self-regulate my own eating patterns to make sure I get my fill of the right nutrients! Unlike most humans, I only eat what I need for the day.

12:00 p.m.

“Ahh, bath time...I just love a good, refreshing, invigorating dust bath! It helps keep my clean, keeps lice away and ensures my feathers are in perfect condition! And, I know just the spot. My absolute favorite spot to bathe is just by the vegetable garden where the grass is thin. I’ve made it my own these last few years. It’s just the right depth, just the right mix of sun and shade, and I can peck at the refreshing mint vines that creep through the garden fence. I know that nibbling a bit of mint on a hot summer day will help to cool me.”

2:00 p.m.

“It’s the perfect time to sunbathe. The sun is warm and high in the sky and feels good on my feathers. Some of my bhffs, best hen friends forever, and I enjoy sunbathing near the herb garden so we can delight in the sweet fragrances. Then we continue to forage amongst the brushes, as we feel safe and there is plenty to search through.

4:00 p.m.

“Time for a nice drink. Ah, fresh cool water! Thankfully we never wait for fresh clean drinking water. And, on particularly hot days, our sweet keeper serves us watermelon slices, juicy peaches, and berry and mint ice cubes. Sweet paradise!

6:00 p.m.

senior chicken keeper giving treats to backyard chicken flock

“Oh, I just love early evening! It’s such a peaceful time to wander and mingle with my sister hens. Our keeper often visits with us at this time of day and we always “flock” to see her because we just know she’s brought us some egg-cellent treats! Mmmm, cooked pasta, rice and brocolli - yum!

While we peck and nibble on kitchen leftovers and such, our lovely keeper likes to do an evening search for any mislaid eggs. She often chats with us as she roots through the bedding, run and yes, even the yard as some of my sister hens do lay an egg “out there” on occasion when much to their dismay, they find their favorite nest box a bit too occupied for their pleasure.

Our keeper takes such good care of us.Cluck, cluck, cluck, I just adore the scent of fresh straw!”

7:00 p.m.

“Ahh, the sun is setting, the air is a bit cooler, and it’s been a busy day. Some of the other gals tend to hurry inside the coop at the slightest hint of sunset, but I being more mature and much more sophisticated, prefer to meander my way inside each evening, all the more better to spot a tasty morsel on my way. We all have our places on the roost, more or less, and I being the Queen as you know, roost on the topmost perch near the front by the window. I like to keep my eye on things both inside the coop and out. Oh, I’m not a busy-hen, I’m just naturally inquisitive! Ahhh, “coop sweet coop”, time for a much needed rest.  After all, a hen’s life is busy life!” I need quality sleep in a secure, draft free space so I can prepare another egg for the morning.

I am looking forward to sunrise, where I’ll do it all again!

Sources and further reading

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