Litter – A Versatile Word and Odd One in Chicken Vocabulary

“Bedding” means soft wood chips or straw in a horse or cow’s stall But if the same material is in a chicken coop it’s “litter” That seems weird

 

When applied to chickens the word “litter” has nothing to do with trash scattered along a road The word is derived from the ancient Latin lectos which meant “bed” and was used to describe a flat platform carried by husky men with the emperor riding on top   The French changed the word to litiere and used it differently  French linguist, Mark Norlander, translated it to mean, “a bed of soft and insulating

Time to Say Goodbye

Anyone who has kept a backyard flock eventually faces a dilemma As hens age their egg laying slows Eventually it nearly stops There’s a point where the girls eat expensive feed yet hardly lay an egg How does a flock owner decide when to get rid of aging hens and what to do with them?

 

A Laying Scenario

A young pullet starts laying when she is 18 to 24 weeks old If she’s of a productive breed she’ll soon lay like fury It takes about 26 hours for an egg to form, so every once in a while, she’ll take a

Rooster’s Serenade: What in the World Do You Do with A Rooster?

The day a box of peeping chicks from Hoover’s Hatchery® arrives is joyful

 

Unfortunately, one or two of those delightful chicks may cause a dilemma Most city ordinances welcome families to keep hens but their boyfriends are forbidden Everyone “knows” that roosters are noisy, and the last thing the city council wants is complaints from neighbors awakened by gusty crowing

 

To avoid roosters most people buy female, or pullet, chicks It works, at least most of the time Few people can distinguish between male and female baby chicks but   Hoover’s Hatchery sexors can These highly trained workers separate the genders shortly

Should Chicken Keepers Be Arenophiles?

Some chicken keepers may be secret arenophiles!  They lug sand into the coop and use it for bedding Is that a good thing?

 

The word “arenophile” is a blend of Greek and Latin tracing back to ancient Rome

In those days crowds gathered in huge arenas to watch gladiators fight to a gory death

Before bouts workers covered the arena’s surface with a thick layer of sand to absorb blood  Gross!

 

Fortunately, those violent days are gone  Today the word “arenophile” generally means someone who collects samples of sand from such far-flung places as the beaches of Tahiti or Normandy Others may come