A few questions on starting a small flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rainnotebook, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. rainnotebook

    rainnotebook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 19, 2009
    Northern AZ
    Okay. So I am having some questions and I have searched throughout the forum and didn't find the answers so forgive me if I'm reposting a question.

    1) I am building a coop that will have about 80sq feet of running space. I'm curious as to how many chickens I can have in the space.

    2) I'm also assuming I can have only one rooster in that amount of space. Is that true?

    3) I'm looking to order from Ideal Poultry and they offer the Marek's Disease Vaccination. Is that something I should get? I read on here that its not necessary, but its cheap. So I'm thinking that its worth taking the extra precaution.

    4) I'm curious as to what to expect of the chicks surviving. We want several different breeds and my boyfriend thinks we should get 2 of each to make sure that at least one survives. If I order 1 each will I probably be okay with it surviving?

    5) Is it bad to mix a lot of breeds? I'm not concerned if they have "mutt" chicks. Plus I'm selecting very docile hens mostly because I want to be able to pick one up and enjoy it.

    Thank you so much for your answers and again I'm sorry if I am asking a repeated question.

    Thanks!
    Deborah
     
  2. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    [​IMG]

    Eight or ten chickens will probably be all right in 80 square feet of space. Some folks keep more than that even. But it won't be enough chickens after you've gotten addicted to having chickens. Visit BYC often enough, and you'll be hooked for life![​IMG]

    One rooster will be all right with eight or ten chickens. That's MY opinion. Other people have different opinions.

    YES! Go with the Marek's vaccination! It IS cheap, and it IS worth it.

    Pick lots of different breeds just so you can decide what you like. It is NOT bad to mix breeds. A chicken is a chicken is a chicken.

    As for survival: go to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the forum, or the Raising Chicks section, and browse to your heart's content. There are lots of excellent chicken keepers come to BYC, and you can't beat the accumulated wisdom!

    And have a good time with the chickens![​IMG]
     
  3. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    Deborah,

    1. That would be enough for about 20 birds if you go by the 4 sq ft per bird idea. I wouldn't get that many. The more space the better.
    2. The rule of thumb is 1 rooster per 10-12 hens. In that space I think one is enough.
    3. If you don't have any other birds, I don't think you need to vaccinate against Mareks but for 10 cents per bird if it makes you feel better, go ahead.
    4. Who knows how many will survive? I only lost one out of 31 chicks. She got stuck between the waterer and the wall of the brooder and became very stressed trying to get out. So just try to think of all the safety possibilities and you'll be fine
    5. I got 2 of the kinds I wanted on the first go round, then kept adding 5 of this, 3 of that. They don't care if they're in a mixed flock. Just be careful if you get Polish. The others like to peck the crests and can kill or severely injure them.
    6. Good Luck and [​IMG]
     
  4. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    [​IMG] Looks like great advice in the last two posts! I just wanted to say I got a mixture of breeds and am glad I did! I got extras just incase...but had no losses except for the rooster who goes tonight! Keep their cage clean and plenty of food and water and you will do fine!
     
  5. rainnotebook

    rainnotebook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 19, 2009
    Northern AZ
    Very cool! Thanks you guys! You're awesome!!! I checked out the FAQ and was able to read a ton there!

    I can not wait to get started! Is it a bad idea to get the chicks in the winter? We have mild winters mostly, but it still can snow. It just melts usually by the next day.
     
  6. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    Quote:Where do you live? That would have a lot to do with the answer.

    BTW, I went to your rainnotebook website. Very nice indeed. [​IMG]
     
  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey RainNotebook, first off... [​IMG] Happy to meet you! Glad you're here! [​IMG] Hope you enjoy your stay with us!! [​IMG]

    Then, Yes, what the others said, except I'm not clear about the size of your ....coop? run? The coop is the inside of the building they will be sleeping in, if that's 80 square feet, then yes, at 4 sq feet per bird, that works out to 20 birds. I agree it's best to start smaller because you will want to add som extra birds here or there, some breed you will want to get more of, or find some local person who has hatched some that you just can't resist etc etc.

    If it's a TOTAL of 80 squar feet between the coop and the run (the run being the outside fenced part if you have one) then that changes things. I'm not sure what your climate is like, but if you have harsh weather and they will be indoors a lot, then you want as much space in there as possible for them, so yeah, fewer is better so they aren't crowded... they get grumpy and bored and bicker and peck at each other sometimes.

    Usually, the reccomendation for the outside run portion is about 10 ft per bird. But if you are going to let them roam part of the time, I honestly think you can do with less as long as the coop is roomy. It's your call about this, 10 sq ft in the run may be best, but the size of the coop is more important IMO, all depending on each situation.

    Once again, Welcome to BYC, from Ohio, and yes, another Deborah! a.k.a. PortageGirl
     
  8. gkeesling

    gkeesling Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    I started my flock a year ago with my order of Plymouth Barr Rock Pullets from Ideal. I also had an 8 x10 coop with a larger run so I had to size my flock according to the coop. I wanted to start with 10 chickens so I ordered 12 in case some died. None did so I ended up with 12 pullets. Ideal did throw in 7 RIR cockerels as the "packing peanuts". When they got to be 15 weeks we had an Amish guy process them for us and we have enjoyed them as part of our chicken and noodles.

    I got my chicks in November as I heard they would start laying eggs at around 20 - 25 weeks. I wanted eggs over the summer so I figured I'd better get them so they would be ready to lay starting in May sometime. I got a shipping box from my work and started them out in my garage with two red heat lamps. I moved them out to the coop when they got fully feathered (I think that was about 6 weeks or so). It got down below zero in january here. I kept them shut up on the coop with a red heat lamp hooked to a heat switch that turned on at 32 degrees and off at 45 degrees.

    I never had any did, and since have added 7 Americaunas so that I could get some green eggs.
     
  9. rainnotebook

    rainnotebook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 19, 2009
    Northern AZ
    Sorry first off I live in Northern AZ and sometimes we get snow but most of the time the temperature at night is in the 40's. Summers are pretty mild (for AZ) and it goes up to the 90's

    Well I'm still trying to figure out the coop thing but the 80 sq feet is where the chickens would be able to run around. Its not including the height of the area, since they aren't that tall! lol The actual sleeping area (coop?) will be separate from that area, outside of that area. So the run part, is supposed to be 10' wide by 8' deep and then 8' tall. I'm trying to figure out the best way to make a coop but thats the plan for now.
     
  10. rainnotebook

    rainnotebook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 19, 2009
    Northern AZ
    And thanks about my therainnotebook.com website! I plan on blogging a lot on my new experience with my chickens! [​IMG]
     

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