Beak Trimming, Square foot per chicken, purchasing chickens.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by destorieswind, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. destorieswind

    destorieswind Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 4, 2008
    Mesa, AZ
    Hello, I just got a flock about 16 weeks ago of Leghorns,BO,and RIR with a few others. [​IMG]
    I was wondering, what is all this beak trimming I hear about? Does it increase egg production?

    Also, How many square feet should a chicken have (per chicken)

    and does any one know the best place to get chickens in Mesa, Arizona
  2. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    Beak trimming is necessary when the flock is housed in very tight quarters and stressed. It will minimize pecking & feather picking in the flock. Looks terrible though and shouldnʻt be needed in a home flock.

    In the brooder/hover, chicks will need 1/2 sq ft each. 20 chicks need 10 sq ft or roughly a 3ʻ x 3ʻ heated space.

    Once out and about, plan on 4 sq ft per bird. So, those 20 chicks now need 80 sq ft or a coop that is 8ʻ x 10ʻ. Donʻt forget to put in at least one nesting box per 5 hens set lower than the roosting perches.
  3. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    Ooops, forgot to mention, most hatcheries are not shipping until at least February due to low temps. However, Ideal in Texas still has some (but not all) varieties available through the end of the year.

    Good luck!
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member


    Trimming, what is called "trimming" (debeaking) are two different terms that are often used interchangeably.

    Trimming if just the tip outside of the beak's "quick" so to say where no blood or bone is reached is sometimes done to show birds or birds who do not have access to the soil to naturally wear away their beaks.

    Debeaking is a practice often hotly disputed, and is usually only done in high density layer operations to keep the birds from picking each other apart due to boredom. It doesn't change egg laying.

    If you are raising a backyard flock with ample room, you shouldn't need to do anything for their beaks.

    The space requirements are all guidelines. Guidelines say 4 sq feet inside the coop, and 10 sq feet in the run per bird. However, tractors that move weekly or even daily get away with less, and bantams get away with less. A 10 ounce banty doesn't take nearly as much room as a 14lb cochin.

    Some say you need 2x this room or more to keep them happy, but it also depends on what is in their living establishments. 100sq feet of plain brown dirt is not nearly as stimulating as 100 sq feet of underbrush or your freshly planted garden they decided to dig up and destroy for you. So if you can keep them mentally stimulated, you can probably get away with less space per bird. However, it is always easier to prevent rather than cure problems with chickens.

    As for where to get chicks, try a hatchery. Places like Ideal (TX) still have some, but your biggest selection will be in the spring with production ramps up. As for adults, you'll probably have to post locally to find some in your area. If you do bring in adults, I'd suggest searching our forum concerning quarantine times. Quarantine of adults can save you A LOT of headache if you catch a potential problem before bringing it to your flock.

    Best of luck and enjoy!

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