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best number of chicks

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by newfmadible, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. newfmadible

    newfmadible In the Brooder

    Nov 4, 2008
    North central Ohio
    I am planning for my first flock of chicks this coming spring. My coop is 8x8 with 2 roost poles 8' long each and room to add a third. It has 5 nest boxes and room for a couple more if needed. We purposely kept the size of the coop on the small side so we can move it from place to place in our pastures and yard. I was thinking of getting at least 15 chicks but would love more! [​IMG] Like at least another 5! I know we have plenty of outside space for free ranging, the yard is several acres and the pastures are about 8-10 acres total (divided into 4 quadrants), but I am worried about the coop space. How many can it accomodate safely? Each pasture quadrant has a small barn or run-in shed as well, but they would not be closed and predator proof like the coop. What are your thoughts?
  2. redoak

    redoak Songster

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    Your coop can hold 16 chickens using the general rule of 4 sqft per standard chicken. I wouldn't use the extra sheds unless you predator proof them.
  3. Heather J

    Heather J Songster

    May 29, 2008
    The general rule of thumb if you're ordering standard-sized chickens is 16 for a coop that small. If you want to go with bantams, you could fit 20 easily enough. Downside of bantams is they don't lay quite as many eggs and tend to go broody more often...unless you consider broodiness a plus. lol

    The upside is they eat less and are totally cute! On the other hand, if the birds are *only* going to be shut in the coop at night, you could squeeze a few more in. If you live in an area that gets lots of rain or snow, though, some days may be so bad that you'll want to keep them closed in--and a little more room per bird is a good idea then. One way around this would be to attach a covered run that they would have access to during bad weather. If you're moving the coop periodically, you could probably make the run movable as well.

    My birds free-range at least part of the day, mostly only a few hours in the afternoon--which saves me from having to do an egg hunt--and when I'm out of town I have the person who stops in to check on them just let them into the run instead of into the range. That way I know they are safe if he can't get back to shut them in until well after dark. Free range is, of course, ideal, but don't discount other needs you may have down the road. Most of us use a run at least part time.

    Hope this didn't just confuse you! Keep reading and researching ont his site and you're sure to find oodles of good points to consider.
  4. Figure out your brooder situation before you order... If you are brooding in the house, you may want to brood them in two batches depending on how much space you have. 12 is about my indoor limit... Smaller batches are just as much fun and require less work to keep them from being stinky around week 5.

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