Brand new, how many chickens for my space?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by katethegreat, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. katethegreat

    katethegreat Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2009
    Hey there, I'm new to chickens and will be purchasing some hens for my urban backyard this Spring. We'll be getting dual purpose breeds so we can have eggs through the summer and then butcher come fall. Currently my DH is building me an 8 foot x 4 foot coop. It'll have a run that is about 18 feet long and 6 feet wide. These will be contraband chickens so I want to keep any noise and smell down. I was thinking maybe 7-8 hens max, likely 6 if I can purchase them locally. What do you think? How many hens would be ideal for this space and my other considerations?
    Thanks for the help!
    Katie
     
  2. babyblue

    babyblue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 23, 2009
    I would go with 6, with 8 being the very max. our coop is 8x4, we have 6 buff girls, 1 ee girl and 2 roosters that are going to be dinner before winter. dh is not happy with the size and wishes he has built 8x5 or even 7x5. with the feeder and water and roosts for us there seems to be very little space left because it seems so long and narrow. we also have a 16x40 or so run as well.
     
  3. katethegreat

    katethegreat Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2009
    Thanks for the help!
     
  4. gkeesling

    gkeesling Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    What I've heard, and gone by, is 4 sq. ft. per chicken in the coop and 8 sq. ft. per chicken in the run. so 8-10 chickens would be good if you wanted to take it to the limit.
     
  5. Jess N Jeff

    Jess N Jeff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 25, 2009
    South San Diego, Cali
    I have a backyard flock and one thing I have found in regards to keeping down smell is to water your backyard everyday. I guess it only counts if you let them run around your backyard. If you keep them in a run you will need to clean it regularly. Summertime can be a little difficult with smells and flies. My neighbors are (thankfully) kind enough to tell me if they think its getting too funky.

    Plus...if they do run around the backyard, prepare to have all plants and grass eaten...they are eatting machines:D
     
  6. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    They're more likely to be less of a problem if you don't crowd them, both in terms of noise and of smell. You could put 8 in that space, but you'd be better off with no more than 6 in your circumstances, IMO.
     
  7. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2009
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    Wombat nailed it. Technically you can have 8 but 6 is best. Since your run is going to be so narrow, then I would do hardware cloth at the bottom to keep coons from reaching in. And do not think you won't get them just because you are inside city limits. They can hunt in daytime and will tag team a narrow run, one working each side to decapitate chooks. Hope you do not have to bribe the neighbors to keep them happy. Be sure not to get a roo or the jig is up.
     
  8. katethegreat

    katethegreat Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2009
    I think I'll stick with 6-7, probably 6 to start with. I will have them in a run most of the time unless I'm in the yard to supervise (I don't want them tearing apart my garden and I have dogs that generally have run of the yard). I have a 6ft. wooden privacy fence but there are some pretty large gaps underneath (say 5" at the most) do you think they'd escap through these? Should I cover them with chicken wire?
     
  9. katethegreat

    katethegreat Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2009
    I'm def. sticking with hens but if we happen to get a rooster I know plenty of country folk who wouldn't mind another rooster. Thanks for all the advice... If we got racoons after the hens wouldn't the hens just go inside the coop? The run will be covered and anchored to the ground (I was thinking those camping stakes to hold it into the ground turned inward)? Is that not predator proof enough for an urban yard with a 6ft privacy fence? We do have one large mulberry tree in the yard--oh, that may be another complication. Are mulberries safe for chickens? I may have to re-do my run plan if they are.
     

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