1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Contemplating a few chickens, have a few questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Duke6017, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Duke6017

    Duke6017 Out Of The Brooder

    54
    5
    43
    Sep 13, 2013
    Hello All, I am brand new here. I have been browsing for a few weeks and reading all of the articles and blogs from everyone. Lots of great information. Thank you! For the last few months I have been contemplating a few chickens. I only want about 2-3 (a very small flock I know). But their purpose for me would be just to supply my wife and I with fresh eggs when we want them. Here is my dilemma, I want this to be as easy maintenance as possible. I hope that doesn't sound as if I am being lazy, as that is not the case. I travel quite often throughout the year to visit my parents in a neighboring state. The chickens would have to be able to survive a weekend or even a week on their own. I have seen lots of designs for feeders and water-ers that would certainly last a few chickens during that time frame. Is it naive for me to think this is possible? If so, please shoot it to me straight. I am certainly not in the business of neglecting any animal and I would rather get the info now before deciding to give this a try. When I am home (which is the majority of the time) I have no problem with tending to them daily.

    Thanks for any help and advice I do appreciate it.
     
  2. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

    8,134
    140
    316
    Dec 16, 2011
    Iowa
    If you were gone for a week - I'd have some come over to check on them. If it's just an overnight/2 day thing, I think you should be able to get away with no one coming over. (If you have big enough waterers and feeders.) I've never tried it before though. I would get 3 or even 4 chickens if you are open to it - there is the possibility to get a rooster, or something might happen to one of them. If you have 2 and something happens, the second one will most likely be very stressed or might even die being a lonley chicken, especially since her friend just died!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    It's very possible. So long as you can have someone check on them every other day to make sure feed or water has not been tipped over. If they are laying, you would want someone to collect eggs - especially in the summer if it gets really hot. They can start developing on the hottest of days.

    I suggest three hens minimum though. That way if one dies, you don't have a singleton. Chickens are very social creatures, and need company of their own kind.
     
  4. Duke6017

    Duke6017 Out Of The Brooder

    54
    5
    43
    Sep 13, 2013
    Thank you for your input. I do appreciate it!
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,182
    5,019
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    I'd go for 4, for same reason as PP. Also, 3 may be a difficult number to work with as chickens can be more cliquey than a group of jr. high girls. I have 2 girls that are BFF, and if I only had 3 girls, I'm sure the third one would be left out in the cold and ostracized. Also, given your plan for a very small flock, I'd choose a coop and run with more space than you think you'll need (min. 4 s.f. in coop, and 10 s.f. in run/bird) Also look at roost requirements. You'll want to turn your coop and run into fort knox given the fact that you'll be leaving them to fend for themselves some times. Even in an urban area, there can be predator issues. Also, if they can't get out for some free range time, you'll need more coop/run space. Chickens can be a lot of fun, my girls follow me around the yard like little puppy dogs. The added bonus is that they are little weeders, tillers, bug snatchers, and fertilizers, not to mention the side benefit of eggs, and you can eat the chickens when they're done laying if that's your style.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,182
    5,019
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    I'd go for 4, for same reason as PP. Also, 3 may be a difficult number to work with as chickens can be more cliquey than a group of jr. high girls. I have 2 girls that are BFF, and if I only had 3 girls, I'm sure the third one would be left out in the cold and ostracized. Also, given your plan for a very small flock, I'd choose a coop and run with more space than you think you'll need (min. 4 s.f. in coop, and 10 s.f. in run/bird) Also look at roost requirements. You'll want to turn your coop and run into fort knox given the fact that you'll be leaving them to fend for themselves some times. Even in an urban area, there can be predator issues. Also, if they can't get out for some free range time, you'll need more coop/run space. Chickens can be a lot of fun, my girls follow me around the yard like little puppy dogs. The added bonus is that they are little weeders, tillers, bug snatchers, and fertilizers, not to mention the side benefit of eggs, and you can eat the chickens when they're done laying if that's your style.

    Depending on where you get your birds, and at what age you get them, a lot of states have a requirement that you purchase a minimum of 6 chicks. If they are older than 8 weeks, you can get less than 6. But starting with chicks sure is a lot of fun. I'd also recommend that you get birds with a reputation for a mild temperament. Check out Henderson's chicken breed chart.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  7. Duke6017

    Duke6017 Out Of The Brooder

    54
    5
    43
    Sep 13, 2013
    My plan is (if I determine this will fit my current lifestyle), to build a larger coop than necessary. Even with my small flock in mind. As well as I nice covered run for them. I plan to let them free range in my yard when I am home (which again is most of the time). I have a 1/2 acre that is fenced in and they will have access to that from time to time. I also have coonhounds on the property. I am able to take them with me when I leave, so they would not be there to protect the flock while I am gone, but they stay in the 1/2 acre part all day everyday and there inst a fox or a coon that would dare come with in 200 yards of my property. Regardless, the coop will be tight. I am not going to take any chances on a predator.

    PS. My dogs will not hurt one of those chickens. I know most hear coonhounds and think crazy killer when it comes to small animals. And when it comes to raccoons, they are, I can certainly train them the chickens are off limits. And I don't plan to give them access to the yard at the same time. The dogs have a kennel and a run as well.
     
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Funny, we started out wanting only three, but had the same idea as you: what if two were best friends and left the other out? So we got four :p

    If you are afraid you'll have too many eggs, get a cutesy breed, or bantams.
     
  9. Duke6017

    Duke6017 Out Of The Brooder

    54
    5
    43
    Sep 13, 2013
    Yeah, isnt that the Chicken Math I have been reading about! lol.
     
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Dogs are great protectors of chickens if trained properly. Does not matter what breed, but that your dogs already know to kill raccoons is a huge bonus.

    Your next concern for predators is birds of prey. So if you are gone for a week, I would definitely keep them in a secure fully enclosed run. Dogs do very little with birds of prey. The hawks and owls do not fear dogs like raccoons and foxes would.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by