coop is almost done-how many chickens should I start with?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by amycibo, May 27, 2010.

  1. amycibo

    amycibo New Egg

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    May 24, 2010
    My coop is almost done and it's 140 sq. ft. on the inside and about the same for the outside as well. How many chickens should I start with? What breeds do you recommend for a newbie? I have heard that if I get a rooster he must be kept separate from the hens? I would like to have the very dark chocolate eggs, some light brown, the easter eggers-basically just a nice mix of colors would be great. I am sooo excited!!!
    Thanks for all your help, peeps!
     
  2. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    140 sq ft = 10 x 14 right?

    You figure you want 3 sq ft per bird large breed & 2 for small breeds. So you can keep close to 50 birds - I wouldn't start out with that many though - make sure you are up to the constant feeding watering & cleaning before you get in too deep.

    Roosters need only be kept apart from other roosters - They don't like each other. But if you have enough hens & space they will do OK. You only want 1 roo per 10 to 15 birds.

    If I were you - I'd start with 15 or so hens & 1 rooster.

    Also - large dual purpose birds are less likely to test your fences (run) as they can't fly very high (usually less than 4 ft unless motivated) while many egg breeds have smaller bodies & can get out easier.

    Americauna, Araucana lay colored eggs - My buff orps lay very large medium darkness brown eggs - Plus the birds have a great temperment. They are not skiddish at all & follow me around the yard - come when called etc. My Araucana's don't care for me at all.

    Sounds like you have a good set up.

    Good luck!
     
  3. ScaredOfShadows

    ScaredOfShadows Chillin' With My Peeps

    Where are you located? First thing you have to think about is the breeds that are cold hardy or heat tolerant depending on if your deep south in summer or way north in winter. [​IMG] Good overall chickens are RIRs (rhode island reds), Sexlinks, Orphingtons, ameracauna (Easter egger), etc... check out mypetchicken.com and use their 'chicken test'
    Heres the link:
    http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/which-breed-is-right-for-me.aspx

    This will give you a good starting point on deciding chickens that are right for what your looking for. I've found its a pretty good tool for choosing breeds that will be adaptable for your laying needs and weather.

    Good luck!
     
  4. amycibo

    amycibo New Egg

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    May 24, 2010
    I would like to have a variety of hens and I was curious if the type of rooster would have an effect on the later generations. Like if I had a good egg layer and a rooster from a bad egg laying lineage fertilized one of her, would the baby be a mediocre egg layer?
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If you're in an area that gets winters, I would allow at least 4 sq. ft. of indoor space per bird. However, whether you're in a cold weather or warm weather area, you'll want MORE outdoor space than indoor space. So if your run is the same size as your coop housing, then go by that to judge the amount of birds you could have. I would give a minimum of 10 sq. ft. per bird (standard LF) for run space, but some go as small as 8 sq. ft. So 14 or 15 birds would be the most I would keep unless they are being freeranged about half the time as well.

    As to your rooster question, I wouldn't think so, but now you've got me thinking. Of course if in doubt, go with a breed rooster that's known for egg production.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  6. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    I would start with no more then ten, because next year you WILL be getting more chickens [​IMG] And if you have a rooster you could even hatch your own chicks.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My coop is almost done and it's 140 sq. ft. on the inside and about the same for the outside as well. How many chickens should I start with? What breeds do you recommend for a newbie?

    What are your goals for having chickens? Eggs, meat, pets, to show, because they are neat and do funny things, their fertilizer makes good compost material, you want to develop a new breed, you really like the weird looking ones, something else, or a combination of these? What you want to do with them makes a difference in what to recommend. How many eggs do you want? You need to do something with them and they add up in a hurry. Your climate does affect the choice in breed and number, mainly how cold it gets in the winter and how much snow you get. Does size of egg matter? Full sized or bantam makes a difference. As someone mentioned, the rule of thumb on this site is 4 square feet per chicken in the coop and 10 square feet per chicken in the run for full sized fowl. Neither is an absolute minimum especially if the other dimension is bigger but there are a lot of factors involved. I'd suggest instead of looking at how many chickens you can squeeze in there, you decide how many chickens you want then make sure you have enough space for them. Don't forget to leave space for baby chicks in the future.

    I have heard that if I get a rooster he must be kept separate from the hens?

    Why? Roosters have been living with hens for thousands of years. There would never be baby chicks if they were always kept apart. There can be legitimate reasons to keep hens and roosters apart, like a breeding program and you want to control which rooster mates with which hen, but I have trouble responding to that blanket statement. Without more information, I can't imagine why they must be separated.

    I would like to have the very dark chocolate eggs, some light brown, the easter eggers-basically just a nice mix of colors would be great. I am sooo excited!!!
    Marans and Welsummers can lay dark brown eggs. The hatchery chicks are not bred to lay the dark brown eggs so their eggs can be lighter than the really dark brown eggs some breeders go for. They should still be darker brown than the others. The Easter Eggers can lay either blue, green, or brown eggs. You never know for sure what you will get. With the other breeds, it varies some by breed and some by individual. Henderson's Breed Chart gives trends and tendencies by breed, but it can really vary by individual, especially with hatchery chicks. You can look at photos of the individual breeds at Feathersite.

    The Henderson chart
    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    Feathersite
    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html

    I would like to have a variety of hens and I was curious if the type of rooster would have an effect on the later generations. Like if I had a good egg layer and a rooster from a bad egg laying lineage fertilized one of her, would the baby be a mediocre egg layer?

    There are a lot of different genes that influence egg laying. The rooster contributes some of those genes, so, yes, he will influence how well the offspring lay. Whether a particular offspring will be a good, mediocre, or bad layer just depends on how those genes happen to come together, but if egg production is one of your goals, I would strongly recommend a rooster from a breed that is known to be a good egg producer.

    Good luck! You are off to a great adventure.
     
  8. rebecky1305

    rebecky1305 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lansing, MI
    [​IMG]
     
  9. amycibo

    amycibo New Egg

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    May 24, 2010
    Okay, so I started out small with 3. 2 are rhode island red hens, and 1 black star pullet. I am thrilled!!! I actually got 2 goats before the chickens and they are awesome, too!

    Farm livin' is the life for me!
     
  10. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

    Feb 3, 2009
    Hope Mills, NC
    I'd start with 4-5. That way you can find out what breeds you like. A lot of people go get 10 of the same breed and either don't like the breed, or want a variety. I strongly suggest Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks and Easter Eggers. Cochins are super sweet too.
     

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