Going to get chickens in the spring...maybe.

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Bigshow, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Bigshow

    Bigshow New Egg

    Feb 2, 2012
    Hello all, I live in southeastern ontario and am thinking of getting 3 or 4 chickens in the spring. I have a couple questions, one of which may colour my decision of whether to get them or not. First off, if I get 3 hens, and one rooster, is this a good combo? I don't want fights or anything, but I do want a rooster because I guess they are good to have for many reasons. Can I keep chickens and roosters of different breeds, or do they have to be the same to keep tensions down. Lastly, the important one is regarding freeranging. We both work, and don't feel comfortable leaving the chickens out all day, so thought we would let them into their tractor's run when we are not around, and then out into the yard on weekends and/or when we can be around to keep an eye on them. If the chickens would have to stay in a run all the time then we don't want them, but I understand that "half way" free ranging isn't necesarily good. Will letting them out every once in a while be good for the chickens, or will it stress them out?
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan [​IMG]

    3 hens and a rooster are just fine, that is a typical size group for many breeders. And they do not have to be the same breed, although if you plan on hatching eggs it would probably be a good idea so that you will get purebred chicks. And your plan for letting the birds free-range when they can be supervised is very sound, I live in predator heaven and my hens only go out when I can be right there watching them. They are not stressed at all, and love the treats they get when they run back into their fenced-in run.
  3. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    One of my reasons to pick chickens over other animals is the ease of maintenance and care of chickens. They are very flexible and do not need much to thrive. The compulsory takes 15 minutes but I spend much more time because I enjoy it.

    Mixing breeds are fine. Rooster is not necessary and may cause noise nuisance. Free range is nice but not necessary. My flock free ranges 45 minutes a day under supervision due to hawk attacks. If we are occupied, then no free range.

    Lastly, as a hobby, if it is going to stress you out, then it is not worth it.
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I'm curious why you want a rooster for such a small flock - he may wind up causing more trouble than he's worth. For fertility the usual recommendation is 1 rooster per 10 hens. If you only have 3 hens, he will ahem, pay so much attention to each hen that the hens might end up getting kind of beat up and need saddles. Also, rooster crows can be pretty loud and if you live in a suburban area, you might make your neighbor's upset with you. You don't need a rooster to get eggs, and while I personally find many roosters beautiful, and a good rooster will watch out for dangers and warn the hens to take cover, my experience has been that in the absence of a rooster, the lead hen is pretty good at giving those same warnings. So if you want 4 birds, you might find 4 hens more satisfying - more eggs, less fuss.
  5. Bigshow

    Bigshow New Egg

    Feb 2, 2012
    Thanks for the replies!

    I am not worried about me being stressed, but rather am worried about stressing the chickens, ie. if they are only out once in a while that they might be scared instead of comfortable to be outside.

    I live in the country, so the noise from a rooster is not a worry, and I don't want to breed the chickens, but I was under the impression that a rooster would protect the hens, and they are nice to look at, and that they bring out the personality of the hens more than if they are without a roo. If they are more worry than they are worth in a small flock like this then I won't get him.
  6. silkymom1986

    silkymom1986 The Silkie Villa

    Sep 28, 2011
    Byhalia, MS
    When I started out with chickens that's exactly what I bought, 3 hens and 1 roo. All different breeds and they got along fine and the Roo did his best to protect his hens. Good luck!

  7. SarniaTricia

    SarniaTricia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome fellow Canadian.
    I wanted just 3-4 bird in my first thought as well.
    (You will learn about chicken math)

    I ended up with 13, pared back by 5 (yup I made them into stew), gave away a hen that ened up being a roo.
    I now have 6 layers and an old hen that no longer gives eggs.
    I have two little old english bantam eggs under a broody so the flock may go back up to 9....by Sunday. [​IMG]

    I only free range on the weekends when I can keep my eyes on the girls.
    They have a 15X20 ft covered run area with the house inside.
    They seem happy and healthy and because they are under a year old I have gotten eggs all winter so far.

    Good luck.
    (I have pictures and my story on my page if you want to check my profile)

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  8. Bigshow

    Bigshow New Egg

    Feb 2, 2012
    OK, so I don't feel wary about the "free ranging" I had in mind then, thanks!

    What is this chicken math you speak of? That I will want more? lol
  9. S&N Livestock

    S&N Livestock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    southern ohio
    [​IMG] from Ohio
  10. SarniaTricia

    SarniaTricia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Guaranteed you will want more.
    they are funny, cute, some are cuddly, they love attention and make you laugh, easy to take care of, if you get extra eggs, they will pay for thier own feed....
    who wouldn't want a pet who pays for it's own feed!

    Wait until you start investigating the breeds ..... white eggs, tan eggs, choclate brown eggs, blue eggs, green egss...... or egg production sex-link red, amusing polish, toy like silkie, classic old english game, fluffy & gentle orphin(sp?), bantam or full sized .......the list goes on and on.
    I have a wish list a mile long and still have to find the land / barn / pasture to have them on.

    Good luck and be sure to record your progress on your page.
    I go back and look at mine alot. Makes me smile.


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