Greetings from Oregon


In the Brooder
5 Years
Oct 9, 2014
So I have been lurking on here awhile because my wife and I have a goal of starting a flock of chickens once we buy land, and as that gets closer to being a reality I thought I should say hello ( and be able to ask questions not just lurk for them) :D

I am 46, former Portland (OR) resident relocated to the south Willamette Valley. When I was divorced with one 9 year old son I had 4 chickens in Portland for three years. .. Two americanas, one barred rock and a black sex link. It was a pretty great little flock.

Now ten years later my oldest is 19 and still lives in Portland. I remarried and between us we have four kids at home in addition to my adult son. At home we have 12,10,6,2 year olds. I started researching because my projected flock will be much larger then. My previous one, having more room in the country and all.. As well having more mouths to feed. 4 chickens was great for two people ( well one and a half anyway, my son was there part time) but now? Well let's just say we call a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon and four large potatoes " breakfast" at my house :rolleyes: ... And then they are hungry an hour later. Eggs also happen to be the only breakfast food everyone really likes, so if you make eggs for one, you make eggs for all. We go through 2-3 doz a week now, and we could go through more as I never have any for salads because if a boil some in the morning by 3pm they are gone. (My two year old eats the boiled whites and feeds the yolks to the dog. Now the dog thinks all boiled yolks are hers...)

The area we are looking in allows 85 chickens per acre, which frankly seems like more than I need. I was thinking more on the 20-24 side, to allow for predator loss, and some eggs to either give away as gifts or trade. I have a shed that will be moving with us that I was planning on splitting in half and using half as a coop, half as chicken related storage ( the shed is 8- 16 and ten feet at the crest. Giving me an 8x8 coop. My intention is to have an outside fenced pen for the daytime.

So yes I have lots of questions of how to deal with a flock of this scale ( four chicks you can raise in the bathtub.. Twenty four? Probably not) also how to deal with my new life ( my current dog has never been around livestock, and I suspect she would kill a chicken given the chance. And what breeds are docile enough for a young children? My four were great but were essentially hand raised. My barred would get out of the pen and sit on the porch with me... But I didn't have any toddlers around. Do I need a rooster? If so what to get? I want my toddler to enjoy having chickens not live in fear of them. Some of this I have already searched for on the site... So don't feel y have to answer here... Just giving you an idea of what on my mind.

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
Out to pasture
Welcome to BYC. First rule of thumb is min. 4 sg.feet per bird in the coop and 10 sq.feet per bird in outdoor run. You don't need a rooster for egg production and the hens are usually a lot happier without one. Buff orpingtons, Black Australorps, are some people friendly breeds. If you want max egg production people generally get one of the sex links, black, or red etc. They put out a ton of eggs for about the first two years and then it falls off quite a bit. So you would need to be replacing them fairly often.

Dogs are one of the top predators of chickens - either the family pet or the neighbors loose dogs coming to visit. Generally speaking , dog + chicken = dead chicken. Dogs think of them as squeaky toys - chase and grab them, as soon as they stop squeaking (dead chicken) they grab another and so on. End result usually total massacre of any birds then can reach. As a greeter, I've read many new member intros that start with" our dog killed our flock," many times it is a Chihuahua or doxie .

The Learning Center above, is a great place to start. From there you can branch out to the various forums that meet your needs.


In the Brooder
5 Years
Oct 9, 2014
One thing I have working for me is my dog won't jump a fence. At our rental the front fence is about 3' and she won't go over it. She also isn't much of a digger. It's unfortunate since my last dog ( who now lives with my son) is a BC with zero hunting instinct. He would herd the chickens back in the pen ( except for the BR who managed to dominate him. She was a great bird.) but my current dog has killed squirrels and rats so I assume she isn't above a chicken massacre. Fortunately she is also as sharp as a marble :rolleyes: , so I think double fencing ( fencing her into one part of the property, fencing the chickens in another) should do it... Of course there are the future neighbors dogs. In my town I have seen everything from dogs to a donkey roaming around... And that is IN TOWN!
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Apr 8, 2012
Northern California
@drumstick diva has given you great advice. As for raising the chickens in a bathtub, they will go from being cute to being VERY stinky in a short amount of time. I would instead use a large cardboard box or a Rubbermaid tub instead if you can. If you have another place to grow them out like a garage that would work too. As for your dog, I would keep them totally separate. I lost my entire first flock to my dog so I'm speaking from personal experience. Make sure your coop and run are predator proof by using 1/4 inch hardware cloth (very strong mesh wire) instead of chicken wire. Best of luck to you! Also, check out the Learning Center, it is very helpful.


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You've gotten some great suggestions and links above. There is a really nice article in the Learning Center that helps figuring out how much space you need for the birds you want.

Not sure if you have seen them, but there are also quite a few threads on dogs/chickens where you might find some tips to help with your training your dog to at least tolerate them if you are there, ie and

As for breeds, Here are a couple of links to some nice chicken breed comparison charts you might like and when you have narrowed down your choices, don't forget to check the BYC Reviews section for member reviews on the different breeds. and check out your state thread for what breeds people in your area are having success with
Depending what you want chickens for, mostly for pets or mostly for eggs, for pets, Silkies and Cochins are probably the two most popular breeds pet breeds for children, they are not very good egg layers but are very friendly. So far as more layer breeds go, for egg numbers alone, the Red Sex Links (Golden Comet, Red Stars, ISA Browns etc) and Black Sex Links for brown eggs and the commercial White Leghorns for white eggs are probably the most popular layers around. If you want breeds that don't lay quite as well but will lay for a longer time,Black Australorps and Orpingtons are really popular, lots of people really like these, great pets though broody, Plymouth Rocks, Sussex, Delaware and Wyandottes are some other popular breeds that are usually pretty easy to get along with, they all lay different shades of brown eggs. If you like colorful eggs, the Easter Egger, often sold as Ameraucana by hatcheries, are a fun breed for kids because they usually lay green/blue eggs, and they tend to be very nice birds, and then there are the Welsummer and Marans for those dark brown eggs... have fun deciding!

The main reason you would need a roo is if you needed fertile eggs / intended to hatch eggs. But ... If you have toddlers that will be interacting with the flock, the general consensus is you don't want a rooster because they can be dangerous to young children.

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