# How big.

#### Jpeddy

##### Hatching
We are going to be getting some chickens from my neighbors father who is needing to down size and move into the city. Our neighbors don't have the room in their backyard but we do so we agreed to take some and share the eggs. They're gonna help build and pay for the coop. I have a family of 6 and they have a family of 4. We eat eggs pretty much every morning. I'm thinking we need at least 10 chickens to feed us all. Is that a crazy amount for a suburban backyard? How big should the coop be for that many? Too big right? Would 8 chickens be more reasonable?

#### Ol Grey Mare

##### One egg shy of a full carton. .....
8 Years
The first thing you need to know in figuring out how many birds you are going to keep is whether there are any regulations for your location that limit the number of birds per household. After that, each household needs to figure out approximately how many eggs per week they consume in an average week (remember to include those used for baking, in other foods, etc - not just those eaten as plain eggs).
A good rule of thumb to follow that can help keep you out of trouble while learning the ropes of chicken keeping is to allow 4 square feet per bird inside the coop and 10 square feet of run space per bird. Remember that space occupied by feed/water dispensers is not space that can be occupied by a bird and do not include nest boxes in the space calculations either.

Keep in mind that different breeds have different average rates of production - so it isn't just about needing x dozen eggs a week so we get 10 (or however many) birds - you'll need to balance your number of birds with the average production rate for the breeds you choose -- afterall, a flock of 6 high production birds would give you more eggs in a week than a flock of 10 low producing breeds.

I have a flock of 16 active layers, 1 useless chicken and 5 8 week old pullets who are this year's "fresheners" for the laying flock. Out of those 16 birds, I get right around 8 dozen eggs per week during peak production periods.

#### Rivenwood

##### In the Brooder
I found out when I got chickens that seasons make a difference in production as well. My two rock hens Laverne and Shirley were about 18 months old (roughly) when they decided to move in with us in the spring. Throughout the spring and summer, we were getting about 16-20 eggs a week from them on a mostly free-range feeding regimen on our farm. But in the winter, we'd maybe get 1-2 eggs per week, if that. I live in western Oregon where the days are short in the winter but the weather's not too miserable, so perhaps if you live in a warmer and sunnier part of the world you will get more in the winter