how many chickens per acre?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gonzo, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Gonzo

    Gonzo Songster

    May 25, 2009
    Southwestern, In
    just a curious question my daughters friend asked...
  2. FortWorthChicks

    FortWorthChicks Songster

    Nov 21, 2009
    Fort Worth
    ALOT!! lol [​IMG]
  3. schmije

    schmije Songster

    Aug 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    Well at 10 square feet per chicken for run area, that's 4356 chickens per acre. [​IMG] So yeah, A LOT! LOL!
  4. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    Yay - I have 3 acres! Time to buy more chickens!
  5. pkeeler

    pkeeler Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    If you are asking how many chickens can live solely off foraging, it is 1-2 per acre. But Schmije is right on the number if you are feeding them. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  6. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    lol I love this question - We have over 4 acres of land to give to only 22 chickens right now, and, well, technically we could add hundreds more to that and still be fine. I would also say "a lot" But since we are cutting down out chickens limits of range (they're laying eggs in every building, every corner, its an easter egg hunt out here. . . ) we're allowing, pretty soon, about 30 chickens to roam on 2 acres of land. But then again, we like our chickens to have plenty of room. [​IMG]
  7. Preservation Acres

    Preservation Acres Songster

    Dec 31, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I'm going to go with a billion...give or take.
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    How many chickens for WHAT per acre?

    At battery-farm or broiler-plant stocking densities (ca. 2 sq ft per chicken) it could theoretically be as much as 21,500 chickens (although in reality you'd need some walkways, feeders, waterers, etc which would cut down somewhat on the space available for chickens). YOu could not do this outdoors in the real world, but if you had an acre under a roof you *could* (and broiler farms probably do).

    I believe that typical regulations for officially-designated organic/humane raised chickens tend to require rough roughly 10 sq ft per chicken, at which stocking density you could have about 4,300 chickens per acre. You would have zero grass, destroy the soil, and have major nutrient/runoff management problems, of course.

    European (dunno bout N. Am.) pastured poultry regulations require like 100ish sq ft per chicken, which would be 400 per acre. Again, not going to have grass growth and it's hard on the soil.

    It is generally said that typical land can support like 80-100 chickens per acre without turning it into too horrible a bare-earth mudpit. But there will be little or no net growth of grass and the chickens will not get much dietary benefit from foraging or grazing. However this depends quite a lot on what soil and climate you have. In some places, it will be fewer chickens per acre before you run into major issues.

    If you mean "how many chickens can an acre provide nearly-full food supply for in the warm months, and host them without having obvious damage to the vegetation etc", then in most cases it is probably less than a dozen, in many places only a few.

    Does that help any?

    Pat, who would not be inclined to go more than several dozen per acre, maximum, on this soil anyhow (and it is not that bad soil, and grass grows pretty well all through the summer)
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    Quote:Please explain how you arrived at the 1-2 per acre figure?????
  10. nnbreeder

    nnbreeder Songster

    Jun 22, 2008
    Forage only with cattle is two acres per cow depending on pasture.

    A broiler barn is usually 100 x 400 feet and they house about 40,000 birds in them up to about 8 weeks of age which is processing time.

    DEFRA in the UK spec. out 1 sq meter per bird. Which would be roughly 9 sq feet per bird.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by