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How many chickens should you have?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dmwalker1999, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. dmwalker1999

    dmwalker1999 Out Of The Brooder

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    What is the right amount of chickens to have. Or average amount. How many hens and roosters make up a flock. Thanksfor your opinions![​IMG]
     
  2. TonysChickens

    TonysChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2012
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    Always 2 more than your currently have, or will have.
     
  3. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    3 for every 2 people in the household that eats eggs. Course I don't listen to that, we have a 2 person household and 6 hens in lay, plus 6 pullets growing out, and 3 baby Turkeys.
     
  4. Rachy

    Rachy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] This!

    I have 5 pet hens and for my garden and coop size, 5 is a good number. :D
     
  5. flewdacoop

    flewdacoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2012
    CARLYSS LOUISIANA
    I HAVE 6 RHODE ISLAND RED CHICKENS ABOUT 3 MONTHS OLD AND JUST BOUGHT 9 DOMINEQUES AND WE HAVE 4 PEOPLE IN OUR HOUSHOLD PLUS LOTS OF OTHERS THAT WANT EGGS TOO
     
  6. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the size of the flock depends upon a number of things. -flock size should probably have some reasonable correlation to your lot size. Also, it depends whether the chickens are pets, for laying/egg consumption, meat, or for raising to sell offspring/chicks. We have a fairly standard suburban lot. The kids have 4 bantams for pets. We have 3 large pullets for egg-laying (and, yes, pets). They roam about a good part of the time. This is just about all our space will accommodate (and render the lawn neat and liveable for the family). Obviously, if one has a larger parcel of land/lot a good flock of 10-20 hens and a rooster would work.
     
  7. PGRanch

    PGRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I plan to keep 10 hens with a rooster as well as about 10 meat chickens once a year.

    I have 2 adults and 3 dogs that love eggs (and chicken!).
     
  8. Big A Chickens

    Big A Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2012
    Palmetto, Georgia
    I would say that it all depends on what is comfortable for you according to the amount of space you have to raise them. A flock could range anywhere from 2 or more hens. And I have been told throughout the years that 1 rooster for up to 20 hens is a good ratio. Some breeders that I know keep 2 rooters to try to make sure that the majority of there eggs are fertilized. Maybe start out slow with 2 to 5 hens and a roo and add to your flock as you see fit and that is comfortable for you. [​IMG]
     
  9. Winisk

    Winisk Out Of The Brooder

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    I started with a flock of 10, which quickly grew to 20 once my broody hen hatched out a batch and I gathered a pair here and there. That many ultimately proved to be too much for me and I have reduced the flock back to about 10 layers and 2 roosters. I found that once all the hens started laying, I had a struggle finding enough people wanting to buy eggs. Selling eggs covers the cost of feed but there is little profit in it so the larger flock gave me more work and not as much upside. I let mine free range as much I can. Having 20 birds running around was a bit much. So with a little experimentation I learned that having a dozen is about right for me. They provide enough eggs for my family and friends and it is a very managable flock size.
     
  10. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First - what do your local zoning ordinances allow? Some communities allow roosters, some don't. Some limit # of hens according to lot size. Some state it's simply illegal altogether.

    Second - why are you venturing into chicken ownership? Eggs? Meat? Self-sufficiency? 4-H project? Kids want 'em? Think silkies are cute and want a bunch? Know why you want them and then try to figure out logistics.

    Third - how big of a time commitment are you prepared to make? A flock of 4 hens is a lot less work than a flock of 12 hens and chicks and 25 meat birds and a brooder full of chicks. Trust me. Our flock of 6 hens doubled overnight thanks to 3 broody hens, plus purchased chicks in brooder, plus 25 meat birds in another pen. I figured I was spending 2+hrs/day on filling waterers alone! That's a lot of work. Great return (full freezer and lots more eggs), but still a lot of work.

    Fourth - how close are your neighbors and do you like them? People and dogs create more headaches for chicken owners than ever imagineable! If you've got close neighbors, you might consider hens only (which begs the question what do you do when Henrietta turns out to be Henry?!). If you're on a bigger lot, you can go bigger. If you're rural, how much time and funds do you wish to expend on this project.

    Fifth - costs. Coop costs. Bedding costs. Feed costs. Equipment costs. It all adds up. Chicken math isn't only about new chicks! It's also about true financial responsibility. Our 25 meat birds ate 12 bags of feed their short lives. At $13.99 a bag, that adds up! Our additional chicks are using bedding like mad (they think it's grand fun to scratch about in it, chucking it out their door into the yard - sigh). Bedding is $5.99 a bag, coop takes 2 bags every change - I change it fully 6x/yr so that's 12 bags, but with these little additions, I'll need to change it monthly, adding up. Equipment costs - incubators, brooder lights/heaters, waterers, feeders, nesting boxes, wood, metal fencing for runs, hardware cloth for runs to predator proof - mercy it adds up quick!

    But lastly, please consider that these creatures can be more than just livestock - they do manage to get into your heart in ways you'll not really understand until you wake up in the dead of night during a thunderstorm wondering if they're ok.

    Hope this helps you evaluate and think through some things....start small and with clear reasons - so you can explain it to your friends who think you'll need a little visit to the 'funny farm' yourself!
     

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