How many chickens to start with?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Shawnee Moon, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. Shawnee Moon

    Shawnee Moon In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2015
    Powell, Wyoming
    Hi, I'm new. I posted earlier, about breeds for backyard egg layers. I was/am considering ordering 25 chicks. But I'm not doing this to make money, and it's just my boyfriend and I here, so I don't have a need for too many eggs.

    There is a chicken house and run, (I have not inspected it for number of boxes, etc, yet. It's full of Harley parts) but my boyfriend's late wife kept a flock of Bantams, I think maybe 25.

    But do I really need 25? I want to enjoy them as pets and not go broke doing it. I can acquire chicks at the local co-op, less than the 25 minimum the hatcheries require, but it will limit my breed choices.

    I appreciate help.

    How many is a good number for a flock? And why?
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  2. holm25

    holm25 Jr Chicken Wrangler

    Apr 6, 2014
    If she had 25 bantams in there then you can fit about 15-20 large fowl if they have some more room to get out and around.
  3. ShockValue

    ShockValue Songster

    Jan 10, 2010
    West Sound, Washington
    Even with the "slower layers", you'd be getting a dozen eggs a day with 25 birds. I would start much smaller, get a feel for what you like and don't like about the breeds you've chosen and go from there.

    I got 8 chicks, lost 2 and one was a roo. During peak performance time our 5 layers will feed our family of 4. During slow times we need to supplement. This is from 4 Faverolles and 1 Sussex. Decent layers, but not the type that make the list of top 10 producers.

    If you were interested in hatching your own you can always get the birds you like in much smaller quantities and not have to rely on bulk-order hatcheries. Here, ebay, craigslist, local breeders, etc will sell hatching eggs - sometimes from excellent lineage.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto ShockValues post....Starting with 6-8 is a good idea.

    How big (feet by feet) is the coop and run?
    Consider partitioning off part of the coop for storage of feed/supplies and/or another area separated by wire to integrate more chickens in the future.
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If you're craving some unusual breeds, you can order in very small quantities from There is a hefty shipping fee, but they have all the exotic and favorite breeds. Just be sure to wait for favorable weather before trying to order or the chicks will have a rough time during transit if it's drastically cold weather.

    I also recommend starting out with a minimum of four, maximum six, to get a feel for this chicken keeping thing, and there's the learning curve to consider, which is less forgiving if you have a lot of chickens .
  6. aatx

    aatx Songster

    Mar 19, 2014
    Erath County, Texas
    If you want bantams, they come straight run, so you'll have some roosters. I received 28 bantam chicks. 11 died the first two weeks. I had 17 who made it. Seven were males; ten were females. So, out of my original purchase, only about a third ended up being egg producers.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I would recommend going down to the store and getting 6. 6 pullets if you can. Right now, my 5 hens are laying, and I have eggs coming out of my ears. However, they make such wonderful gifts if someone does you a favor, the response is "Fresh Eggs! Oh wow"

    If you get bit with the bug, it is such a fun hobby, so many ways to go with it, this is my 7th years in my last endeavor, and I have new plans for this spring yet again. Really 3-5 layers will do you and some to give away. Start smaller, you can always add.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! I agree with everyone here' Start with a few birds and build up if you want to later. Get your coop fixed up and secure; that's the most important thing. Many of us started with housing that didn't protect our birds, especially at night, and had many losses. Chickens are a lot of fun, the eggs are great, and they taste good too. Mary
  9. daddyman

    daddyman Songster

    Jul 28, 2012

    12, maybe 15.

    1 person likes this.
  10. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    I agree with what everyone is saying. Start small and learn as you go. Trust me. Chicken math WILL hit. If you have a few birds of more than one breed, you can find which breed(s) are your favorite, perhaps because of bigger eggs, more eggs, personalities of birds, and then add a few more of your favorite breeds. Or you may hear about or see other breeds you just have to have, and you'll have room for them.
    There are still more breeds I want to try and this year we have already added a new variety I've been working towards for two years and my husband added bantams. And I could use a new chicken coop in addition to the new one we got last year.

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