How many chickens??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ktlady, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. ktlady

    ktlady In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2018
    Hi! I am brand new to the backyard chicken life, so I was hoping I could get some input. My coop is 4x4x7 (it's really tall!) with two nest boxes and an 8x4 attached run. I have 4 standard size chickens (a buff orpington, an australorp, a wyandotte and a sussex) as well as 2 of the miniature-breed "Serama" chickens. They are all hens, and I haven't had them long enough to see if the space I have is too small. I can free range them in the summer, but living in Alaska means that's definitely not an option in the winter months. Should I downsize my flock before I get too attached or is this an okay number? I'm hoping that since my two Seramas are small they won't take up much space...

    Thanks for your help!
    JulyFly, Rick M and True Patriot like this.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Welcome. @aart is the person you want. She's good with space. Hopefully she will be along at some point.
    JulyFly, Rick M and True Patriot like this.
  3. True Patriot

    True Patriot Sanity is subjective

    May 20, 2018
    Liberty Co, Georgia
    My Coop
    Using the generally accepted guidelines you have coop for 4 chickens and run for 3. The common accepted sizes are 4 sq ft coop for each bird and 10 sq ft run for each. The measurements you have given are a bit small for what you have. Each individual bird has their own personality, you may not have major issues. I would recommend expanding though. Confined areas tend to increase pecking and fighting. They are also harder to keep sanitary. An 8 x 10 run would be an improvement and shouldn't be difficult to manage. Premade dog runs are a good option for a flock your size and are relatively easy to move if needed. They are also quite sturdy and make a great starting point for predator proofing.
    JulyFly and Rick M like this.
  4. TheYLWFlock

    TheYLWFlock Crowing

    Apr 18, 2018
    Kelowna, BC
    Well technically the buffs should have about 4 square feet each, and the seramas would appreciate about 2 square feet at least, but these are minimums and they can always use more space. If you aren’t able to add an extension or somehow make it bigger I’d say get rid of one or two.
    JulyFly and Rick M like this.
  5. Rick M

    Rick M Songster

    Jun 21, 2018
    Southwest Missouri
    Hello and welcome to BYC:frow
    JulyFly likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Seramas in Alaska? Yikes!
    They may need to spend the winter in your house by the wood stove.

    Will call on @Alaskan for this one.

    Where specifically in Alaska are you?
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, then it's always there!
    JulyFly, oldhenlikesdogs and Alaskan like this.
  7. ktlady

    ktlady In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2018
    I thought the same thing when I got the Seramas, but the previous owner said they do surprisingly well here (Anchorage). I also have a wired, insulated coop and have a heat lamp ready for them this winter.
    JulyFly and snow5164 like this.
  8. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

    May 16, 2015
    You should take advantage of the height of your coop, perches or ledges of any kind will be used , hot air rises so they might enjoy the upper part of the coop.

    I know there is a measurement for hens and according to that your coop is full ,

    I’m assuming they’ll be in the coop for several months? Just take advantage of the space you have , boredom is what gets you in trouble because then they’ll peck at each other (just like people who know everything:))

    Take advantage of the lady who has had them there over winter, visit with her and learn how she does it .

    Just like me in Manitoba, people think things about my climate that aren’t true

    Good luck ,
    They’ll be fine
    JulyFly and ktlady like this.
  9. ktlady

    ktlady In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2018
    Thanks @snow5164! Nice to hear from others in similar climates :) I am prepared in case this is a cold winter, but the last three winters here have been surprisingly mild. There is also a large population of backyard-chicken people here and I have yet to hear of someone's flock struggling through the winter, regardless of the breed they have. Nonetheless, I am prepared. :)

    In regards to coop size, think I am going to rehome my Sussex hen. The others have become pretty tight-knit and she's kinda the odd man out right now anyways. Would much rather have happy chickens with room to move than miserable ones without breathing room!

    Again, thanks to all for the input!
  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I am under the impression that Seramas in Alaska usually need extra heat.

    Regular chickens in Anchorage should need zero heat. I would worry the heat lamp would be a fire risk. Ventilation is so much more important.

    Is your run covered? If it isn't covered it can be difficult to get the chickens to spend time outside in the snow.

    Some people actually shovel snow for their chickens.. or toss stored leaves or hay on the snow.... or something...

    Some chickens don't mind as much. It depends, but it is a consideration since you don't want the chickens stuck in only the coop all winter.

    Making multiple layers in the coop can help.

    But again.... seramas are such skinny little things... they might need heat...
    JulyFly and Aceoky like this.

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