How many chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kimmypie, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. kimmypie

    kimmypie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are a family of 6 and we go through anywhere from 6-18 eggs a week. Not very consistent I know, but sometimes we have scrambled eggs and I bake and we go through lots of eggs and other times we don't. I would like a variety of chickens, and we're thinking about Easter Egger, Speckled Sussex, Welsummer, Maran, Barred Rock, Australorp, Delaware, etc. We are in Utah so it gets cold in the winter and fairly hot in the summer. How many chickens should we start with to get the eggs we need? I was thinking of starting with 4 then in a year or so adding 2 more once the original ones slow down a bit.
     
  2. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are getting sexed chicks - get the number you think you can handle. If you're getting 'straight run' get double, as up to and likely beyond 50% will be cockerals.

    Our family of 4, heavy egg eaters, bakers, etc. - go through 3-4 dozen eggs a week. With this in mind, I got 11 chicks. 6 turned out to be cockerals - so I'm left with 5 pullets and 1 cockeral. I'm getting an average of 3 eggs/day from 5 pullets. Which puts me at about 21-25 eggs a week. Not quite enough for all our needs, but more than I've been using as of late.

    Be warned of chicken math though - you've listed a broad range of interested breeds.....and you'll need more than one of each breed.....so pick your breed and figure 2-3 of each kind. That's your chicken math. Build a coop 2x as big as you think you'll need. Chicks are like potato chips - cannot have just 1!
     
  3. kimmypie

    kimmypie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't just have one of each of 4 different breeds? Say 1 speckled sussex, 1 maran, 1 plymouth rock and 1 Easter Egger? I know there is a lot of talk of chicken math, but I am not really a shopper and tend to have fairly good self control in such things! (but I've never had chickens so I don't really know how I'll be!) LOL We can't have any roosters in our city so we will be buying pullets from a lady who buys big batches from hatcheries (I'm assuming). There are some local breeders that sell straight run, but I'm too much of a chicken to go that route and end up with cockerels that we have to take care of. The breeds that we get will really be determined by what she has available, I don't want to get a production breed just because I've read that they burn out faster and we'd like to keep the chickens for a while--I'm pretty sure my kids will be attached. Is 4 enough to get the eggs we need? Or should I start with more? Less?
     
  4. mammat

    mammat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We started with 5 all pullets. Two barred rock, one austrolorpe,a silkie,and one other large breed I can't remember. We had plenty of eggs for us and gave some away. They all layed every day. So 5 per day. They all got along well despite the different breeds and they all did well in ohio winters with no heat. Make sure your coop is not too large so body heat will keep therm warm.[​IMG]
     
  5. FarmerGrant011

    FarmerGrant011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't quote me on this, but I remember hearing somewhere that copper marans are not built for cold weather.. And if you want eggs, I would get barred rock, Rhode Island Red, aracona (think that's how you spell it) and and Easter egger.

    Hope this helps!

    Grant
     
  6. kimmypie

    kimmypie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Really? On the breed index here it says cold/all climates, there are two entries for Marans. All of the breeds I listed have come up when I do the breed selection either here or at mypetchicken.com. Not that it matters terribly, I would just like a variety of colors in our egg basket. [​IMG] Welsummer are listed as cold/all climates as well and they lay dark too. The lady who sells chicks had Welsummers last spring so she'll probably have them again. She seems to have a fairly large variety in what she orders and it boils down to the fact that we will get whatever she has when we're ready no matter which breeds I particularly want. [​IMG]
     
  7. tinychicky

    tinychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 24, 2010
    Hollis, New Hampshire
    i'd say go with your plan of getting 4 this year and a few more next year. 4 hens will yield 2-3, sometimes 4 eggs daily for thier first couple of years. are these chickens to be pets as well as livestock? if not then entirly replacing your flock yearly or bi-yearly will give you a more constant egg supply. if they're pets as well as providers, you most likely will grow to have a 12+ hens in a few years. it happens to all of us whether for new layers or because we just can't have enough chickens. i started out thinking maybe 3 hens and a rooster for myself for eggs and pets. i now have around 30 birds in my barn and i had to build a second coop, broody coop, QT coop and show training cages [​IMG] there's chicken math for ya [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  8. kimmypie

    kimmypie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We live in a suburb and the city doesn't have a limit on the number of chickens but our backyard isn't that big to have 30 chickens! I imagine my neighbors would complain then. [​IMG] Our HOA doesn't currently allow poultry but we have a new board and some of them want chickens so I'm really hopeful that the rule will get changed soon. Also when/if the HOA rules change there will probably be a limit of birds allowed. Which is fine, it will keep me under control! [​IMG]
     
  9. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought 10 pullets...figuring I would get 7-10 eggs a day when they started laying...I added 3 more, lost one here and there, and now have 11 laying hens, and got 11 eggs once.
    I now, with winter approaching, get 7-9 eggs a day...that is more than you will eat!

    If you went through 18 eggs a week...and you had chickens that laid one a day, (which most don't) you could get away with 4 hens.
    My California White has laid one egg every single day, except for one, for the past 6 weeks...wonder chicken!

    So get 4, see how it goes, it will take 19-22 weeks till they reach POL, see how your coop arrangement goes etc...and you can add later.
    Its tricky to add new chickens, but we can talk you through that also!

    I have VERY cold weather, I have already gotten into the teens here in Colorado. I have Barred Rock and Australorps, that do well in the cold...

    Good luck let us know what you decide!
     
  10. Dutchess

    Dutchess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Really? On the breed index here it says cold/all climates, there are two entries for Marans. All of the breeds I listed have come up when I do the breed selection either here or at mypetchicken.com. Not that it matters terribly, I would just like a variety of colors in our egg basket. [​IMG] Welsummer are listed as cold/all climates as well and they lay dark too. The lady who sells chicks had Welsummers last spring so she'll probably have them again. She seems to have a fairly large variety in what she orders and it boils down to the fact that we will get whatever she has when we're ready no matter which breeds I particularly want. [​IMG]

    I don't know about the welsummers, but I have Cuckoo Marans new to me this year. They have not layed for me yet and they are almost seven months old. And I'm not sure if they are as good layers as the historical "best layers" such as RIRs and BRs, but their eggs sure are pretty. I can't wait to get one!
     

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