# How many chicks should I order?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by The Lazy L, Dec 20, 2011.

1. ### The Lazy LChillin' With My Peeps

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Coop is 6' x 4'. 24 square feet.

From what I've gathered on this forum and reading "Chickens for Dummies" 2 square feet per chicken is minimum. So in theory 12 chicks.

Figure a lost rate of 1 or 2?

I'm leaning towards Buff Orpingtons.

Children are gone so I'm figure 2 or 3 dozen eggs a week

So how does 8 sound? Plus a Rooster?

2. ### Melissa RoseChillin' With My Peeps

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Quote:You should do a search on this board for "Chicken Math" it sounds like way to little What if some of the pullets actually are roo's then you would need more pullets . Annnnd what about when your kids come home for the holidays? You will need enough eggs for those special times tooooooo Just joking Happy Holidays

3. ### WestfarthingHomesteadChillin' With My Peeps

Jul 10, 2011
Sounds good to me! It can be confusing, because some say two feet per chicken, others three, and others four. Another wise chicken person told me it depends on how much your chickens will be inside their coop. Since Alaskan winters can be brutal, my little peeps are indoors a lot for about six months a year. So, I go with the higher number, four square feet per chicken. If you live in Florida, go with two square feet. You get the picture. I like Orpingtons too. I'm getting those, Americaunas, and Welsummers come springtime.

4. ### WestfarthingHomesteadChillin' With My Peeps

Jul 10, 2011
You'r original question was how many chicks to order. The guide I read by Gail Damerow said to expect a 25% loss and most of the hatcheries say an all-pullet order will be 90% cockerals. Okay, that is confusing and I have to wait until we move. I want a flock of twenty, so my best guess for me is to order thirty. The house we want to move to has a 10 by 12 shed, which I will convert into a coop. That's a 120 square feet. I live in Alaska, so four feet per peep. Sometimes, all the chicks live and sometimes they're all the sex they're supposed to be. In my case, I could still accomadate them all. Maybe someone should invent a special calculator for chicken people for all the Chicken Math. I know I sure could use one!

5. ### teach1ruslLove My Chickens

Well, I use 4 sq. ft. as a minimum in my area, because we get winters here, and the birds spend a lot more time indoors during snowy months (by choice - I open the pop door daily). So I would only order six myself. But maybe your area doesn't get much in the way of winters?
I'm presuming you're ordering sexed pullets? I've had ONE incident of a wrongly sexed bird, and that was a silkie, which are bantam and especially tricky to sex. I've ordered three times, and have never had a DOA, so I wouldn't count on that either (which is a good thing). So I'd order the number you want, and expect that many.
My BR, BA, and Wyandotte all lay a bit better than my orpington. Have you considered a mixed flock...maybe 1 or 2 of different breeds?

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Don't count on any dieing. I've had shipments all arrive alive and live to adulthood.
I'd enlarge the coop and if some do die or turn into roos there is no problem with them having more room.

7. ### PortageGirlChillin' With My Peeps

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errr.... I wouldn't count on any deaths either. If you order 12 of your choice of a breed, some (most) hatcheries will add 'packing peanuts' meaning extra cockerel chicks to make up the difference so there's enough in the box to give them added stability and body warmth. I'd find someone else locally who wants some too order all the breed you want, then either give them the extras or share the cost. (depends on their and your financial situation, but that's just me. I've shared with a friend just because they were friends, the cost of chicks isn't usually too extreme and I'd rather help a friend)

As far as the accuracy of sexing chicks, most hatcheries say their accuracy rate is 90 to 95% . Meaning in an order of 20 if you get 2 cockerels, you can't complain, but I've never gotten ANY cockerels in my all pullet orders... I know others who have though. I have only ordered from either Meyer Hatchery or Mt. Healthy, both Ohio companies. If you got more than whatever percent they say, you can call and complain and most will credit your account... even if you get any though, I'd call and let them know so they know how their doing, that's just me though.

Good advice about your location and amount of space per bird, that's exactly what I tell people too. Bad weather, more time in coop, plan on the 4 sq foot per bird. Warmer weather less time in coop, safe to go with 2 (or 3). Being closed up with less space means fights and bickering, (think kids locked up in the house due to bad weather, kids holding sharp pointy beak shaped toys that they smack each other with till they bleed?)

//eta// Oh, and the # sq ft / bird is also got to do with the breed. Buff Orps are a large bird, so consider that. They're also supposed to be fairly calm and friendly though so less fighting -maybe- A nervous breed may need more room, but a small breed, less. Yeah yeah, I know, lots to consider, not sure I helped much, but hope I did at least a little.

Last edited: Dec 20, 2011

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The number of chicks depends on how long each day they will spend inside the coop. If you have a large enclosed run attached they can be outside most of the day. You don't need a rooster unless you just want one, and they can be had for free when everyone tries to rehome extras from spring hatches. I ordered 38 hatchery chicks, none died, and only 1 turned out to be the wrong sex, so I would not order too many extras. If you get them from a farm store you may get a lot more roos than you want, so I'd recommend a hatchery since they really are 90% accurate at sexing. Also tell them not to include extras since they will send extra roos usually.

9. ### The Lazy LChillin' With My Peeps

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Dec 16, 2011
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From the reply's and using a highly advanced chick calculator to do the specialized math (flip of the coin, joking) 8 will work.

With a sexing error rate of 10% one of my 8 will be 1/8 Rooster (another attempt at a joke). I would want a whole Rooster. I don't want to end up with more then one Rooster and having to decide which one goes into the pot.

Run will be in a woods about 50' x 50'.

With the predictability of Northern Indiana weather (another joke) I'd expect January and February they spend most of their time in the coop.

My lost rate of one or two was based on errors on my part (Newbie), not the hatchery's.

8 Buff Orpingtons - 2 mistakes = 6 hens. 3 or 4 eggs per hen a week = 18 to 24 eggs. Wife will refuse to eat them, that leave spares for when the children are home or for trading with the neighbor lady for home made baked goods!

Last edited: Dec 20, 2011

Jul 10, 2011