How many hens can my yard support?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crobbins2009, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. crobbins2009

    crobbins2009 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello!

    I have been reading the forum forever, but I finally decided to make an account so that I can ask a quick question, and then eventually post responses to help others out.

    I bought 6 baby pullets at the feed store last week, but then I decided that I really wanted chickens that were already laying as well. I hopped on craigslist, and found someone right down the road that has 15 7 month old hens who are adorableeee, and a huge chicken coop for sale. I reallly really want the entire setup, but I'm wondering if my yard can support this many hens? I have about .75 acres of back yard that is fenced in. The coop would be in there, and the chickens would be allowed out in the chainlink fence during the day. I have read conflicting things on if the chickens will get out of my fence or not, but it is about 5 ft tall.

    If I do this would the chickens completely de-grass my back yard? Is this really too many chickens for my small area too? I raise mealworms for my reptiles, and I plan on giving them lots of treats, but it seems like they may still tear out my grass. The yard is extremellllly grassy ( mowing once a week in the summer results in ft tall grass between mowing), and there is a ton of weeds out there. I'm trying to give as much info as possible, but feel like I may be rambling so anything else that would help to make the determination if this is big enough or not, let me know.
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    I would not be too worried about loosing your grass. You have a large area. They will keep covering different portions of your yard looking for insects, and eatable plants/weeds. In a large area, your chickens are not likely to go flying over your fence. Exception may be when escaping from danger. Keep in mind that unless chicken math gets a strangle hold on you, Your chicken numbers will slowly decline.. (predators, sickness, age. etc.) You may find your Ideal number of chickens after keeping them for a while. I know that open free range chickens are prone to predators. You may decide at some point in the future to provide a secure run.
    You will need to raise your lil chicks in a brooder until they are feathered out. At that point you will need to introduce them to your flock of older chickens. Read up on that subject on the many threads here on BYC. It is much easier than telling you how to do it in advance. Of course if you ask, I can tell you.
    WISHING YOU BEST and [​IMG]
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    They may scalp parts of it, near the coop or other places where they spend more time.....
    ...but that's a pretty big space for 20 birds.
    Depending on your climate, it should be fine.

    How big (feet by feet) is this 'huge' coop?

    Just word of warning, from personal experience.....
    ....getting started birds, and their coop, may bring poultry pests onto your property.
    Use due diligence in examining birds very closely after you get them so you can nip any problems in the bud.
     
  4. Lukedawg

    Lukedawg Out Of The Brooder

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    All very true but I have had my flock of 26 fly over a 6ft tall fence like it was just a little hop up!! I have since constructed a 10ft high fence that they do not try to fly out of (yet!) also keep in mind that yes that much area is enough for that many birds but they will destroy any flower beds or garden area and there will be chicken poo all over that 3/4 acre you have. You won't be able to step outside without finding some poo to step in!
    I personally would for sure construct an area for that many birds of about 20ft x 30ft and build an enclosure fence that is about 6ft tall and has a top on it (only to keep from having to build it soo tall) and that will be enough for them 3 days a week if needed but that way you can let them out and still control their whereabouts when say you have company or dogs are around without needing to completely coop them up in the box.
     
  5. crobbins2009

    crobbins2009 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone! This is all really helpful! The baby chicks are in a brooder right now (actually just a hedgehog enclosure since I had a few extras. lol). If I do end up getting them and decide that they need their own enclosed area, I'll go that route. Thankfully there are no flower beds or anything in the back yard. I have a mound septic system which makes it hard to do anything with it, so all the pretty stuff is in the front yard. I do have a garden, but it is on the very back of my 4 acre property.

    My husband and I were pretty worried. The coop is this one -- but they have already built it. He added extra areas for perching, a 50 gallon water type thing, etc..

    http://www.ruralking.com/large-chicken-coop.html

    Is this a good deal do you all think? the chicken types that come with it are red rocks, buff orpingtons,rhode island reds, and a couple of others that I didn't recognize.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That coop is 5x6, not 'huge' by any means......not near big enough for 15 birds IMO.
    You might want to rethink it....build your own coop, or buy a 10x10 shed and fit it out, be patient for your chicks to grow.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They'll kill the grass off immediately around the coop because that area has the most traffic but as they spread out theyll roam around and shouldn't kill the whole yard off they might find places they like and dig holes to dust bath in random most likely sunny places. I've got a large frame m fence between 5 and 6 feet depending on how deep I buried it in places and I haven't had a dual purpose chicken fly over it, banties do and if I had lighter breeds like Leghorns I'm sure they would
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  8. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as that coop goes I personally wouldn't buy a store bought coop simply because all I've seen are very cheaply made and not what I would really consider predator proof, this one may be made better than some others but it's not very large and the new price they're advertising is ridiculous I built a 12x12 with 8 foot walls out of heavy materials for not much more than that so unless it's very cheap out your aren't capable of building your own I'd pass. If it's in task good shape and you could get the whole deal with chickens for a couple hundred bucks then I may go for it
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    The only way I'd touch this coop and bird set up is if I bought the coop, and immediately sold all but 2 of the hens, or even all of them. This coop is NO way big enough for 15 hens. The general rule of thumb is: 4 s.f. in the coop, and 10 s.f. in the run per bird. The smaller the set up/flock, the more s.f. you should allow/bird, IMO. Are you saying that you have .75 acres surrounded by chain link? That's a decent sized yard, if that's what you are describing. But even with only 6 chickens, you will see lots of areas in that yard stripped of vegetation. They will also be very busy adding their own land scaping details. These will include: eating any plants you don't want them to eat, digging dust baths (i.e. huge craters) here and there in your yard, removing any mulch that you've put in your flower beds... and removing your flowers. They will poop abundantly through your yard. Great for the grass, but they will especially delight in pooping on your walk ways, hanging out on your porch steps, and the porch it'self. You will need to clip wings to keep them in your yard, and you might be happier if you built them a run within your fenced yard. The run could be supplied with deep litter to provide a healthy soil and give them plenty of digging opportunities. I'd stick with the 6 babies you have now, and forget about these older birds. An other issue to look at is the risk of disease/parasites being spread to your chicks from these other birds and their coop.
     
  10. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are more things to consider than the 4ft per bird rule that's used on this site, if that coop were only to be used for roosting and laying and the chickens were left to go outside all the time the coop would likely do though not ideal, if you are in a cold climate where the chickens will be staying in from November until April then this coop is far too small for that many birds.
    As far as the yard goes I run between 40 and 50 chickens in my laying flock add to that last summer having 50 ranger and pioneer meat birds all ranging my yard daily which is a little smaller than what the op has and the only bare spots are the area immediately around the coop and the area where they dug a dust hole which is not far from the coop either, otherwise my lawn looks fine and I have ran a much larger flock for the last 2 summers than the op is taking about
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016

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