how many hens max can I overwinter with my setup?

beanmcnulty

Songster
8 Years
Feb 10, 2011
211
5
103
Baltimore, OH
I am trying to determine how many to keep for winter (how many pullets to sell) since I may end up with too many! (chicken math victim) I have a 70 sq ft coop with 150 sq ft run that they are confined to for 10 hours a day/4 days a week. 5-9 pm on the 4 days and for all day on the other 3 days they are allowed to totally free range- I have over 3 acres but they do not go past the acre we inhabit. I currently have 30 half grown birds that seem quite happy with this arrangement but they are half grown and I am getting more chicks soon. So what sounds like the most I could keep?? Thanks:)
 

beanmcnulty

Songster
8 Years
Feb 10, 2011
211
5
103
Baltimore, OH
chickensducks&agoose :

Jeez, I'd say that 30 is pushing it. 70 sq feet, that's only like 2ish feet per bird. I think that would be as close as you could really cut it, and you'd have to keep an eye on them as far as pecking and fighting.

Thanks- is that because they probably wont be leaving the coop much during the winter? Right now they are never in there except to sleep.​
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
597
448
South Georgia
Where are you? If they will be "snowed in" during the winter I wouldn't dare try to keep 30 in there. More like 10. In a warm climate, 2 sf can be enough if the have plenty of run.
 

beanmcnulty

Songster
8 Years
Feb 10, 2011
211
5
103
Baltimore, OH
Quote:
Well we are in central Ohio and we generally do not get a lot of snow but it does get very icy and cold. Last few have been especially bad for all of it! Makes me think we are going into an ice age;)
Yeah I was thinking on keeping about 15, but I want to maximize my possibilities for future breeding. Now I am thinking I might just have to build another coop! (And my hubby will kill me) lol
 

Anianna

Songster
9 Years
Feb 28, 2010
959
16
143
N/E of Richmond, VA
Yea, if they are going to be locked up in there for any length of time, you want to have about 5 sq ft or more per bird. They will be unhappy otherwise and will probably fuss and fight and pick at each other. If you have cold hardy breeds, they can probably spend at least part of the winter out during the day. Put petroleum jelly on their combs to prevent frostbite.
 

beanmcnulty

Songster
8 Years
Feb 10, 2011
211
5
103
Baltimore, OH
So build another coop it is!
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Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
I agree. Build bigger quarters for wintering over. Hens fight horrid boredom when being snowed in for weeks and weeks. I allow 8 square feet per hen, and it still leaves them wanting for more. A 7x10 coop is great for a half dozen. Sure you want to cut down that much? Laying falls off, typically, in the winter as well. I like carrying more, not less, birds through the winter to keep production up and increased body heat.

Doing chores is harder though, fighting frozen water, etc. There is something to be said for a small winter flock.
 
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beanmcnulty

Songster
8 Years
Feb 10, 2011
211
5
103
Baltimore, OH
Fred's Hens :

I agree. Build bigger quarters for wintering over. Hens fight horrid boredom when being snowed in for weeks and weeks. I allow 8 square feet per hen, and it still leaves them wanting for more. A 7x10 coop is great for a half dozen. Sure you want to cut down that much? Laying falls off, typically, in the winter as well. I like carrying more, not less, birds through the winter to keep production up and increased body heat.

Doing chores is harder though, fighting frozen water, etc. There is something to be said for a small winter flock.

I would prefer to keep more than 12 so I will likely build something that hubby will probably label an "eyesore" lol​
 

MANNA-PRO

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