How many hens to keep me supplied with eggs for my family?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fivestring, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. fivestring

    fivestring Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    Nashville Georgia
    I have really searched for a definitive answer to this question before posting and this IS my first post.

    I have a family of 4. We like eating eggs and not just for breakfast. We usually go through about 1½ to 2½ dozen eggs per week.

    Roughly how many hens would it take to supply this many eggs, generally speaking?

    I have been reading this forum for several days and am looking forward to this new endeavor of raising yard birds.

    I am at a loss in choosing breeds. I know almost nothing of the difference between breeds but I like the looks of the RIR and Buff colored hens, as well as the 'traditional' white ones, whatever they are called. I know, my ignorance is showing.....[​IMG]

    Any help is appreciated. If it makes any difference, I am located is South Georgia, so winters are very mild. And I have LOTS of room to let the girls roam.
  2. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    If you have a breed that is bred for egg laying, like RIR or leghorn, they will faithfully lay an egg almost every day. We have 37 hens, Mostly RIR, with 4 SLW and 6 rock hens, and we get at least two dozen a day. That is mainly due to the hens breaking the eggs, or eating them.
  3. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    Well first welcome [​IMG]

    We bought 8 to start with (4 barred rocks and 4 black stars/sex links) they were plenty. That is what we started with. We have more now because we sell eggs. Everyone wanted some of our eggs once they found out we had chickens [​IMG]

  4. willowcol

    willowcol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Macclesfield NC
    right now I have 5 hens, they lay 3-5 eggs a day. Not sure if they will slow down over the winter but haven't yet.
  5. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    One good rule of thumb with good layers is that they lay 2 out of every 3 days. Call it 5/wk each hen. Like the above poster, many of mine totally outdo that number, but you'd be safe, if you want 28 eggs/week, therefore, with six hens.

    Hate to tell you, though, that if you hang around THIS place, you'll likely end up with far more than you need, esp since space doesn't seem to be a prob for you.

  6. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    Quote:So true [​IMG]
  7. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    So there are other things to consider. Do you want docile breeds that will be good with kids? Do you want breeds that will lay for several years? Stuff like that.

    Some hybrid birds like the Red star or Black star that are extremely high producing chickens will poop out sooner than traditional breeds, so you can expect to need to get new replacement hens about every 2 years. Actually, that's probably true of other high producing birds like leghorns and RIR.

    Chickens are born with approx. 1000 ovum so they only have a potiental of laying 1000 eggs over their life time. So that can kinda give you an idea of how long you can keep them depending on how often they lay.

    If you want Docile breeds, I'd go for Barred Rocks, Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex. They are all real sweet hearts. I'm sure white orpingtons and white rocks would be really nice hens. I'd avoid almost any white egg layer.

    Also, remember that chickens will slow down laying or even completely stop in the winter and can also in the hottest part of summer, but I don't know what GA is like. Speckledhen would know. You can do somethings to keep them laying if you need too though. So you will have up and down production times, that you might want to account for. So you might want to get 1 or 2 more than you think you'll really need.

    Also, you need to consider how big your coop is. If you don't have one yet you can design to the number you want to get (I'd design for more, these critters are very additive). If you already have one then you are kinda stuck with what your coop can handle. Figure 4 sq feet per bird.

    Good luck
  8. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:Mercy , why are they breaking the eggs ? How many nesting boxes do you have ? How big is your coop ? How large are your nesting boxes ? I have large hens and I use these large milk grates .

    I have over 100 in my flock and never once did they break an egg or eat one .

    I put hay inside for during the winter months and pine shavings during the summer . I really think they prefer the hay tho .

    Last edited: Nov 15, 2008
  9. fivestring

    fivestring Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    Nashville Georgia
    Sweet! A bunch of replies!!

    Thanks for all the input, folks. Great site! More question!!

    I do want friendly types as my two kids, 12 and 14 yrs old, are gonna want to name them, raise them, play with them, enjoy them in general. (Me too, but I'll pretend they are just for the eggs [​IMG]).

    I already plan to add a rooster as I have hawks that frequently hunt in the pasture behind my house, so I need to figure out how much free ranging the new gals will get to do. Not much, I think. I don't want the hawks gone, as they do much good in catching other unwanted creatures. And they are very beautiful to watch.

    Ok, so I'm looking at 5-6 hens, and a roo(ster).

    And I assume raising my birdies from babies is the better way to go if I want them friendly to us? I ask because I have found classified ads locally for chickens of any age.

    1. Raise from chicks for more tame birds?
    2. Roo a good thing for a newb? (Crowing not an issue, no close neighbors.)
    2a. What breed roo?
    3. I understand sexed is knowing which sex you're buying, but what is sex link?

    Please bear with me through the learning curve. BYC folks are cool.[​IMG]
  10. menageriemama

    menageriemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2008
    Lake Nebagamon, WI

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