How many in a flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HomoSapien, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. HomoSapien

    HomoSapien Hatching

    Dec 31, 2015
    I just want to know what would be the maximum amount of chickens you would have in a flock? I'm researching stuff for an assignment so this is important to me :)
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Depends on how much space you have. I personally run upwards of 100 birds in my 4,000 square foot large run; about 30 in my small pen.

    I mean, with 10-20 acres, a barn, and a big budget for feed, I'm sure you could run several thousand birds over the area without a problem.

    Logistically, most "backyard" flocks will max out at 20-35 chickens and the average flock size I see is probably 6-10.
  3. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Crowing

    Jun 23, 2015
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    There isn't really a maximum number in keeping chickens, as large commercial breeders keep hundreds if not thousands together at a time. However, on most farms that allow foraging, the highest number is around 200 or so.

    I personally want a number of around 35 because it is expensive to keep more and they will begin to wear out the yard, but this is for this particular location and depends on the breed, season, individual birds, weather, feed prices, ect.

    Good luck on your assignment! [​IMG]
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    There is absolutely no way to answer that question without first having a lot of questions answered. How big will the coop be? Will the chickens be allowed to free range, or kept in a run? How big will the run be? How much land available? What is your climate? Any restrictions on flock size in your town/county? What is your goal? Eggs for family only? Eggs to sell? Do you plan on hatching your own chicks in the future? Are you allowed to keep a rooster? Will you be buying day old chicks? Hatching eggs to start your flock? Buying started pullets? What is your budget for start up costs? (Including price of chicks/pullets/eggs, price of brooder, choice of brooder heat: heating pad vs. heat lamp, price of coop (will you build it yourself or pay for pre-fab/hire someone else to build it), how much can you budget/ month to feed your flock?) I suggest that you sit down, and write out the answers to these questions based on YOUR goals, and your land set up... even if this is only a hypothetical scenario. Then, I suggest that you go to your library and get some books that deal with poultry management. Be sure to include the wonderful book by Harvey Ussery: "The Small Flock Poultry Keeper". Do a lot of reading. Then... develop your hypothetical flock based on your hypothetical set up, and your hypothetical goals. AND: I hope that your hypothetical flock becomes a reality!
    1 person likes this.
  5. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    It depends on if you want them to be able to find food on the land or not, and if you care about the sustainability of the flock. Chickens prefer to be in a small flock socially because the more birds there are, the more birds they have to sort in the pecking order and remind of their place. In the wild chickens live in singles, pairs, and in groups typically smaller than six. With domestic chickens I think, if you have about an acre for them to roam, that a flock of about two dozen or less is a good size, and probably no more than four dozen.
  6. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Crowing

    Jun 23, 2015
    I certainly agree, chickens seem more relaxed in smaller groups. [​IMG]
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Depends on how much help I can hire to take care of them [​IMG]. And how many pens I can sweet-talk Honey into building [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    There really is no one answer to this question. As others have stated, it depends on your flock goals, available space and budget.
  9. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    While my first impulse was to say as many as you can get away with + 1 [​IMG] I would say for your assignment purposes it would depend on your definition of flock and it that means you could work it out based on how many hens can a rooster keep fertile in his flock rather than how many chicken does an owner have in their entire flock. Even if you had a hundred chickens with roosters you would find they would settle into smaller "flocks" within that larger group with one rooster overseeing each of those smaller groups rather than one rooster trying to keep control of the whole 100 hens if that makes sense.

    The general recommendation I've seen here is 1 rooster to 10 hens but it would be interesting to hear from someone with a large multiple rooster flock how large a harem or personal flock each rooster actually keeps.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  10. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    Some roosters have just one hen, while other, more dominant roosters have harems of about five.

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