How much more work is 10 hen vs say 5 hens?

McKinneyMike

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 20, 2013
124
21
98
McKinney, TX
I am trying to decide just how many hens to start off with for our backyard farm. We have plenty of room (on an acre). I have a nice shaded spot that has some sun too. I can make a run that could be as big as 12x24 without too much issue. We have a storage shed that I will re-purpose a 6'x10' section as the coop. I figure if they get to be too much of an issue I can more easily sell or giveaway the extra hens, but as they will all be raised from chicks, I figure that we stand a better chance that they will adapt and get along better if we get more to start than trying to add more later at least to start off our little farm. Am I making a big rookie mistake?
 

shannondee12

Songster
6 Years
Mar 8, 2013
384
41
103
Left Hand, WV
I had planned on starting with 5 hens but the least amount I could order was 10. So I got 10 one day old chicks. In the mean time, I was given a hen and rooster. I incubated 6 eggs from that pair before giving them back (rooster crowed constantly). Out of those 6, 4 hatched. So now I have 14 that are within 2 weeks age of each other. Chicken math! Lol. It's easier to start with more in case you lose a few, than to add more later.
 

Angelicisi

Crowing
6 Years
Mar 26, 2013
3,523
557
278
Baton Rouge area
My Coop
My Coop
Same amount of time I'd think up to probably 20 birds then start adding time in small intervals.
If you maintain a clean, healthy flock and get a water/feed schedule down pat its easy peasy.

Getting them all as chicks is recommended. Makes for a tight flock that usually gets along. Pecking order is determined in the brooder so its almost cute. As grown hens they just look like mean bullies picking on a new girl for a day or so.

I take in rescues, roos that need more space and 'spent' hens in one flock and have my pure AMs in another. The AMs are sweet by nature and I never had an issue adding a new one. This is unique tho.
I have never had a serious fight among New girls...just a day of squabbles but I have a ton of room and free range.

With the mixed flock of rescues there are pecking order fights :( but only at roost time at night. They *have* to roost in order :/

I started with 2 pullets for the hubby n I to have fresh eggs for fresh bread French toast...I'm up to 2 flocks!
Chicken math is no joke.

*Build bigger than you need (usually will need more!)
*Buy MORE chicks than you need (many will become roosters if buying straight run) and you can always sell extra pullets to make feed money. Or find a friend or neighbor to split a large chick order and save $
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,095
581
Southern Oregon
Like so many other things, they take just as much time as you choose to spend on them.

I've always been on the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) side of animal husbandry. I have large feeders and waterers so I don't have to feed or water multiple times a day, or even every day. I use deep litter in the coop so it's basically no effort on a day to day basis. I have a large run with some covered areas to keep the mud down, other than that I don't stress about the mud.

My system has proven itself handy recently since I've been diagnosed with leukemia. I've been in the hospital more often than not since mid June and even when I'm home I'm immune suppressed and can't go in the coop even with a mask on. So, chicken chores have fallen to my honey and friends. If I had a complex, labor intensive system for keeping my birds, I wouldn't have been able to keep them. I can get folks to fill feeders and water and collect eggs every other day or so. I wouldn't expect someone to feed multiple times a day, clean poop several times a day, open/close coop doors (I have an opening between coop and run, no door. Birds choose to come and go, even in bad weather), things like that.

I have about 2 dozen birds. The daily time spent on them is around 15-20 minutes. Now, the time I spend just watching them.............hours!
 

Angelicisi

Crowing
6 Years
Mar 26, 2013
3,523
557
278
Baton Rouge area
My Coop
My Coop
This is a great method.
Like so many other things, they take just as much time as you choose to spend on them.

I've always been on the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) side of animal husbandry. I have large feeders and waterers so I don't have to feed or water multiple times a day, or even every day. I use deep litter in the coop so it's basically no effort on a day to day basis. I have a large run with some covered areas to keep the mud down, other than that I don't stress about the mud.

My system has proven itself handy recently since I've been diagnosed with leukemia. I've been in the hospital more often than not since mid June and even when I'm home I'm immune suppressed and can't go in the coop even with a mask on. So, chicken chores have fallen to my honey and friends. If I had a complex, labor intensive system for keeping my birds, I wouldn't have been able to keep them. I can get folks to fill feeders and water and collect eggs every other day or so. I wouldn't expect someone to feed multiple times a day, clean poop several times a day, open/close coop doors (I have an opening between coop and run, no door. Birds choose to come and go, even in bad weather), things like that.

I have about 2 dozen birds. The daily time spent on them is around 15-20 minutes.  Now, the time I spend just watching them.............hours!
 

CedarAcres

Sunny Side Up
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
910
48
138
Connecticut
My Coop
My Coop
I agree with Donrae. I have pretty much the same set up. Large feeders & waterers (need to be changed once a week, add food once a week), deep litter method so very easy. It is always good to plan on times when you personally might not be able to care for them. Even if it's just for a vacation, it's very easy for someone else to simply look in on them. The last 6 months I've been dealing with a medical issue as well, and it is much easier when you don't have a list of daily chores that must be completed.
 

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