Minimum Flock size and daily maintenance

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lingbot, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. lingbot

    lingbot In the Brooder

    Aug 8, 2007
    Los Altos, CA
    Hi I'm looking into starting my own backyard flock but since I live in the suburbs and don't want to create a smelly backyard, I was thinking about getting only 2 chickens. Is that too small a flock?

    Also, I was reading and it seemed like everyone shuts up their chickens in the coop every night. I assume that is more for safety and security of the chickens. Is it possible to not lock them up in the coop over night and have them go out into the chicken run still? Or do they naturally go into the coop? The reason I'm asking is because I sometimes take weekend trips so am wondering how people deal with making sure their chickens are ok when you go away for a little bit. I can see how food/water work with auto waterers and feeders but not sure if I have to shut them in every night. I live in CA which doesn't have harsh weather if that is a consideration.
  2. Wolfpacker

    Wolfpacker Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    I live in a suburb less than 5 minutes from downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Last year I lost all three of my chickens to a racoon because I didn't secure them at night.

    This year I have five chickens and have a completely enclosed run area made of chain link and hardware cloth. They are locked in that during the day and at night, I lock them in their coop, which sits inside the run. That's two defenses for the nighttime. I still come out each morning with apprehension.

    I don't let them free range unless I'm in the yard with them, because I had a hawk swoop down on them when they were chicks. I've seen hawks take birds from my backyard.

    We have hawks, raccoons, possums, foxes, feral cats, and my neighbor alleges he's seen a bobcat all within 5 minuntes of the center of one of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

    I think three would be happier than two. My chickens do NOT stink. They never have. I just add pine shavings periodically.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  3. countrygirl4513

    countrygirl4513 Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Portland TN
    Where 2 or more are gathered... a flock does make!!
    My babes roost in the run, they never go in the house. But they are fenced at night and I make sure nothing can get in the house, cuz there is an opening for them to go in and out of the house to the run. So I blockade the main door.
  4. Wolfpacker

    Wolfpacker Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    Oops! Forgot to say

    [​IMG] WELCOME! [​IMG]
  5. Black Feather

    Black Feather Songster

    Apr 20, 2007
    Is it possible to just have two chickens??? Does anyone here have two?? [​IMG]

    My flock started at five....I now have 142 [​IMG]

    I'd definitely lock the birds in a coop at night....much much safer for the birds. I wouldn't want to take anything to chance.

    Urban Coyote
  6. ChickaChickaBoomBoom

    ChickaChickaBoomBoom Songster

    May 4, 2007
    Auburn, WA
    I have two, and they seem to be very content. They tend to stay together, whether sleeping in the coop, sleeping on the roost in their secure run (this weeks' fad), or free-ranging around the backyard.

    I am a little concerned about something happening to one, leaving the other alone, but i am more concerned about being a good neighbor and managing the smell, noice, etc.

    In regards to leaving them alone, mine automatically put themselves to bed each night in the coop, and I stopped "locking" them in, as they would scream bloody murder until I let them out in the morning. Their run is secure, so that's no problem.

    This week, they seem to be sleeping each night on the roost in their run, but I am ok with it as long as they are, because they are as safe in the run as they would be in the coop.

    I hope this helps.

  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Congratulations on getting chickens! They are so great!

    I would get at least three, in case something happened to one of them. It's a lot harder to socialize adult chickens to each other, if you ever needed to add one as adults. If you only want two, though, you could have two.

    Any smell associated with chickens means that there is some type of housing problem that needs to be corrected. Chicken housing shouldn't smell. I'm sure you could have more than two chickens without it being a problem, if you wanted to. It's totally up to you, though, what you want to do.

    I guess I'll voice a dissenting opinion and say I think you could build a run that would be secure enough that you could keep your coop door open at night. Be warned, that it will be more work and more money. If you're ok with that, you can get a lot of good information in the coop section on building a secure run. You'll need stronger materials so the wire can't be torn apart, pulled from the frame or reached through and protection against diggers, just to give you a general idea. You should plan on 10 square feet per chicken for your run, so that may influence how many chickens you want, also.
  8. Lunachick

    Lunachick Chicken Slave

    Mar 19, 2007
    Brick, NJ
    I only have two also. Like Chikaboom (I shortened your name) I was worried if something happened to one, the other would be devestated. But I'm going to take my chances until next spring when I can get another one or two. That's all I'm allowed in my area. When I look back to when I was going to order them i should have gotten three. It's a nice number for a small flock.

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