Newbie whose been putting it off


May 17, 2015
Hello all.
I'm in Michigan, between Ann Arbor and Jackson, and have wanted to join those who raise backyard chickechickens.
My young girls are all for the idea, plus I think it would be a great learning experience for all of us.
Our biggest hurdle? My unfounded reluctance.
We have plenty of room (4+ acres, surrounded by 80 more of farm / hay fields, and a grub problem that could feed, indefinitely, a flock of any size.

How does one start small, and what size flock is a minimum to begin with?
All suggestions appreciated.


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Dec 12, 2013
Welcome to BYC!

Chickens are interesting, fun and totally addictive. If you want to ease into it, you could start with a small flock of 4-6 chickens. Your kids would have a lot of fun watching chicks mature into big girls. Since you live up north a ways, you'd want birds that don't have large combs/wattles that could be frostbitten. Some breeds are known for being friendlier than others. Here's an article from the Learning Center on how to choose the right breed for you:

There are a lot of good articles in the Learning Center so if you haven't checked them out yet, that's a great place to start.

If you have questions, feel free to ask. Nice to have you join us!


May 17, 2015
Denton, TX
Another suggestion is whether you want to start off with chicks or older hens. You've got work to put into chicks (with little girls I'm sure they'll be happy to help, lol). But the other option is to start off with 4-5 mo's old and get the feel of having chickens and then either give them a rooster to have start having their own chicks or get some chicks after you feel comfortable taking care of chickens. I've got 4.5 acres for my chickens to roam free on and they LOVE it, lol. Enjoy your new hobby and welcome!


In the Brooder
May 5, 2015
The truest thing I know is how addicting they are! I am definitely a victim of chicken math.

We have 4 acres, too, and started with a dozen chicks from TSC. One died that evening and it wasn't worth the gas to go replace a $2 chick so we just left it as that.

A few weeks later we bought six year-old hens from a lady my mom bought eggs from and whom we know personally. Her son was breeding them for a 4H or FFA project and they had too many.

Another week or two went by and we got a shipment of 16 broilers. The differences between layer and broiler chicks is so amazing.

Another week went by and we got two six-week-old pullets.

In case you lost count count, we are up to a flock of 35. We are expecting 26 more broiler chicks and 2 EE chicks to hatch this week.

I would say start with 4-6 first and go from there. Clearly I didn't stop with 6 but a majority of my flock are meaties. We will have about 20 that'll stay with us. We chose to raise meaties to be able to give our kids fresh, hormone free poultry year round. We'll freeze the meat and continue to sell the eggs from the others to offset the food costs. So far it's working out for us. If I could get away with it, I'd have 20 more. I really want another EE and some Olive eggers.

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
Out to pasture
Chicks are more work but, the pay off is they are much easier to socialize. Also if you are at all unfamiliar with chickens, starting with babies is much less imposing.

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