Normal Flock Size?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PluckyClucker99, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. PluckyClucker99

    PluckyClucker99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to get about 15 chickens, and right now I've negotiated with my family to get up to 12, and wanted to know what an 'average' flock size for a beginneris to possibly get more leeway..... So, if you live out in the country, with a lot of room, and plan to free-range, what is considered an 'average' flock size? I honestly have no idea, because I got a book for Christmas on URBAN farming, in which there is no 'average' flock. Help?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There is no average size. It totally depends on your individual goals, wants, and desires.

    I don’t have an average size. I pretty much meet your description but my breeding/laying flock consists of one rooster and seven hens. During the summer I’ll probably peak out in the 40’s, then get back down to eight or so as I fill my freezer and get near to winter.
     
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  3. Belott

    Belott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My suggestion is read, read and read some more!! Read about housing your birds; providing predator safe housing; and deciding how willing you will accept losses to predators while free ranging.

    There is a lot you need to know before you get your first chick!!! Don't rush it or you may set yourself up for disappointment!!

    Good Luck

    David
     
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  4. PluckyClucker99

    PluckyClucker99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! 40 chickens..... can't imagine..... my family prob won't let me get that many, though! Can I ask how many coops/runs you have? I've only been researching for about a year (I have that book practically memorized!) from my book and the internet, and haven't found much about free range.....
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I have one 8' x 12' coop and a 4' x 8' grow-out coop. My run is 12' x 32' and I have an additional 30' x 65' in electric netting. I can’t free range. People like to abandon dogs out here for the good life, which generally means they get eaten by the coyotes, either before or after they are dead. That’s why I got the electric netting. The wild animals are not the problem, it’s people dropping off dogs. For me

    I don't get birds, I hatch them. Most of that 40 is young chickens too young to be butchered. My main goal is for the meat. I get a lot more eggs than I can eat so I give a lot of eggs away.
     
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  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    PluckyClucker: You might start by asking yourself a few questions: How many eggs do you and your family eat per week? Will you give away or sell some eggs? What kind of budget to you have for the ongoing expense of keeping chickens (feed and other needs) Do you have a building that will provide housing, or will you need to build a coop? How big will your coop be? How big a fenced area can you provide? And even if you do plan to let them free range, you should still have a fenced run for them, for those days when the neighbor's dog comes nosing around, and any other predator issues you might encounter. How much time do you want to spend every day taking care of them? Do you have water available where their coop will be, or will you have to carry water to them? The more chickens you have, obviously, the more water and feed you'll have to carry, and the more manure they'll produce. Just because you CAN have a lot of chickens, it doesn't mean that you MUST have a lot of chickens. I'd advise you to start small, with about half as many chickens as your coop and run are designed for, then, after the first year, you can add more if you want. I'm sure you'll enjoy this new hobby.
     
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  7. PluckyClucker99

    PluckyClucker99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone! Think I'll tweak my plans for the flock now that I've gotten your opinions.... Anything else to add?
     
  8. tadaen sylverma

    tadaen sylverma Out Of The Brooder

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    I got nothing except to reiterate start small. I was going to go big scale for meat purposes but as I've been trusted with my mom's 4 I'm finding that a big flock would be to many for me. We can't free range so they need to be catered to. Don't jump in the deep end if barely learning to swim.
     
  9. piglett

    piglett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i started off with a dozen buff orpingtons

    at 8 weeks old i would let them out to do some free ranging

    here is the thing..... i trained them to come when called

    so if i was leaving for more than 5 min i would call them back into the coop so they would remain safe

    i bribe them with bread; they know i have goodies for them when i call

    "here chick, chick, chick" they all come running

    i ended up keeping the best 2 roosters to watch out for my hens which are worth $20/$20 each when full grown

    i can always get free or cheep roosters if the ones i have get killed while defending the flock

    but good hens take atleast 20 weeks to start laying



    oh 1 more thing i went with my orpingtons because they forage great (much less feed to buy)

    the roosters are good for the table & they are large so they look to be less of a target for things with big teeth


    good luck
    piglett
     
  10. BugGuy

    BugGuy Out Of The Brooder

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    I started with a flock of 150 day old chicks and 14 ducklings. It was quite the learning curve, but I only lost 3 in the brooders and 3 more to the neighbors dog before butchering time. I am now down to 60 laying hens and 6 roosters that are housed in a 6 X 20 ft stock trailer for winter. I would not recommend jumping into the deep end like this for everyone, but I have the space and time, so if I'm going to do something, I don't mess around much. I have some modifications to my system to make and much more to learn, but with the info on BYC and some help from the good Lord, all will work out fine.
     
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