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Number of Hens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickenMama6RIR, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. ChickenMama6RIR

    ChickenMama6RIR Overrun With Chickens

    I have an odd question :D What is a good number of hens to keep. I don't want to sell the eggs right now. We are a family of six and when we all have a morning breakfast together, we use a whole dozen lol! We also use eggs for baking, and other random things. So I was curious how many hens was the perfect amount of hens you guys thought. What number of hens worked best for all of you? Thanks!
     
  2. Table4Six

    Table4Six Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are also a family a six. We have 30 chickens, but you really don't need that many. If you want lots of eggs, I would recommend getting a laying breed. So, I'd say about 15.
     
  3. ChickenMama6RIR

    ChickenMama6RIR Overrun With Chickens

    Ok thanks! I'm thinking about 3 dozen a week. How many hens would that be if I got a laying breed?
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    In pullet year of laying hatchery layer birds like...well just about all the hatchery birds- RIR, Barred Rock, Sex Link, etc. will give you 9 days of straight eggs then take a day off. Two first year of lay birds will provide a dozen eggs per week. You'd only need 6 birds for 3 dozen up to the first hard molt in fall. Then egg production drops and drops again in winter. It's the management of this time of year that you would want more birds or rotation of young birds each year to keep you in eggs. Say you get 6 sex links each year, in late fall as the new spring chicks are of laying age the previous years birds will be going into molt. You have eggs. Pullet lay pretty well over first winter so you've got eggs. It's what your going to do with the first years birds come third year of keeping birds that you need to answer. Sell them cheap as two year old layers or make dumplings. They are crock pot/ stew cooking only at that age but make great soup or what not. Still have another year or two of good production left though so can be sold for fair market of say $12 per bird. Just get thinking of how your going to cycle out birds and I highly recommend getting new chicks each spring to lay fall through winter and keep you in eggs.
     
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  5. ChickenMama6RIR

    ChickenMama6RIR Overrun With Chickens

    Ok awesome!!! I have 2 6-8 week old pullets right now. I was supposed to have five but 2 of them ended up being cockerels and one died, so my numbers are now off lol Off to the jockey lot :lau :ya :woot
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I suggest sex links then. You will always get pullets as they are sexed by color at hatch. Black sex link aka Black Star and Red sex link aka Red Star, Cinnamon Queen, uh...lot more names but same idea of sex link. And keep in mind you'll need coop and run space for 12 or so birds as you will get another 6 chicks next spring so two springs from now you'll hav 12 ish hens and be getting another 6 chicks. Meaning some time over late spring summer your selling off or eating the two year olds. Keep cycling each year. Heck a good way to do it would be black sex lings one year, red the next then black again. You'd easily know the oldest birds to get rid of then. Or even barred one year and something else next....keep in mind that RIR are one of the least accepting of new flock members. With limited space and introductions to flock each year I'd stay clear of them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  7. ChickenMama6RIR

    ChickenMama6RIR Overrun With Chickens

    Ok thanks! How do you tell a sex link pullet by its color?
     
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Red sex link will be yellow chicks that grow up red with white leakage, black sex link will be black chicks with no head spot. A red bird is mated over a white for red sex link and over a barred for black sex links. But as a rule sex links sold at feed stores are all pullets. The hatchery does not send males as they are 100% sexable and sold as layers.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Where will you be getting your birds? A hatchery, feed store, or other? If you have a specific hatchery we can tell you which to order if we know the hatchery. If from a feed store, well good luck. Each feed store is different to a certain extent, even if they are the same national chain. Some feed store people are more knowledgeable than other, but if you talk to them they might know what you are talking about. They should have a bin labelled “pullets” but whether these are sex links or not, who knows. They might, they might not.

    Sex links are made by selectively breeding certain colors and patterns. Because of dominant/recessive genes if the parents are set up correctly genetically you can identify the sex of chicks at hatch. With red sex links the male chicks have yellow down and the females are red. With black sex links the males have a spot on their head while the hens have solid black down on their heads.

    I use that rolling replacement system Egghead is talking about. Production per hen varies by individual hen, by their age, and by time of year. On the scale we operate on you will not be able to maintain a steady supply of eggs, it varies too much for different reasons. At peak lay you will get a lot of eggs, but at the off season production can drop a lot. At peak lay 7 hens can possibly give you more than 3 dozen eggs a week, mine do, but other times if they are all the same age you might drop real close to zero, or maybe all the way to zero. It’s one of those trial and error things, try something and see how you need to adjust. That’s where replacement pullets help.
     
  10. ChickenMama6RIR

    ChickenMama6RIR Overrun With Chickens

    I was thinking about my local jockey lot/farmers market. They have a farm animal section so I want to be able to tell the gender so I don't end up with more roos lol :lau
     

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