one acre, how many chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Amyh, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. Amyh

    Amyh Songster

    Jul 11, 2010
    North Carolina
    I have one acre of land and want to know how many chickens this will keep happy? About 1/3 is woods and our current hens (4 of them) seem to be enjoying hanging out in the trees because there are tons of leaves to dig through and find all kinds of bugs.

    I don't expect them to free range exclusively. We will continue to give them feed and some treats, but I want to add some chickens and want to make sure we don't overcrowd them on the property.
  2. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    More like how many predators will you invite to dinner free ranging your birds, especially with wooded areas nearby. Sooner or later just about all free rangers are posting in the Predators and Pests, or Emergencies and Injuries sections. Also depends what forage is growing there, bugs, edible plants, what not. You could start small and gradually increase your flock to meet your wants/needs, and have a few extras for replacements when things go wrong. I would imaging an acre could sustain more birds than you could probably ever use, unless you sold a lot of eggs and chicks/started birds. Not trying to sound harsh, but just letting you know, if you don't keep your birds protected they will be picked off one by one, or all at once.
  3. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    Well, you can keep 50,000 in a chicken house, so for an acre, I'd start by ordering 2 million fuzzybutts. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    We have an acre, but I keep my chickens in a coop and run, with limited free range under supervision. We have a hefty hawk problem here.

    At this point I have 17. I could possibly add a few more based on coop size, but that's just a matter of feeding my addiciton. I don't NEED anymore, heck, I'll have to give eggs away so I don't go crazy.

    There may be zoning regulations for number of livestock. I frankly live in BFE, and the only neighbor who I'm concerned with loves the chickens, so I'm not too worried about zoning complaints. [​IMG]
  5. Tomhusker

    Tomhusker Songster

    May 28, 2010
    Hamburg, Iowa
    Quote:Makes me wonder how chickens have survived as long as they have. Not every chicken that has ever free ranged has been "Picked off" by a predator. It does happen, but it is not the norm. Far more survive and thrive from the diet and exercise they get when not confined.
  6. PatS

    PatS Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    I think you should take into consideration how large your coop/run area is when you determine how many chickens to have. At some point, they'll be confined to that space, whether because of weather or your having to go out of town for a few days, or whatever.

    An acre is a nice amount of space!

    Mine free range during daylight hours; where we are that is 6AM to 9 PM. We're having some work done on the property this week, and everyone will be locked up. They will be very unhappy!

    WE have lost one in a year to a hawk, and half our property is woods. The chooks are locked up at night, when predators are a real problem.
  7. le neige homme

    le neige homme Chirping

    Jul 15, 2010
    Quote:This is all wonderful advice.

    My system allows the best of both worlds I believe...I use the electric poultry netting and a solar shocker and move them to fresh pasture every 7-10 days or so. I did the math a while back and I think I have about 28 sq. ft. of pasture per hen with 35 hens. I'm pretty happy with that number and so are they.

    This system is not completely fool-proof and you've still got to be on your game when it comes to predator control. I recently lost some roosters to a racoon for several stupid reasons that did not occur to me at the time, such as the fence being too close to a tree's low-hanging branches, the gate having been unprotected by the hotwire. Little lapses in security such as this, because we've never had any problems here for the past X years, and then one day, BAM! So yeah, you've got to be constantly vigilant against the risk of predators. Also, Easter Eggers are huge troublemakers and just love to fly over the net and make nests all over the place. They're clowns.
  8. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    I also live on 1 acre. The entire acre is fenced by chainlink with a medium dog running free in the fence. I have large lots for my birds that are used when there is a garden. All together I keep about 100 chickens of various breeds. I also have a "freerange" flock of about 20 bantams that have no lot, but are in the fenced yard.

  9. chicksbestfriend

    chicksbestfriend Songster

    Jul 12, 2010
    Maui, Hawaii
    I also have an acre that is fenced in with 61 birds ranging from sun up to sun down, with 5 dogs roaming the property, and there is more than enough room for all of them. In fact, I am going to join Matt and add some more to my flock soon. The dogs keep the predators away while they are ranging during the day and the only time I have lost one to a predator is when I forgot to let the dogs out! Shame on me!
  10. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Crossing the Road

    Jan 18, 2008
    I agree with the others, it depends on what you want them for and how many you want but an acre should be plenty big enough. also, if youre free ranging, you have to be extra vigilant and careful about predators too! good luck! [​IMG]

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