Question about minimum healthy flock size

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Celticdragonfly, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Celticdragonfly

    Celticdragonfly Crowing

    May 17, 2018
    Saginaw, TX
    Hi there - I'm looking for citable information on flock size for happiest hens. My city only allows 3 birds, which I think is ridiculously small. It's also not much for providing eggs for a typical family with kids. Another city near us and similar allows 6. I'm considering going to the city council and speaking and asking them to up the number. The idea fairly terrifies me, but I'd like more chickens. Given how tightly my 3 birds stick together, I think it's important for them to be in a group, and that they'd be happier in a somewhat larger flock - but I need something I can cite and show that will be more convincing than "I, with very little experience, think so".

  2. Stiletto

    Stiletto On the other side of the road

    Mar 20, 2019
    Southern Iberia
    I wish you the best of luck and I do hope you find persuasive material to present to the council.

    I can only offer anecdotal evidence; with groups of three hens I've observed that they don't explore or roam as much as they do in a flock of five or six. They seem more confident when there are a few more.

    Let us know when you speak to the council so we can offer moral support! :)


    For what it's worth, I agree with you that
  3. the cluck juggler

    the cluck juggler Incubator Addict

    Jun 12, 2017
    A flock of chickens should certainly not be any LESS than 3. 2 is not a flock per definition and holding a single chicken is not wise. Asking to heighten the limit to 5 should be within reason without going so high they'll automatically reject you.

    X2 on that groups of 3 or fewer roam less and are less active. I see it a lot in chicks.

    Try searching on flock dynamics and social structure of fowl/chickens. That'll give you something to argue with. Off the top of my head; this article mentions social life.
    Stiletto and chrissynemetz like this.
  4. New2Chicks97

    New2Chicks97 Songster

    Jul 3, 2018
    Washington State
    Maybe pull some information from different cities that allow “urban farming”. Our city bases the number of animals on lot size. 1 chicken per 1,000 sq ft of lot size.

    So really here it varies from property to property. The places closer to down town with smaller lots may max out at 3 hens while places in the suburbs with larger lots would max out at 8-10 hens.

    I would suggest researching some other cities that have chicken keeping laws then present facts and information for your city to review.
    slejdad likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I don't think 'happiness' is quantifiable. ;)
    But smaller flock are harder to 'balance'....if one dies, it's hard to add just one bird.
    The inevitable 'low bird' is a 'bigger' target in a small flock.
    Oh, sorry, those are second hand anecdotes and common sensed opinion.

    This is your best bet....Best of cLuck!
    rosemarythyme likes this.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I agree that three is too small a number, and also think that presenting information about other cities that allow five or six birds will help your cause.
    Living in the boonies is so much better!
    AmyJane725 likes this.
  7. moniquem

    moniquem Crowing

    Feb 3, 2013
    I also live in Spokane , WA. I can have a total of 6 chickens based on my lot size but I have 3.
  8. New2Chicks97

    New2Chicks97 Songster

    Jul 3, 2018
    Washington State
    Nice :)

    We live south of town on 10 acres so aren’t limited really. I think the only stipulation on our property is that we aren’t allowed to have a processing plant or commercial poultry farm.
    AmyJane725 likes this.

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