second try


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 16, 2009
Roosevelt TX
This will actually be my second try at having chickens, the first was rather tragic. I went into the local feed store several years ago and just fell in Love with this darling little chick and the store owner gave it to me along with another to keep it company. I figured that if the pea fowl would live in harmony with us without a cage the chickens would as well. (after they had grown a bit of course) They did for several months. Then one morning I found only a bunch of feathers in the yard. The area was only dirt and there were no tracks of any kind so I figured it was an owl as it happened at night. I then took the other chicken to a person that had coops and raised several different kinds of chickens where it would be taken care of. Lesson learned, dont get an animal till you can take care of it properly. We are now going to build an 8 X 15 (regular stud wall height) building on a slab and put 3 rows of nesting boxes and a roost on each end and food and water in the middle. Would this be enough space for up to 50 chickens? I want to let them run free durring the day and close them up in the coop at night. If I let them out in the morning, and not feed them till evening (in the coop) will they go in without a fight? We are 6 people and would like to have a few eggs to sell as well so we thought we'd order 50 knowing that they will probably not all survive to adulthood and hoping that will be enough for 1 or 2 to want to sit and replace the ones we (or a varmit) eat. Comments and advice gladly accepted.


11 Years
Jan 23, 2009
Irwin, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg area)
from SC


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
Usual recommendation on BYC: 4 sq ft for standard bird in coop, 10 sq ft in run. I got 25 last spring with a plan similar to yours; I have 4 left; rest lost to predators. This year's 50 will be in a run, bigger than 10 sq ft per bird.

Most people don't seem to have much trouble getting them in the coop at sundown, but some do. My older ones come to the coop at dusk on their own. I call them with the same call and give some treats every day, small amounts, just so they will come to me when I want them to. They will come out of the woods or from across the field when I call them at any time of day. With the new ones, I offer the treats around dusk, using the same call. When they go into the run, the treats will be offered around dusk in the coop. It is evidently pretty natural for them to go in at dusk, at least if they have learned that the coop is home. I doubt you need to withhold feed to accomplish that.

For my old flock, I have always kept feed available in the coop at all times, as is recommended here. They don't eat much of it. I'd say that close to 90% of what they eat, they find on their own. Personally, I like that there is something to eat if they are feeling hungry or the weather is just too yukky (it does not snow here and they have foraged daily over 2 winters.) Some days they come in the coop for "lunch," esp. if there is heavy rain. Their main treat is scratch feed; a bag lasts forever. I have read that no more than 10% of their treats should be other than grower or layer, whatever they are on. They are also good at disposing of leftovers that I don't want to eat. Many people give their kitchen scraps but mine won't eat most of them. Guess they like bugs better.

I really like the idea of free ranging, but want some meat in the freezer this coming year, so will go with the fence for the new batch, in the hope of controlling most predation, at least til we get all those roos (more than 25!) slaughtered. With free ranging, obviously I lost a lot more, but I also bought a whole lot less feed.

And mine lay in the coop (6 hens stood in line to use one nest and ignored the rest; not unusual.) For 50 hens I would not waste materials building more than 10 nest boxes. If I bought 50 straight run I'd build 4 or 5, or else a couple of community sized boxes (like 2' to 4' wide.)

Just one person's experience, of course. You will find your own route. There are plenty of other people's experiences on this site to give you more cues.

I did have a broody hatch and raise a chick last fall. Hoping for more this year. Ideally, my flock will eventually replenish itself. Bought breeds this time that are at least somewhat likely to go broody, but all dual purpose, to eat most of the roos and get eggs to eat from most of the pullets.

Wow that was long. You sounded like you were interested in other peoples' experiences, though. Lots of people have chickens as pets. I love being around them and do handle them, but I don't name them and basically see them as livestock. But I also sit and watch chicken TV....

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