Thinking of adding to my small flock-coop size enough?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sbhkma, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 3 hens - lost 1 a couple months ago. No clue what happened. I found her in the nest box dead. Not eggbound, no injury. She was a 4 yr old Cuckoo Maran. I will be getting some 4 week old chicks next week and will be keeping them in a separate coop & run next to my current 4 yr old hens for a while, but will be combining them at some point. My hen coop is 37 sq feet. Their covered run is another 32 sq feet. Was trying to decide if I wanted to get 3 or 4 birds. I will be getting 2 more speckled sussex (awesome chickens) and 1 or 2 welsummers. I know the coop & run can handle 6 birds. Wondering if 7 is pushing it? They free range for about 6-8 hours daily. Thoughts?
     
  2. KingOfTheCoop02

    KingOfTheCoop02 Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't think there are exact measurements for flock density but the one rule is to have as few birds as possible in the largest space possible. Indeed, red Jungle Fowl live in flocks of five over a several square mile territory.

    Good luck with the Sussex and Welsummer. I love those old European breeds!
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Your run is on the small side. Even though they get out to free range daily, there is always the issue of needing to keep them confined due to predator issues. Crowded chickens are prone to behavioral issues, and more prone to disease due to stress.
     
  4. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sort of what I was thinking. I love my specked sussex and definitely want a couple more of them. Wanted to try welsummers as well, so perhaps I'll just get 3 and see how it goes. I'm certainly not averse to having a bigger run for my birds to keep them happy and not cranky.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Build the new coop and run so when you integrate they can have use of both runs. At the start of integration use Azygous’s safe haven method, have an opening the chicks can get through but not the adults. When you are sure they are integrated, use a larger opening, pop door size maybe or even human size, so they can use both runs. Even if it is not a lot, that increases your space.
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, I think I would go with a couple more chicks. Sometimes, chicks die or don't thrive. However, there is a good chance that they might all make it. However, I do and am able to cull a flock. Some people can't. Also very often one gets roosters...

    If you cannot cull a flock, you should get less chicks. Chicks take up less space, and you can cheat in the spring and summer. However, no matter how much you free range, you really need to cull to fit your set up come the shortening days of winter. At that time, my birds are spending a lot of time roosted up, 14-16 hours a day. At that time more space is best, and if you have winter... bad weather days keep them confined artificially, but close together they are. Each coop has a number of birds that will do well in it, and while one can measure, it is important to listen to the flock. If the tension of the flock is rising, you need to cull.

    Currently I am using a lattice panel as a one way gate. I am very pleased with it. The chicks are going out amongst the big girls and rooster, but if the big birds get too close, they just run like water through the lattice.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  7. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    I won't be culling, which is why I'll stick with 3 pullets. They aren't day-olds but around 4-5 weeks. I am in south central TX so our winters are not generally bad and the girls get out about 8 hours a day in winter. I don't want to worry about undue stress, so I'll limit it to a couple sussex and a welsummer. Thanks for the feedback, folks!
     
  8. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've decided to go with 2 speckled sussex and 2 welsummers. I am also increasing my run space to 125 sq ft. To start out, the new girls will have their own coop and run. The run is about 33 sq ft, the coop is 12 sq ft. Placing the new coop & run right next to the existing one so they can all see and hear each other. If I lose 1 or 2 pullets, I'll still have enough and if I'm lucky enough that they all do well, I should have enough space for it to not be a problem when they integrate. Last thing I want in crowded conditions causing stress.
     

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