Up sizing our number of chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bcfpilot, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. bcfpilot

    bcfpilot Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2015
    Berthoud, CO
    Hi everyone, my family and I are planning on getting a bigger piece of land in the next few months and are going to increase our flock from 8 birds to over 50.

    Im just looking for pointers and tips as itll be our first time owning roosters and that many birds. Is 1 or 2 roosters enough for all those hens? They will have acres to forage.

    I think I have the feeding and watering down. I use sand in my coop floors currently and love it so will trasnfer that idea to the new home.

    Let me know if you guys want any more info on the housing or birds I plan to keep. Looking forward to all the great suggestions, tips and tricks!
  2. Jaredburley

    Jaredburley Out Of The Brooder

    May 7, 2015
    Monterey, La
    8 To 50 is a big leap. But general rule of thumb is 10-12 hens per roo. You could probably get away with up to 15 per. Though.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    What you want the roosters for, would determine how many you need. If you are just buying chicks to replenish the flock, then you really don't need any. Even if you want to allow them to breed then you can still get away with just one or two and confine them with the hens you want to breed as needed. If you don't care who does what, and allow them to chose, then four will do for covering the flock. For protection while free ranging, no amount of roosters is a guarantee of protection. So it comes back to want you want your roosters for, as to how many or few you keep.
  4. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2015
    5 should work as a 1 to 10 ratio
  5. bcfpilot

    bcfpilot Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2015
    Berthoud, CO
    Sounds good. I am looking to only allow the hems to hatch chicks in the spring. And I would like as many as possible to mother chicks for selling and replenishing my flock.

    I wasnt sure if 5 would be too many to get right away. I would like to know whos breesding with who also so they will have seperate runs.
  6. bcfpilot

    bcfpilot Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2015
    Berthoud, CO
    Oh and for protection we plan on purchasing a LGD puppy when we move. Probably a pyrenees or anatolian shepperd.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You'll probably want to re-think the sand with so many more birds. If you look at the feedback on sand in the run, it seems to work well for small set ups, but with so many more birds the maintenance gets overwhelming. I'd research deep litter instead and be prepared to go for that. Otherwise you're going to have a lot of time invested in chores.
    1 person likes this.
  8. bcfpilot

    bcfpilot Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2015
    Berthoud, CO
    Thanks for the tip!

    If I make the run large enough hopefully I wont need either, but that'd have to be a big run for that many chickens.

    They will also be allowed to free range our 7 acres all day if that matters.
  9. jtbrown

    jtbrown Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Southeastern Ohio
    I typically have between 40-70 birds, 1/3 are bantam, but it's a lot of birds. Free ranging definitely cuts down on coop/run maintenance but, be sure you are prepared for,days the birds are penned with enough room. Occasionally long bouts with snow, predator repeat attacks, or high wind keeps my birds penned when they normally free range. I have a 12x 24 pen with 1/3 of it occupied by goats. I have 2 separate large runs (one covered with wire) and several pens within the coop to brood, separate birds for injury, brooding,and pre-slaughter. I am able to butcher but prefer not to, so our neighbors usually help me by culling the birds for their table so I don't end up with large non productive flock. I would love to try sand but atleast in my runs I have used pea gravel with great success. The manure dissolves in about 4-6 inches of stone and it can be raked to be refreshed.

    I also tried to plan on only x number of roosters but then pullets turned out to be boys, etc, and it really helps to have the Roos out free ranging. Some roosters have their 4-5 Hens that they take out every day to free range, one rooster hangs out in the henhouse, and others hang out at the doors. I think of them like bouncers. I always end up with more boys than I want but as long as no one is bare backed and no people aggressive Roos I try to let it go naturally.

    Good luck.
    2 people like this.
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Not sure how much experience you have, but these are my tips, use what you want:

    I would not get the full 50 head all at once. You will have a new set up, and while one always thinks it is predator proof, sometimes you learn the hard way that it is not. Another consideration is with getting all 50 birds at one time, is that you have 50 head of pullets, then two years later 50 (- losses) of old birds. Personally I like a multigenerational flock, so I think I would get maybe 25-30 this year, then add to the flock next year.

    I tend to think of free ranging as more as a fringe benefit for me and the chickens. Mine do love to get out and peck, it will reduce my feed bill in June and July, but after that, there just is not enough bugs available and I live on a ranch. So while people envision them getting out and foraging their feed, they will still need a lot of feed. The more space you have, the more predators you also have, the dogs might work well, but then again, maybe not.

    In the winter, free ranging is strictly limited by the day length. You can use free ranging to cheat in the summer time with your numbers as the days are so long, but with winter, you need to make sure that your flock will live inside your set up, as they are on the roost for 14 hours at a time.

    Good Luck,

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.

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