Wanting to start raising chickens need help!


10 Years
Mar 17, 2009
My wife and I want to raise some chickens, however dont know how many to start with or how big the pen should be or what kind of chickens we should get? I already have a shed just need to build the pen. please help!


10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
Vancouver, WA
Hello and welcome.

I really highly suggest getting yourself a book on raising chickens. I am just starting out as well and my coop was just finished recently and my chicks are 5.5 weeks old. Questions about how many, what breeds, how much space you need, etc are all answered in one easy place in a book. There are many great books on the subject. Check out Amazon or your local book store. Storey's books are always a good bet (very detailed, though).

Read the book and then come on here for clarifications and answers to your other questions. This is a great site but is filled with so much information that I think it is important to get the background from a book first.

Good luck to you!

Also, if you would like to read about the books I used and the breeds I chose, etc... please click on the link to my blog in my signature on this post. Check out the posts on February 8th and 9th for a good start and feel free to read forward from there. I have my whole planning process laid out from the start, plus lots of pictures of my coop, run, and birds.

Good luck to you!


10 Years
Feb 18, 2009
Canyon Lake, TX
Depends on what your looking for in a chicken. Are you looking for egg production? White, brown or other? Lawn decorations? Huggable hens? Broody vs. Non-Broody?

I'm not a chicken expert but this is what I've learned from BYC so far:

White Egg Production - can't beat Leghorns, but they're not too into human contact and they might be kind of noisey.

Brown Egg Production - Rhode Island Reds or New Hampshire Reds are suppose to be really good. Australorps are great too!

Other - Easter Eggers have nice green or blue eggs.

Lawn Decorations - Who can beat those adorable silkies!

Huggable Hens - Every hen is different but some breeds are typically more sociable, such as Australorps, Barred Rocks, Orpingtons, Delawares, Silkies and I'm sure many more.

Here's a chart that I found very helpful when choosing my chickens.

If you go to Index and the Frequently Asked Questions, you'll find a lot of information.

You've come to the right place! There are a lot of very friendly, knowledgable chicken-people here.

Good luck!


11 Years
Jan 5, 2009
SE Connecticut
from SE CT
Figure on 4 square feet per chicken( for large breeds) for your hen house. If you have a large run, you can go to about 3 sq ft per chicken with the hen house. That said, I found plans for a hen house that was 8'x8' that could house 15-20 hens. The key with housing is to have good ventilation but NOT drafty. This could kill your chickens.

Choosing what you want for breeds depends on what you want them for, i.e. pets, eggs, eye candy, or all of the above. Check with the breeds on Murray McMurray Hatchery's website and mypetchicken.com (even if you don't order from them) as they both have great descriptions of their breeds characteristics. Also on mypetchicken.com is a breed selector tool that will help you to narrow down your choices (but they don't offer all of the breeds that show up).

Your best place to start is right here...glad to have you aboard. Check out the Chicken 101 section and the forum on raising chicks. You will learn a lot. After you read those and you still have questions, use the search tool to find what else you're looking for. Have fun!


12 Years
May 24, 2007
Welcome to BYC! I suggest using the Search feature at the top of the page and typing in key words for what you are researching at that moment. You will get hours and hours worth of great threads that will answer almost every question you can come up with. If you don't find an answer there - ask that specific question and people here will give you lots of helpful answers.

Have fun!


12 Years
May 22, 2007
Greeneville, Tn

If you are in a town or city first off find out if you are even allowed chickens. After that how big is your shed you want to convert? How big is your yard? Like Australorpchick said nail down your idea of what you want chickens for right now. Is size a factor ie. standard chickens or bantams. Is noise a factor. Just make a list of good and bad then go from there when reading about breeds. Whatever you do do not rush into this and buy chicks without knowing what you are buying for you might have to get rid of them later for they do not work for you. It is not hard to find a breed or breeds that you can live with, check out the Breed and gentics section here. Or if you have a breed you want to know about do a search on it here to find out whatevery one who owns it says about that breed.

**One last thing be careful of this site and those on it for they will get you carried away and before you know it you will have tons of chickens.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Bozeman, MT
**One last thing be careful of this site and those on it for they will get you carried away and before you know it you will have tons of chickens.

So true. I am new as well and this sight is the best for informaton and help. I have 25 chicks coming 4-20-09. I wish i would have done a bit more research before the order and looked into the javas and delawares. Cool birds and are in need of help to keep the breed going. Good luck!
Bozeman, mt​


Jul 26, 2008
Bagdad KY

My advice will be : from self experiance first thing you need to do get your chicken (chicks ) frm the hatchery and make sure they are vaccinated, last year I made a big mistake when I bought pullets from a guy down the road and it costad me to get red of all of them after I spend a lot of $$$$ and got real upset, they were desease carrier.

seconed try to start with a small flock meat/ eggs that way you can eat some of them and get enough eggs.

and I think the other members had covered your ?? realgood.

best of luck.


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