1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

What's the most "comfortable" flock size for 1 person to care for?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Cherstin, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Cherstin

    Cherstin Songster

    Jun 13, 2009
    North Port, FL
    (Not sure exactly where to post this question, but it deals *mostly* with egglaying and care. Sorry if it's not the right spot!)

    Hello, forum! Simple and quick opinion question: What do you feel is the most comfortable-sized, backyard flock for one person to care for? We are a family of four, living in a single-family residential home on a half-acre. I'd like to get enough eggs for a family of four, some leftovers are okay. I'd like to have one rooster for flock protection. I am currently incubating three d'Uccle eggs.

    At what number did you find (or do you think) chickens become less "pet" and more "chore"? And please, I don't mean to offend anyone in saying that you don't love your little guys and gals. I just don't want to find myself overwhelmed and regretful down the road. I have dogs I don't mind feeding and cleaning up after, but that doesn't mean I'd want 50 of them, you know what I mean?

    I don't want too few hens for a rooster, but I also don't want too-big a flock. I've read on the forum that a single roo could be "too much" for just one or two hens.

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. homesteadinmama

    homesteadinmama Chirping

    Mar 30, 2011
    Howdy from my experience the fewer the chickens the more they love you (like less than 5). I also had a rooster for the gals but we had over two acres for them to "free range". We currently have 12 chickens (we are a family of 6) and they aren't really a chore just have to give food and water daily, still fun to give treats to and watch, but have plenty of eggs for us and to share. Problem was the rooster turned aggressive towards us (just doing what he was supposed to), so we chose to eat him. So you may want the roo, but I'd say avoid the problems later on and just stick with gals.
  3. twistedwire

    twistedwire In the Brooder

    Jun 2, 2011
    Yep, what she said [​IMG]

    Make sure your coop is safe from predators and your need for a rooster is moot.

    I have 13 hens, and 4 of them were not tame adults when I acquired them...but they still come running when it's treat time [​IMG] Not as friendly as my red stars that I raised from chicks though!

    I have 15 birds total and it's just me taking care of them by myself. It's manageable [​IMG]
  4. Thomas423

    Thomas423 Songster

    Mar 21, 2009
    Port Deposit, MD
    What I have found in caring for chickens is that it is not the quanity of chickens but the quanity of waterers and feeders that becomes a chore, especially if you have freezing temps in the winter.
    We have multiple pens and brooder boxes/pens. In the summer months it's not so bad to take care of all of them.
    In the winter, I cut back to my 4 main pens. No brooders.
    At least that's what I did last year and I plan on this year.
    We'll see.....I have to turn the incubator off first LOL.
  5. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    I started out with 3, and had that many for several years while living up in the suburbs. It was plenty of eggs for just me and my dad, with a few left over for friends. For a family of 4, I'd start out with 4-6. Still super easy to care for, with plenty of eggs. You can always get more if you find there aren't enough eggs.
  6. MommyMagpie

    MommyMagpie Songster

    Jul 29, 2011
    Salem/Jarvisville, WV
    Another consideration is how many eggs is enough for your family. For my family I figured out that 8 to 12 hens is probably the right number, but we have space limitations and cannot have a roo. We aren't 'eggs every day' people, but we do eat them and also sell them.

    When we went from 2 to 4 hens, even though we doubled the number the amount of work involved didn't double, and even now with 9 chickens in 3 locations (4 in backyard coop, 4 in new-chicken-quarantine in basement, and 1 in a pack n play in the front hall as secondary new-chicken-quarantine) the total time spent is only around an hour a day.

    I wouldn't want more than a dozen if I had to do it all myself, but as you can read in my signature I already have a lot going on. You'll find the right number for your family!
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    I have eleven, and it's not much more work than 4. You just have to consider how much you are willing to spend for housing. The only chores I really do is rake their run daily (did that with 4), change water at night, and rake up their wood chips in the coop. I did all this when I started out with only 4 hens!

    Family of 2 - and I'm the one that does the majority of it. Sometimes I get help from my fiance if it's really heavy lifting (ie: food bags being put away, etc)..
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011

  8. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    My 7 hens provide more than enough eggs for my husband and me - and I regularly give eggs to other family and friends. They're also easy to care for and don't need a lot of space. Of course I've got chicks growing up now - so we've got to enlarge of chicken housing/pens. However, my 7 grown-ups follow me around the yard if they think I"m going to give them treats. They're great fun to watch.
  9. Cherstin

    Cherstin Songster

    Jun 13, 2009
    North Port, FL
    Thank you all for the excellent responses! At this point, I'm still in the process of coop-building and everyone keeps posting to "build bigger than you think you'll need if starting from scratch, because you're always going to want more room." [​IMG]

    Great advice, all of you. The personal responses always mean so much more than just reading a number from a textbook, you know? [​IMG]
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Quote:It's very true [​IMG]

    How many neighbours do you have? Roosters WILL annoy them.. Unless they are farm-loving people as well.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by