I understand that raising chickens need proper planning when it comes to the number of birds you want to keep. This is one of the challenges many beginners face from time to time. If you are one of them, read on to learn more about raising a successful flock.
So, how many chickens make a perfect flock? The answer to this question depends on many factors. Key among them is your budget. Other factors follow suit to make your project more meaningful and successful.
Since chickens are social animals, isolating them from the flock is not a good idea. So make an effort to choose between three and six birds for a start. This number is just fine, and it ensures that each bird has some company. Raising six chickens at once will enable you to have a steady supply of fresh eggs for your family.
A mature chicken or hen can lay almost two eggs in three days on average. With six hens under your care, you should expect no less than twelve eggs in three days.
In one week, you will be enjoying an endless supply of 36 eggs, only if other factors remain constant. This amount of eggs will be more than enough for your family. As such, you may sell the surplus to your neighbors and make some money in the process.
You must ensure that chickens become more productive during the first two years of their lives. Beyond that age, their egg production slows down. But two years is enough time to have replaced the less productive birds in your backyard. Your replacement should only involve young chickens or rather chicks. Alternatively, you can hatch fertilized eggs to get your chicks, although this is not recommended.
Below is a guideline to follow when choosing the number of birds for your flock.
Why You Need To Raise Chickens
There is a lot more to think about when starting your backyard chicken project. That is why you need to consider several factors as a beginner. Each element plays a critical role in determining the number of chickens you are looking to raise in your flock.
Keeping chickens is a lucrative business and a fulfilling hobby. As a business, you will have to account for every coin you spend while anticipating your returns in the future.
At the same time, you will have to strategize on how to keep your flock safe, healthy, and productive. Once you meet these requirements, nothing will prevent you from raising your flock. But you will have to commit to this project to achieve a growing flock.
What to Consider Before Getting Backyard Chickens
Keep in mind that nothing comes the easy way. You have to struggle in order to succeed. The same case applies to raising chickens.
Here are the factors to consider before acquiring chickens for your new project:
Check Your Local Ordinances
The first thing to do when purchasing your first flock of chickens is to check your local town ordinances. These ordinances will help you to know if you are allowed to raise chickens in your neighborhood. Likewise, they will tell you if there is a limitation to the number of birds you can keep at one time.
The main reason why you need to confirm with your local town ordinances is to avoid making a wrong investment. The ordinances will determine whether you are going to spend your time and money on your intended project or not.
After you have checked the local town ordinances, the next step is to ensure that you have enough space for a full-size chicken coop or hen house.
Just like human beings, your chickens will need a shelter to keep them warm and safe throughout. The shelter should hold all your birds, including waterers, feeders, and nest boxes.
Also, the same shelter should have an area designated for roosting. All these poultry facilities should serve every chicken within the coop. For instance, a nesting box should cater to at least three hens.
Another thing to consider when designing a coop is the size. This structure should be large enough to allow you to stand in it when collecting eggs and shoveling manure. If you want to furnish your flock with a simple henhouse, make sure it is sturdy and predator-proof.
Your flock of chickens will need food to survive. Food will help them stay healthy, grow well, and produce high-quality meat and eggs. Chicken food is usually affordable, and you can find it from various poultry stores.
You can also feed your birds some treats such as vegetables, kitchen scraps, fruits, and serials. All these types of food will provide them with essential nutrients that they need to stay healthy.
Most importantly, treats will help you save some money on commercial feed. But remember to feed them on different treats in moderation.
Amount of Light
You need to consider the amount of light your chickens will need. Light is critical when it comes to the production of eggs. This explains why hens lay eggs in spring and summer all the way to fall.
Layers require between 12 and 14 hours of uninterrupted daylight to lay more eggs. During this period, you should look forward to collecting eggs once or even twice every day.
Look for Enough Space
Space is a very significant factor that you should not ignore when setting up your first backyard project. Here space entails quite a lot; it could mean the area inside the coop and outside.
As such, you will have to consider the amount of space in your backyard where your chickens can roam freely. In other words, you should have enough space to free-range your birds when it is appropriate to do so.
Find enough time to gauge the space in your backyard. Do a little survey and pick the appropriate spot where you will be letting out your birds to free-range. This space will most likely dictate the number of chickens you will be able to keep in your backyard.
For example, you may need a penthouse complete with a run to hold 2-10 hens. This type of structure will provide your flock with a safe foraging ground when you allow them to free-range.
When working out the amount of space your birds need, pay attention to the breed you are going to raise. This is attributed to the fact that different chickens have different sizes and needs. No wonder there are large, medium, and bantam breeds.
On average, a medium-sized bird would require at least three square feet of space inside the coop. The same bird would need between 8 and 10 square feet outside the coop.
But the more space you set aside for your flock, the happier they will be. Overcrowding can lead to serious health problems, not to mention feather picking. More importantly, their space should be appropriately fenced to keep predators away.
Be Ready to Keep the Coop Clean
Get prepared to shovel manure all year round. This routine exercise will keep the coop clean while providing you with enough organic fertilizer for your garden.
Chicken droppings are known to contain essential elements that will make a few crops in your garden flourish. In addition to that, this type of manure is safe and free of harmful chemicals.
Compared to commercial fertilizer, chicken manure is the most preferred source of nutrients for those practicing organic farming. And if you have a sizable number of the flock, you can really benefit a lot from their manure.
Find a Trusted Chicken-Sitter
Finally, you should consider hiring a chicken sitter when going on vacation. Your chicken sitter should be someone you can rely on, let alone trust. This individual must have prior knowledge of handling different breeds of chickens.
Additionally, the person should know when and what to feed your flock while you are away from your home. Keep in mind that this is your investment, so you need to take care of it at all times.
How much do I need to start keeping backyard chickens? Chicken keeping costs money. Most of the cost comes from the materials to make and furnish a chicken coop. Overall, it may cost you between $400 and $800 when getting started. Again, this amount of money depends on the size of the flock, run, and coop.
What is the ratio of hens to roosters should I consider when raising chickens? It is advisable to assign one rooster at least four hens. But a single rooster can serve up to 16 hens in his prime.
The number of chickens that make a growing flock depends on many factors. Space, chicken feed, security, and type of breed are just a few factors that influence the number of chickens you can raise at once.
The need for fresh eggs and delicious chicken meat can determine the size of your flock as well. With these factors in the back of your mind, you can raise at least six hens at the same time. Or you may increase this number depending on your resources. Chickens are easy to keep and will not cost you much to get started.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!