The first reader question we got was “How did you decide how many chickens you need? I mean how many would fit?”
That’s a GREAT question ! One that is very important to decide from the start!
In our research, of both the internet and local “chicken parent” friends, we determined that 6 hens would be a good number for us to start out our backyard flock. Based on averages for our area, a good laying breed, such as the White Leghorn, will lay 5-6 eggs per week – if they are overachievers you may even get an egg every day from them ! Rhode Island Reds are also good layers we hear.
Since our family consists of my awesome hubby and me, we decided on 6 hens to start off so we’d hopefully get a couple dozen eggs each week. We both love eggs and eat them daily! We did get 3 hens before we really researched well, and luckily those 3 (a Delaware – named Della – and 2 Welsummers – Brownie and Broody) are great layers too and we wanted some brown eggs along with the white ones from the Leghorns (all named “Holly Hen” since we got them from our friend Holly)!!! No, we are not very original with our chicken names, don’t judge! 🙂
So, from our 6 ladies we usually get 4-6 eggs a day…those leghorns really ARE great layers – which gives us an average of about 3 dozen per week.
We have recently added 6 Ameraucana pullets, but they are only 2 months old now and have not yet been incorporated into our little flock yet. They will lay blue/green eggs when they do start producing, one of the reasons that we got them – and they were hand raised by our good friends, Hannah and her son Jacob, at Humble Hollow Farm.
We decided on the extra hens for several reasons – the first one being that we are addicted to our chickens and wanted more!!! Seriously, we LOVE have chickens in our backyard – even our little dog Mike likes the hens! When we let them out of the run to free range a little during the day, he loves to lay and watch them too ! Another reason is that we have family and friends that love fresh eggs, so we wanted to be able to give some to family and sell some too (which is another question we will be answering in our series on Fun Fact Fridays – “do you ever sell chicks or eggs and are there any regulations”.
So, the short answer to the question of “How did you decide how many chickens you need? I mean how many would fit?” is that we wanted about 3 dozen eggs a week so we chose 6 hens to make sure we got the amount we wanted.
The answer to the second part of that question is this: we purchased our coop/run after we decided on 6 hens and bought/built according to the size appropriate for 6 hens. Our first coop (we bought a second one for the 6 new pullets) will hold 6-8 hens at night and has 4 nesting boxes (you really only need about 2 for 6 hens as they share nesting boxes very well!). We also expanded our “run” to accommodate 12 hens to 300 square feet.
Chickens need approximately 4 square feet of coop space (nighttime roosting and egg laying) and 10 square feet of run space per chicken. Of course the more room you can give them, the happier they will be and happy hens = good laying hens!
I hope that answered the question well….hubby and I really enjoy learning more about our chickens, so these questions have been alot of fun !!!! Keep asking and we will be back next Friday for another Fun Fact Friday!