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Old 01-30-2019, 08:36 PM
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Default How many chickens are enough?



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Over the past year I have lost a bunch of chickens to dogs and predators. My wife and I rescued two puppies and they killed some of the chickens.

Currently I have around 17 or 18 hens and 2 roosters.

I am thinking about buying a dozen chickens.

Chicken house is 16 X 16 feet, and chicken yard is around 1/2 acre, plus they free range, so room is not a problem.

Thought about getting enough chickens to sell the eggs, but not sure.

I thought about shooting for around 30, which I had a year ago. Almost two years ago I had close to 40 hens.

If I lose any more to predators this is going to greatly affect my flock. Having chickens provides my wife and I with fresh eggs, and fresh meat if need be.

When the power grid went down after hurricane harvey, I was having breakfast of fresh eggs and freeze dried sausage meals.
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:46 AM
Bluesky9 Bluesky9 is offline
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Eighteen hens is over a dozen eggs per day. How many can you eat?
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:59 AM
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I remember having many chickens. If your chickens are free range, too many doesn't really matter. And if you have roosters, let them propagate the natural way. My farther always said, eggs are the cheapest meal U can eat, they still are yet to day. Even if U buy eggs.
My mother sold eggs for extra monies. We had ooodles of bantams, heavy hens, and lots of white leghorns. Many of those leghorns came from town. Where, as a kid, caught them in the alleys nearby the Banquet Foods processing plant.

Now if your chickens are pen raised, predators about galore, feed is purchased, U probably don't need any more than what eggs are used.

Just my opinion.
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Old 01-31-2019, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bluesky9 View Post
Eighteen hens is over a dozen eggs per day. How many can you eat?
A dozen eggs a day taint enough when you have 3 adult children and their brood living within 15 klicks of you.

two bits pops was/is correct.

ymmv of course
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:03 PM
John Galt 1 John Galt 1 is offline
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We keep enough free range chickens to supply our eggs plus 2-3 spare birds because we tend to lose 2-3 birds a year. We don't keep more birds because of the feed requirements along with more poop in the coop. During the summer the birds require almost no feed but in the winter we provide much of their food.

In addition the free range birds like to invade my shop, raid cat food from the porch, and try to lay eggs on the shelves in the barn so we don't want too many of the little wild things running the property.

Every spring we get a few replacement chicks from the local feed store and toss them in a stall in the barn. We don't keep a rooster.

If SHTF happened we'd just get a rooster from a neighbor.
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:20 PM
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I try to go into spring with a dozen hen and a rooster.
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:25 PM
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How much chicken food will you be buying? Where is your balance point between eggs, meat and the cost of feed? I have two dozen birds. I get 1-2 eggs per day this time of year. I spend $20.00 per week on feed. Come spring I will be rolling in eggs but right now things are slow. 12 of those girls were hatched last summer so spring will be good but until then...
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:05 PM
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I have six right now, getting an egg a day, sometimes two. Come spring I'll get four or five a day, which is more than enough to satisfy the egg demands of two people.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:10 PM
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a lot also depends on the breed. we have 5 ( was 6) I get anywhere between 3-5 eggs a day most days. 1-2 when its really rotten weather. ive started dehydrating them along with freezing some. I still have eggs for breakfast 2-3 times a week and still end up giving quite a few away to family.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:52 PM
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Well according to my wife, just a couple more ........We have had between 70-120 at one time. More eggs than we can eat. Keep family and friends supplied. She was selling eggs for hatching at one time. Very expensive eggs if you ask me. But I don't mind.
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:14 PM
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stopped by Tractor Supply today. There chicks and ducks were in. the weather forecast is for the 20's at night. I'll wait a week or two then pick up 3 ducks, 3 banties and maybe a couple brahma's. I;m beginning to find eggs in the sheep and goat pen. Can't get to the chicken pen due to the mud. I'll start the incubator next month.
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:53 PM
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Sometimes chickens cannot be free ranged and must be kept in. Back when I had a Brittany I was able to free range and the dog kept the varmints away BUT when I had a terrier I quit free ranging because I could not trust the dog. Instead I made a run out of chain link fence and I put chain link over the top to keep the hens from flying out.

2 good young hens will give about a dozen eggs a week excepting for the middle of summer. My hens are not particularly well bred and some are no longer young, and so today I got 3 eggs from my 6 hens. Laying will be a bit better as the days get longer but it takes a young hen to lay through winter, unless you give them electric light and I do not
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Old 03-06-2019, 11:32 PM
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You DO know about "chicken math", don't you? You start with one or two, and next thing you know, you've got 20, 30, or more

Counting the two week-old chicks in the brooder, I'm up to 8 roosters (son-in-law brought home 4 he was given from a former co-worker - 2 Sicilian Buttercups, and 2 Cochins; 2 were from last year's egg hatch); 6 are chicks I purchased this year as replacements for the older hens I'll be sending to "freezer camp"; 7 are the young pullets who have just started to lay; the other 17 are the adult hens, some of them are pushing 4 or 5 years old, so will be going off to "freezer camp"
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:42 PM
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We have 11 at the moment, 9 hens and 2 roosters. We generally get 7 eggs a day, depending on snake activity. According to Her, they are pets and we will only be consuming eggs. We throw/give away more eggs than we consume. We are a family of 3.

When there is another hurricane, I am pretty sure our consumption will increase for the duration.
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Old 03-07-2019, 02:32 PM
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As IceFire said, "chicken math" is a real thing. As to how many you need, the correct answer is " just a few more than you have now"...
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Old 03-07-2019, 02:37 PM
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I have historically tried to keep about a dozen hens, sometimes have as many as 18 or 20 when I'm introducing new hens to the flock and removing older ones... That generally gives us plenty of eggs to use and keep my 93 year old dad, son, and daughter in eggs (in the spring through late summer, not so good during/after the molt)... Also, typically give away eggs to close neighbor that helps watch over our place as we do theirs...
Started with a mixed bunch of hens and a rooster, crosses between buff orpingtons and barred rocks... best producing non-hybrid chickens I ever had... As they aged, I tried replacing them with different breeds, the last being straight barred rocks that were the worst producers I ever had...
Now I get a dozen 12 month old Red Sex Link chickens from a guy I know for $4 apiece, and get 11 or 12 eggs every day of the year... replace half of em every year to 18 months... YMMV
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Old 04-04-2019, 08:25 PM
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Default There IS the perfect amount..

How many eggs do you like to eat per week, in your household? Once you have that number, figure 200% that number in hens. From a preparedness standpoint, you have to keep a rooster (1 per dozen hens) and have the skills/ability to perpetuate your flock.

Heritage breed chickens are the best. Look locally for folks that have chickens that free range EFFECTIVELY and still have instinct to go broody and forage for their own food. You shouldn't have to feed your chickens commercial feed at all for the spring, summer and fall months, except for table scraps and garden waste.
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Old 04-05-2019, 11:38 AM
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Tractor supply had full sized cochin so I picked up 3. that was all they had. Also 3 ducks. I also started the incubator and added duck eggs and eggs from my cochin pen. The plan is to add some turkey eggs and guinea eggs if I can find a nest. If not, I'll buy 3 guineas when they hit the feed store. Spring is here. As for free range? the coyotes sneak in at night and kill birds out of the pen. My brittany is also hard on birds out of the pen. In the pen they are safe, llamas and pyrenees protect them
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