Right number of chickens?

by Keith Capman
(Olivet, Mi, USA)


Right number of chickens? The closest I've ever been to raising chickens is seeing them in the farm/hardware stores. I live in the country. I have done a little research but want to be educated before committing to having chickens.

Last time I didn't research, I wound up with Oscar fish that needed a lot of space and were high maintenance.

I'm not looking to make money with them at this point and want to find out if this is for me. I am also renting at this point.

So I don't want to start with a large number of chickens. Is there a minimum amount of chicks I should start with? (I was thinking of about 2-4)

I think a good question to ask is why you want chickens. If you want good farm fresh eggs, you might find a local farmer willing to share a few dozen free range eggs every month.

As you found with the Oscars, there is always a lot more to keeping live animals than research alone can teach you.

Keeping chickens will be a 24/7 responsibility. If you like to travel, even for the weekend, you will need someone to check on them when you are gone, especially in hot and cold weather.

Keeping chickens is more expensive than buying the most expensive organic eggs at the market.

Your coop should allow 4 sq ft per chicken and their yard should provide 10 sq feet per chicken.

The expense and work of a good environment for the chickens, if well built, should last decades.

There are many predators that love a nice chicken dinner, so the coop and yard need to be able to keep dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, opossums, etc away from the chickens.

Mice and rats may be attracted to their feed and flies will be highly attracted to their droppings in warm weather.

Chickens can get internal and external parasites, so treating and learning to watch for signs of health problems is part of good flock management.

I’ve owned 3 chickens and at times had 30 or more chickens.

The expense is a bit more and the work a little more, the more you have, but making sure all is well with the chickens is a daily routine from sun up until they go to roost for the night and are locked up tight in their safe coop.

Chickens are flock animals and seem happier with the company of other chickens. 2 or 4 chickens would be a good number to start with.

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