Backyard Chickens 101

Tyler MayhanMiscellaneous

Backyard Chickens 101

You’ve found your dream property in the country, and you are ready for your first chickens! Here are some frequently asked questions to get you started:

How much ranging space?

Chickens in a fenced yard need at least 10 square feet of space each. A 16′ x 16′ pen would support a maximum of 25 chickens. More space means happier chickens.

How much sleeping space?

Each chicken needs 2 to 3 square feet of coop space (if they have an outside yard during the day). A 4′ x 8′ coop would support 12 chickens comfortably.

How many nesting boxes?

Laying chickens share nesting boxes. A good rule of thumb is one nesting box for every 3 chickens.

Does the coop need insulation?

Except in extremely northern climates, chicken coops do not need insulation or external heat. They need to be draft free, but still ventilated. A completely weather sealed coop will be harmful to the chickens.

Do you need a rooster to get eggs?

You do not need a rooster to get eggs. Mature female chickens will lay eggs without a rooster. You need a rooster if you want fertilized eggs and baby chicks.

How many eggs do you get?

The number of eggs depends on the breed and age of the chicken. A general rule of thumb for young, healthy chickens is five eggs per week per chicken. Usually less in the winter.