The answer to this question can vary from person to person depending on their need for chickens. Someone who wants chickens for meat versus an individual who wants chickens as pets can change the factor to this equation. Normally, an average livestock keeper holds anywhere from 12 to 15 chickens; 14 hens and one rooster. A good rule of thumb is to have at least two chickens per family member. So, if you have a family of five, 10 chickens should be sufficient.
Again, it all depends on what the purpose of the chickens is used for. In the next few lines, I’ll be going more in-depth into the proper utilization and adequate volume of chickens you’ll need to know if this question surrounds you.
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To Feed My Family (Using Their Meat)
When using chickens as a source of meat, it is important to understand their well-being as well as quantity in volume. A common question asked is, “How much meat can you get from one chicken?” Usually, one chicken can provide five pounds of usable meat – which may be enough for an individual. But, if you’re planning on freezing your meat for future events, about five or seven chickens would do.
Step 1 – Purchase Baby Broiler Chicks
Usually, these baby chicks grow to maturity in 8 weeks, giving you the opportunity to treat them well while they proper. There are also options that allow you to purchase “heirloom chickens,” where they take about 12 weeks to mature but are fully free from any outside chemicals.
Step 2 – Provide Shelter and Temperature
Providing comfortable quarters is just as important as supplying them with fresh, natural food. Raising baby chicks can be quite the task for a number of reasons. Firstly, baby chicks have a hard time controlling their tempertaure which is why setting up a proper ventilation system will be of dire need. Predators also pose a problem, so ensuring that they’re well-protected is necessary.
Step 3 – Ensure Food and Water
The food they eat will determine the quality of the meat ten-fold. Make sure to meet the baby chick’s protein intake (about 22%), as well as their vital water-intake. They should start off with chick starter feed, then move to a chick grower feed, and finally finish with a chick finisher feed. This will ensure all important nutrient intake while they’re in primal devloement. One chicken will eat about 15 pounds of food during their lifetime, giving you a practical idea into how much food you’ll need.
Step 4 – Let Them Grow at Their Own Pace
During the 8 or 12 weeks of maturity, take care of them as if they’re important to you – they are your food after all. Once they have matured, it will be up to how to butcher them. There are, of course, multiple humane ways to do this.
To Produce a Dozen Eggs per Week
Using chickens as a source of production is easier said than done. You want to make sure that they’re kept in a comfortable coop, are well-nourished, and above all are free to roam an adequate area. Unlike conventional eggs, when you’re raising your own chickens, you don’t have the chemicals nor factories to produce at-large.
When choosing a breed for production, I would recommend the Rhode Island Red, a bird we discussed in greater detail earlier. As mentioned, this chicken can lay up to 250 eggs yearly, which can yield about nine eggs per week. If you want to produce a dozen eggs a week, I would suggest getting three or four Rhode Island Reds. Compared to other breeds, these chickens are quite versatile in terms of climate and friendliness. I’ll provide you with a few tips to ensure that your chickens produce the maximum results.
- Quality Feed
- Clean Nests Boxes
- Open Areas
- Enough Calcium
- Fresh Water
- Parasite Control
Inspecting all of these elements will not only provide you with the best results but also ensure a lifelong of gratitude revolving your chickens.
A Family of Four – How Many Chickens Would Make Great Pets
It’s common for homeowners or farmsteads to have chickens as pets. In fact, some breeds are namely bred as pets. If you’re a family of four and looking for a flightless bird to accompany you through life, the Cochin would be your best bet. Out of all other subspecies, this breed is by far the most friendly. They’re adorable, round, and fluffy. Their personality is calm and sweet, and they get along with other animals very well. They’re also great for children, always wanting to be cuddled and loved. An ideal number of chickens would be anywhere from three to five but could range smaller or larger depending on your resources.
"People talk about fools counting chickens before they hatch. That's nothing. We name them."
-- Orson Scott Card, Alvin Journeyman