How many chickens?

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How many chickens?

Post: #267949 big brew ejit
Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:42 pm

Evening folks,

I have finally cleared some land at the back of my garage so it leaves me with approx 12 square metres if I leave some space for fruit trees next year.

How many chickens could I keep comfortably and what other birds could I keep as well?

They would be mainly for eggs with maybe the odd one for the pot. One of the reasons is to teach my girls where food comes from before it hits the shops as well as a bit of self sufficiency.

I have a garage wall on one side and 6 ft timber fencing on 2 sides, the chickens couldn't get through the gap so I take it that I wouldn't have to wire that. Do I also need to put a chicken wire roof on it as well.

I'm not looking to do this until the new year so not in any rush. Is there any particular good time to buy birds?

Many thanks in advance

Phil

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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #267969 Crickleymal
Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:58 am

You don't need a roof if a) the chooks can't see over and b) you clip the wing feathers on one wing so they can't fly. 12 square metres isn't a huge space so I wouldn't keep more than 4-6 birds on it just for their own sake. Expect it to be turned into a quagmire fairly quickly. Our run is about 10 square metres and we have 5 birds. However most days they get the run of the garden too which gives them about 20 times the area or more.
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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268014 oldjerry
Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 pm

On a smallish area google in 'chicken tractor'.BWs

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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268092 merlin
Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:49 pm

Yes, 6 birds maximum I would say, and if you are in Ireland you will be having a reasonable amount of rain, so I would think about slabbing or concreting some of it, you will get muddy if not. When I lived in the the UK I had warrens for eggs, no good for meat though. Here I have leghorns, great for eggs and the cockrels are ok for the table. They might be a good choice going back to the mud, they have long legs without feathers down there.
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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268106 diggernotdreamer
Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:05 pm

You could get an assortment of large hens and a couple of little bantams for fun. We have a large run to contain the hens for part of the day or if we are out and want to keep them out of our field. We have found that if you get woodchips from tree surgeons or a local woodyard where they make fence posts, and put them down in a very thick layer, they stabilise the ground and also give the chickens something to scratch around in. When they have broken down the chips into a mulch, you can dig it out and you have a useful soil conditioner, then put more fresh chips in. We pay about 20 euro for a huge trailer load and tree surgeons give it to us for nothing as they have to dispose of it quickly. I buy chickens all year round, I buy a few point of lay pullets around September just to keep a few youngs hens in the flock, we usually have eggs all year round, haven't bought an egg for 20 years.

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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268109 merlin
Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:55 am

Thats a great idea, always have loads for chippings left from the firewood
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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268308 big brew ejit
Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:11 am

Many thanks for the replies folks all have given me something to think about. I was originally going to slab the ground Merlin to put a shed on it.
I do have plenty of gravel that I could put down as I would like them to be able to scratch and pick.
I could increase the area by about 4 sq metres to include the bit against the fence that I had kept for fruit trees next year.
Would it be ok to keep trees in the same area?
And last question, could I keep some quails with the chickens eg a mix of about 4 laying hens and 3 or 4 quail if the area was about 15 sq metres?

I would like eggs all year round and maybe 1 or 2 for the pot just so we can experience the fruits of my labour.

Thanks folks

Phil

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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268319 merlin
Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:53 am

Should not be a problem with the quails and chickens together. I planted a number of trees in the chicken quarter when we started, mainly for shade, no problem, they did not even peck them when they were young, but it might be an idea to protect the bottoms for a couple of years. In the UK, I would probably say get warrens for eggs every day an perhaps a maran for the pot, they have great brown eggs by the way.
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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268324 oldjerry
Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:07 am

Truly sorry to disagree here,but as a rule,I would advise very strongly against mixing up poultry.Especially where space is limited.No doubt some people willcome on and say how they all rub along together etc.etc. but in my experience,it s far better from a welfare angle if different types of poultry(which all have entirely different requirements and charachteristics)are kept separate.Hence my suggestion of Chicken Tractors(and you could make one for your quail too).

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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268326 merlin
Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:58 am

Yes, I would agree with oldjerry looking at it, if space is an issue it is probally better not to mix. I have about a quarter acre for the chickens, so mixing does not seem to be an issue.
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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268342 Crickleymal
Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:43 am

I agree with OldJerry. We introduced two new chickens about a month ago and whilst the pecking order is established now there is still the occasional bit of violence. I would be quite surprised if quails would manage to survive.
We've put bark down in the run to give ours something to scratch in when they aren't out in the garden. However we find it doesn't break down no matter how long you compost it for.
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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268360 big brew ejit
Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:19 pm

Thanks again for the speedy replies.

The area will now be approx 15 or 16 sq ltrs so will go for a max of 6 with the the mix you suggested Merlin and will leave the quails out of the equation for now.

However if I had 3 sq meters for quail separately how many could I keep?

Oldjerry a chicken tractor isn't an option due to the the garden but it is getting overhauled next year.

Cheers
Phil

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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268366 merlin
Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:37 pm

Years ago I kept cockatiels, the aviary was outside and was 12 foot long and four foot deep, I know because the shed was 12 foot. I had quails in bottom, I had no more than 6 and 12 at any one time, it worked fine.
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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268404 moocher
Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:19 am

You mentioned a gap?
Quail are a lot smaller than chickens,plus will need different food,
I fed mine wild bird seed,millet,lettuce chick crumb etc ad I got fed up with the fighting and killing so rehomed them.
Chicken wise light Sussex or ixworth would be good layers with a decent carcass.

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Re: How many chickens?

Post: #268409 big brew ejit
Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:10 am

Thanks again,

I am going to stick with the chickens and fruit trees, to much aggro building the 2 pens.
So 15 sq metres and 6 chickens just have to source the birds now and a house.

Cheers
Phil


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