The following statements are my opinions that I have made according to my studies and experiences. I am not a doctor or an “authority” on the subject. I invite you to do your own studying and then you can decide if chickens are for you and your family.
April, I am seriously interested in the chickens. I was wondering if you could give me a little heads up to what I am getting myself into. I am wondering what you have. How many chickens would I need at a minimum for them to be happy. Also, How large of a structure would I have to build? I was thinking two or three chickens. What to do you think?
Chickens are very easy, just feed them and keep them watered. If you google chickens you can find out the particulars, but we have 10 and a coop that was 4×4. The chicken yard is 16 square feet. We have 3 nesting boxes, and that suits them just fine. If we wanted only 2 chickens, that would be plenty of room. My neighbor has 1 chicken, and she lays eggs just fine.
I just looked up in our notes and found the following:
Laying hens need 1.5 sq. feet side and 8 sq. feet outside.
Large hens need 2 sq feet inside, and 10 sq. feet outside.
Nests- 3 laying hens per nest. There are patterns or designs also on the net if you are interested in building a coop. My husband can build coops if you are interested. He charges for time and materials. (He used to be a builder, so he has quite a lot of experience.)
When we bought our chickens, 3 died right away, and 1 has died since. Apparently this is a common occurrence with chickens. So, I would buy a few extras.
Hope that helps, April 🙂
Question: What are your thoughts on the chickens and the bird flu? Would this increase your risk of getting the bird flu?
Answer: As far as I understand, transient birds transmit the bird flu. It doesn’t come from birds that don’t already have it. The key is to keep foreign birds out of your pens, and this can be done with proper fencing and other precautions. I personally don’t live with my birds, as do the people in China that have gotten bird flu from their own chickens. I also don’t go to open chicken markets where there are many diseases.
Bottom line, could you get it from your own chickens, yes, but I am not going to worry about them, or me at this time. It could be years before it hits Utah, and at that point, I can move them in the garage, or slaughter them, and start hatching their eggs for a new batch of chickens.
April, Wondering about cost to build chicken coop for around 8 chickens. Thank you again, Wendi
The cost depends on how big and elaborate or how simple you do it. You can spend from $100 to $1500 pretty easy. Wood is getting to be expensive, but if your husband can build it for you, then you can get by on the lower end. I have seen chickens in old dog houses with a nesting box inside, as well as cute elaborate buildings. At Thanksgiving Point, they have a 3 sided lean-to, with a roosting stick. You can spend as much or as little as you want.
Hope that that helps, and thanks for asking.