CorpsmanUp wrote:Just bought a house with some land that will finally allow me to get some chickens.
Plan on starting with a couple and see how it goes.
phalanx wrote:In my experience 3 or 4 chickens is pretty much the same amount of work as 5 or 6 chickens;
If you haven't raised them before, I would probably start with around half a dozen if you have the room.
And I wouldn't grab a rooster with the first batch. The hens will lay eggs without a rooster, and it will let you get used to taking care of them without the noise a rooster will make. You can always add a rooster in - and if you only have a couple hens, the hens will likely end up in bad shape from his constant 'attention.'
It also gives you a bit of a cushion in case a local 'critter' finds your coop. We lose chickens each year to coons, possums, stray dogs, foxes, coyotes, cars/trucks backing over them... so give yourself a cushion for when 'life happens.'
And if you have a garden - you probably want to fence it off if you free range the chickens. They will do a good job taking out seedlings when they dig chicken sized divots dusting their feathers, or scratching up dirt looking for bugs, and often find many greens 'tasty' and will pick them apart...
And if you get more eggs than you can eat, sell them or give them away to family that doesn't have chickens.
We sell eggs regularly. Between what we sell and eat, we generally come out a few dollars ahead on what we spend keeping/feeding them (but not much).
And if you really want to keep down bugs, don't rely on chickens. If you can tolerate the noise, guinea fowl are far better. Chickens will eat mostly feed and just pick at bugs when bored. You can force them to eat bugs by cutting back on their feed - but they will respond by laying fewer eggs. Guineas will occasionally pick at feed, but pretty much spend the day hunting bugs. They also eat ticks, which chickens tend to ignore. I would say that at least 90% of the food that goes in our guineas - they find for themselves. Which is good because they are just there to eat bugs and make noise when visitors show up. There is no money in keeping guineas.
Good luck with the chickens.