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Technically, you would only need 2 hens that lay once per day. That would give you 14 eggs per week if they both layed every day. But they have to be a bit more mature (maybe 10 months to a year?) to start laying every day I think. We have 7 chickens, but they're only 8 weeks old so they still live in the basement and don't lay yet. We might have to give away a lot of eggs
Apparently the laws are getting relaxed a lot. It's becoming a big thing to raise them in the suburbs. We just got 3 hens last weekend--they are a cross between Rhode Island Reds and a red sex-linked chicken (so you can tell what you're getting--apparently only one rooster survives in a flock, so everyone wants hens).
We wanted this kind because they have a reputation for being gentle, and they are supposed to lay about an egg a day. The woman from whom we got them said her kids can take the eggs right out from under them.
My kids are thrilled--they are like pets to them. If this experiment works, we'll be getting more. I'm hoping they can eat all of the ticks out of our yard.
I have two hens at the moment with two younger birds (probably hens - in adolescence, it is hard to tell with Buff Orpingtons). Hens will lay in warmer weather usually once per day. They may slow down a bit in winter months - mine still lay every other day at least. I could use 4-5 hens, so I am hoping the younger two are both hens and will start laying soon - they are about 4 months old now. Some hens will go broody and sit on their eggs to hatch them (I also have a rooster) and that is how I got the two younger ones
My rooster now is very friendly. Buffs are known for their good nature. I once had a brown leghorn that would come running to attack you if he heard the house door open. We gave him to a nearby farmer and the rooster ended up in a stew pot one day when he attacked the guy's legs. Too bad - he was a beautiful thing, but nasty as the devil.
My chickens have a nice coop with nesting boxes for that seals up tight for night time. They free-roam during the day. I live in the country with lots of room, but foxes can be a problem if you don't have a safe place for them to roost at night.
So nice, but so expensive! We bought pretty good chicken coop plans off the internet, and built it in a day. Their needs are simple, a roost, a nesting box (several hens can share one), and a run. It should be movable so they can keep working on a different piece of grass.
We just got a playset and it looks like if it were portable it could make a perfect coop for 1-2 dozen chickens--just wrap it in chicken wire and provide some kind of run. I may try to find a free one on Craigslist when we get more hens.
Is it a lot of work to raise chickens in your yard? I have a decent sized yard but both of us work close to 10 hours everyday and are hardly at home during the week. I'm not sure if I can do all the work required but the idea of having your own egg-laying chickens sounds awesome. We use organic fertilizers for our yard and have plenty of slugs and other such bugs that the hens can feast on.
In warm weather, chickens take almost no daily work at all. Here in Vermont, winters are tough; keeping a path to the chicken house shoveled, keeping the chickens' water liquid, and gathering the eggs before they froze and cracked was enough of a challenge that we eventually gave up on having chickens. I miss them.
OK. This has convinced me that when my husband and I decide to buy a house, I think I want it out of the city limits so I can get a few chickens. I'm renting a house right now and it would not be feasible, but someday.
We live in Seattle, in a typical city neighborhood with lot sizes around 5,000 square feet. I built a cozy little house with cedar shavings about 6" deep. It has a ramp that goes up to it from a small pen about 4'x12'. The pen is tightly fenced, including the roof, as there are a lot of hungry raccoons in our neighborhood.
We started off with ducks, as they are well adapted to the rainy winters here, but a family member was extremely allergic to the duck eggs, so we found a home for the ducks and switched to chickens.
We now have 3 Ameraucanas, wild-looking little chickens with fluffy cheeks and small beaks. They're only about 3.5 months old, so haven't started laying yet, and may not until spring as we're not providing artificial light. When they start laying, we expect an egg a day from each of them during the spring, summer, and fall, and maybe none in the winter.
The chickens are extremely easy to care for in our temperate climate. We have a suspended feeder in an area of their pen that is protected by an overhead tarp, the floor of the pen is covered by about 6" of cedar shavings that absorb moisture well. On dry days, I rake the shavings and turn them. They have a 5 gallon automatic waterer, so some days, when it's very rainy, they simply take care of themselves, spending most of the day in their dry house. On weekends, when I can watch over them, I let them out into the full backyard, where they scratch contentedly. On days when they can't go outside, I give them a bowlful of greens like chopped lettuce, kale, or even grass clippings.