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How many chickens is the right number of chickens?

Lately I’ve been contemplating how many chickens is the right number of chickens. I think the sweet spot lies somewhere between the low end being the amount of chickens your property can feed with on site food sources (like Joel Salatin mentions in the audio) and the high end being the number you need for your personal egg consumption and hatching to sustain your flock.

Chickens are the least sustainable of all the animals we raise. That is partly because we’ve been raising enough chickens to provide hatching eggs for many other families, not just what we need here.

We recently used the last of the eggs we had stored from spring and summer, and we’re feeding about 150 chickens right now since there’s not much for them to forage during winter – while only collecting between 2 and 6 eggs per day since they don’t lay many eggs during the dark short days of winter. 😅

We do have some on site resources to feed them, but not enough for this size of a flock and so we’ve been refining our flock and hatching egg offerings for a number of years, getting closer to the target of that sweet spot. (We could have gone much faster with reducing our flock but we love all the breeds we have and find it so hard to pick!)

For 2023 we are focusing more on Bresse and less on having a lot of breeds for rainbow hatching eggs. Bresse are becoming more popular since they are a meat breed but they still provide plenty of very large eggs, and those eggs are hatchable too so unlike most meat birds that you buy a chicks, each family that keeps Bresse has their own source of chicks for both chicken eggs and meat to sustain their flock!

Have you figured out what your sweet spot is?

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