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Help us decide how many hens

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Hi All,

Our DIY walk in run is almost finished, the Solway hen loft should be here soonish, and we (think) we have all of the required accessories....now we just need to decide how many hens to get, and which type!

The main part of our walk in run is approximately 3sqm, with probably just under 1sqm extra underneath the hen house which we plan to put on a table. We will also likely add some kind of mezzanine level. The hens will be let out to free range in our garden probably 3 or 4 times a week.

We had initially decided on 3 bantams but are now considering hybrids instead, as we like the thought of having eggs year round, and full sized eggs at that! We understand that hybrids don't live as long but given that they stop laying after a few years then we think we are ok with that fact. We read that "staggering" the laying hens might be a good idea so that you always have a constant supply, so buying some birds now and some more in 3 or so years. Given that 4 regular hens seems to be the maximum number that we could fit into our setup, we would ideally want 2 now and 2 in the future. However we've read that getting only 2 is not such a great idea. We would be happy with 3 but then we would only be introducing 1 in the future which I've also read isn't a great idea!

Are we overthinking this? 😄

Any thoughts most welcome!

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The run is too small for 3 large fowl in my opinion. If they are going to free range it should be every day or not at all because they are creatures of routine and get stressed and sick when the routine is broken. I'd be looking a 3 bantams.

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