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How To Raise Chickens In A Small Backyard

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You want to know how to raise chickens in a small backyard? I got you covered sister.

There is something about having chickens. They are interesting to watch and bring character to your home.

They are easy to get started with if you have not had much experience with livestock. AND they are very affordable compared to other animals.

Whatever the case they are often the first thing people look at getting when they are the heart for the country life and finally get a piece of property even if it’s small. (If you are in the city keep on reading girl this is for you too)

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Then there are people who don’t get them because they think they need a lot of space to keep backyard chickens.

The truth is you really don’t need to have as much space as you think to raise chickens for your family. The amount of space needed in the coop and chicken run will vary a little bit depending on the breed temperament.

Related post: How to tell if my hens are laying.

If you get a very energetic and opinionated breed you will defiantly need a larger amount of space to avoid the birds getting into trouble and or getting cranky with each other.

If you are new to chickens and what a straightforward no-nonsense book I LOVE any livestock books put out by Storey publishing.

Now I am not saying a large amount of space is a bad thing. The more space each chicken has available to them will cut down on bullying and also improve flock health.

The main purpose is so people want to raise chickens don’t miss out because they thought they needed to have more property.

General Space Measurements For Backyard Chickens

These space measurements are a guide for you to find a building to work for shelter and a fenced-in area for protection if at all possible. If you don’t have a run of some kind you will experience losses in the flock.


  • 4 square feet of floor space per Large breeds.
  • 3 square feet of floor space per Bantam chicken

Roosting (Perch) Space

All domestic chickens put themself “to bed” or go to roost at night which is AWESOME. It is their way of staying safe and off the ground while they sleep. If a predator is close by they just freeze and don’t really do anything to protect themselves. Which is the main reason they need the coop to begin with. Not so much daytime shelter from the weather but it’s more predictor protection.

They will naturally find a spot to roost if you don’t provide one and they will be scattered all over the place where ever they feel like finding a space. So you have to be consistent and keep putting them in the space you want them to roost at night and they will get the hint.

For us it has always taken about 5 nights before all of the flock gets the idea.

  • 12 inches of perch space per LF chicken
  • 9 inches of perch space per Bantam chicken

Chicken Run

  • 10 Sq Ft of ground space per standard chicken
  • 7.5 Sq Ft of ground space per bantam chicken

Backyard Chicken Breeds That Do Well In Smaller Spaces

These are the top five chicken breeds I would recommend for their calm temperaments and laying ability. I have raised most of them and never had a chicken of these breeds be aggressive.

Don’t hold me to it though because there is are always those special ones that like to prove you wrong. All breed profiles are from cacklehatchery.com

Buff Orpington

  • Weights: Hen—–8 lbs         Rooster——10 lbs
    Pullet—7 lbs         Cockerel—-8 1/2 lbs
  • Purpose: Dual Purpose, egg laying, and meat production
  • Egg Shell Color: Brown
  • Egg Production: 200-280 eggs per year (estimates only, see FAQ)
  • Mating Ratio: 9 Females to 1 Male
  • Country of Origin: England


Colombian Wyandotte

  • Weights: Hen ——-6 1/2 lbs          Rooster—-8 1/2 lb
    Pullet——-5 1/2  lbs       Cockerel—7 1/2 lbs
  • Purpose: Dual Purpose, Egg Laying and Meat Production
  • Egg Shell Color: Brown
  • Egg Production: 180-260 eggs per year. (estimates only, see FAQ)
  • Mating Ratio: 9 Females to 1 Male
  • Country of Origin: United States

Partridge Plymouth Rock

Weights: Hen—–7 lbs               Rooster——8 lbs
Pullet—5  lbs              Cockerel—-6 lbs

  • Purpose -Dual Purpose: Egg laying and meat production
  • Egg Shell Color -Brown
  • Egg Production – 180-240 eggs per year. (*estimates only, see FAQ)
  • Mating Ratio: 9 Females to 1 Male
  • Country of Origin – United States (New Jersey)


As a side note, one thing I love about this breed is that they are large and stocky enough they can’t fly or flutter. So they will stay in almost any enclosure you put them in. I went to only Cochins so they could stay out of my gardens unlike some of the other breeds.

  • Weights: Hen—–8 1/2 lbs         Rooster——11 lbs
    Pullet—7 lbs               Cockerel—-9 lbs
  • Purpose: Exhibition and meat production
  • Egg Shell Color: Brown
  • Egg Production: 110-160 eggs per year (*estimates only, see FAQ)
  • Mating Ratio: 6 Females to 1 Male
  • Roost Height: 0 to 2 feet
  • Country of Origin: Asia


Weights: Hen—–9 1/2 lbs         Rooster——12 lbs
Pullet—-8 lbs              Cockerel—–10 lbs

  • Purpose: Multi-Purpose, Egg laying, and meat production
  • Egg Shell Color: Brown
  • Egg Production: 180-240 eggs per year (estimates only, see FAQ)
  • Mating Ratio: 8 Females to 1 Male
  • Country of Origin: Asia

Cities that allow chickens

You need to make sure that your city allows chickens before you get those adorable little chicks and then have to get rid of them. Here are a few websites with large lists of areas that allow them. However, It might be simpler to just Google your city or call your local county office.

If you are new to chickens and what a straightforward no-nonsense book I LOVE any livestock books put out by Storey publishing.

Keeping Chickens In The Designated Space

This can be one of the most annoying things ever…..

Chickens will not naturally stay where you put them. Period end of story. They are nosy and know no limits. So you have to do one of three things.

  • Find a breed that is too heavy to get out of the fenced-in area.
  • Have an enclosure over the top.
  • Or clip their flight feathers on 1 (ONE) I repeat ONE wing. By doing this you are basically messing with their aerodynamics and they can’t use the air to give them a boost. However when you have chickens that are also good jumpers. That doesn’t matter. We have had a few breeds that is just as good at getting out with or without their wings for assistance.

Start Small With Your Backyard Chickens

Chickens are addicting and it is easy to end up with more than you planned. One might not eat a lot but collectively they will blow through a bag of feed like you never thought possible. So start small and add more if you need them for eggs or breeding.

Preditors Are A Fact Of Life

If you have not lived in the country long or you are not aware of how life is out here. You have to realize birds are on the top of the “favorite snack”list of almost any predator you can think of. It’s not a matter of if but when you will lose some.

  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Possums
  • Fox
  • Hawks
  • Coyotes just to name a few.

Hawks have been a real challenge for us. SO I wrote a post to help you deal with them. Read 8 Tips How To Keep Hawks Away From Chickens

Chickens add character to any farm big or small. Try them out see if you like them and be ok with getting rid of them if they are not for you. That is all a part of building a farm or homestead into something you love.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this information about chickens. My neighbor has chicken and he lets them roam around his yard. I love to watch them. Tweeting! Congratulations on being featured on Homestead blog hop!

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