So how many chickens should you start with?
I would suggest that if you are completely new to keeping chickens to start with just two or three hens to begin with, and see how you get on. Chickens like to live in groups (birds of a feather and all that) so they will keep each other company.
If laying properly, three hens will provide a family of four with enough eggs to keep the fridge stocked and the poached eggs flowing, so to speak.
How many eggs can I expect?
According to the International Egg Commission, the UK average egg consumption per person is approximately 180 eggs a year, or just under 3.5 eggs a week. So, a family of four would eat about 12 eggs a week, which is exactly what you would expect from three happy, well-fed, spaciously-homed hens.
You should also know that egg production does vary depending on what breed of chicken you keep. For example, a Light Sussex may lay up to 220 eggs a year, while a show breed such as the Orpington may only produce 80 eggs a year.
Also, egg production does vary between winter and summer. During the summer months, most hens will lay an egg a day, but in winter, they will lay fewer, and may even stop altogether. As hens get older, their egg production also slows.