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Coop Size Question

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

We designed our coop/run for four chickens.  They have a 4'x4' coop with one nesting box and two and a covered run that is 7'x7' they have two roosts and only use one roost.  One of our chickens died and so we have three living in this setup.  We would like four chickens.  We don't feel it is easy to add just ONE chicken because that little one would have to live alone for a long time.  I can double the size of the run to be a 14x7 and make it so we can shut off the other half of the run while the chicks grow.  With this much outdoor space, do you think five chickens could share that coop (I'd add a nesting box and an alternate small shelter elsewhere for the also)?

post #2 of 11

You could possibly get by on that set up but a good rule to go by is 4 sq. ft. for every bird in a coop and 10 for the run you would be fine with the run and the coop would be just over 3 foot for every bird not bad they can get by on two plus if they are outside more.

post #3 of 11

If the coop is strictly for roosting and egg laying, and there is plenty of shelter in the run, you should be fine. 

post #4 of 11
You may have some integration issues so when you build the new 7’ on the run put that new shelter there and build it so you can block that are off. Having them side by side like that can make integration much easier. It just gives you a tremendous increase in flexibility in dealing with situations.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Even when it was -18F out the other day, the chickens weren't in their coop at all except to roost and lay so I wondered how much the behavioral issues would come into play.  I don't want to integrate just one chicken, but I also don't want to build a new coop so I thought I'd get some advice from others who may have a similar setup.  We would definitely build the new part so that they would have a small opening that would connect the two 1/2's of the run that I could block off so that we could raise the new chicks in the new half of the run until they were all roughly the same size and used to each other.  The run would be predator proof (hardware cloth sides with hardware cloth buried in a trench all the way around the run, welded wire on top, it's own access door), but I'd probably only build a small shelter in the other half of the run that wouldn't be sufficient for a bird in the winter - just a place that could eventually serve as a second nesting box and some additional shelter.  I will attempt to build the new part of the run with a slanted wire topped roof so I could put a tarp on it during the wet seasons and have it not collect water or snow.  But could take it off as well.  

 

Our bird that died is a Mereks suspect (lost the use of his legs before he died) so we have to get vaccinated chicks.  Who knows, maybe we will get a hen and a roo and be left with four birds.  HA HA.  We don't really want more birds than that - too many eggs!!!.  We wanted to wait a year and add the new birds in year three, but the three birds we have now are just barely meeting our egg needs for breakfast with little leftover for baking, hard boiled egg lunches, fritatas, sharing, etc and we are getting 2 a day (with a few more days off now that it is winter). 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

And I should say, THANK YOU to all of you who replied. I appreciate it. 

post #7 of 11

Absolutely 5 birds can share that space. If integrating older birds and when selling the minimum I sell or add is 2. It really helps with pecking of integration if there is another to share the burden. I laughed just now after typing that but it's true.

 

I'd get two full grown pullets to add. If your going to go with chicks then get six chicks in spring and use the 7x7 new space to raise them up. That way you can sell out the older birds or some combination there of to have around 6 birds when the chicks grow out. A 4x4 coop is plenty big for 6 birds if they only use it to lay eggs and roost at night. That's if the nest box is external mounted, 10x10 hole in coop to access the nest box. 

 

I manage birds exactly as you are. Don't ever lock them in coop (excepting night for predator protection). Keep food and water outside etc. My birds are outside everyday no matter the weather.

 

 

 

Here is my winter set up for foul weather. The lean-to and tarp block wind from north and west. The house sort of blocks major wind from the east and they've full southern exposure. For the nay sayers that tout a bird needs 4 sqft each in a coop that coop is only 4x7. Was 14 full grown birds using it but culled out three cockerels so down to 11 birds. 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Egghead_Jr - 1/8/16 at 1:05pm

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Our birds are never locked in their coop.  It is open 24x7, but they have a secure covered run that is predator proof and never free range.  It's the way it has to be.  Our neighbors let their ducks out for one day and a raccoon got them all (6 or so).  

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

 

This is their setup for most of the year.  We added plastic for the winter months to keep drafts out. In the summer we put a roll of bamboo fence on the West side to give the chicks some shade.  We might put that on the South facing side as well this year.  Poor things get hot! 

 

 

The nesting box is inside, but they still have plenty of room.  The buff in that pic is a nesting box hog.  

 

The little door you see on this side is the egg box access door. 

post #10 of 11

If you've got weasels in your area then I'm sorry to say your run is not predator proof. It's a loosing battle or very expensive fix to weasel proof a run. I highly recommend closing your coop door every night. I don't know of any region other than desert or urban area far from water that does not have weasel. And unless you have a dig proof apron around your run skunk and other predators will get in. Honestly, it's all honey and cream until one sad morning. It's happened to me and you read about it all the time. Consider closing you coop every night when many predators are very active.


Edited by Egghead_Jr - 1/8/16 at 1:45pm

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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