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What is the square footage rule per chicken?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have a 200 sq ft shed, 7 footish ceiling, with an attached 150 sq foot run. What is the largest flock you would keep in that setup?

post #2 of 6

The general rule of thumb is 4 s.f. in the coop/ 10 s.f. in the run/bird.  That would state that you could keep 15 chickens based on your run.  But your coop would allow more than that.  Will you be allowing them to free range?  If that were so, you could increase your flock size.  How big a flock do you want?  

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

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Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #3 of 6
I don't like the recommended numbers, they often cause people to put too many birds into an area. Those are minimum numbers. I have about 800 square feet of shed with total free range, currently I have around 50 birds. They are okay at that level, I have multiple roosts and feeding places plus places where birds can get away from each other. Various pens to go into and fences to climb on. Recommended would be 200 birds, that would be a messy chaotic shed, I plan to add 25 more but that will in my opinion be at capacity and probably a bit over.

I would recommend you start at 25-50 birds than see after a season whether your set up can support more behaviorally. You will also need to enlarge you run a bit.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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post #4 of 6

A big consideration is your feed bill. You get a lot of chickens and your feed bill goes way up, and the work taking care of them does too.

 

I would not put the max in there at first. Leave yourself some leeway, some birds do better than others, some flocks do better than others. If there is a top rule in chicken raising, it would be more space is better. Less birds means more space.

 

I don't like to consider free ranging as a way to increase the number of birds you have, but for most set ups are the reverse with a smaller coop, and a larger run. I would think you could go 40 +/- birds pretty easily.

 

Mk

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #5 of 6

Agrees 4/10 is a bare minimum in most cases...especially if you live in a place with tough winters.

Even if you free range a lot of the time, you may need to confine birds in cases of predator and/or extreme weather events.

 

I assume you are just getting started....keep in mind while planning your housing, you'll need extra room to integrate new birds.

Having a separate but adjacent area in your coop can be a huge benefit...for new birds/chicks, isolating mean or injured birds, broody hens, etc.

 

What are your long term goals for chicken keeping?

 

There are links to 2 great articles in my signature on Space and Ventilation....great basics for a beginner.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #6 of 6

I don't go by "square foot per chicken", either. I feel it's better to watch your birds. Crowded chickens will develop bad habits such as feather picking which could lead to cannibalism. 

 

Your goals for your flock have a lot to do with how much space you need to start with. Are you going to expand your flock? If so, you'll need to have extra space to begin with so you have room to grow. Do you want chickens for pets or mainly for egg production? Will you want to keep them as production slows down and have a chicken retirement home? Or, will you be replacing them as they get older? A retirement home will, of course, require more room if you're going to add younger chickens so you can have the eggs you feel you need. If you cull the older ones (and let me say right now that "cull" doesn't mean "kill" - it just means to remove from the flock), then you won't need quite as much space. 

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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