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Square Footage Per Chicken?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

We are getting ready to endeavor on a huge poultry yard, with multiple pens and runs.  We have over 50 chickens and adding more as they come out of the incubator.  We will have  about 40 egg layers of mixed breeds (no roos with them!) and we have 6 different breeds of show/breeding chickens, ranging from small Dutch Bantams, up to the biggest Buff Orpingtons I have ever seen. 

So my questions are as follows:

How big of a run do I need for the egg layer pen?  I have a shed we are converting into the coop that is 6x8 8 ft. tall.   Do I need more space than that for 30-40 egg layers (for nests and egg boxes).  How big of a run should I make? (*Is it ok to have this many birds in a group or do I need to knock it down to two or three pens of 15?)

How big of a run do I need for 3-5 bantam show birds? I have the columbian rock bantams that I have kept in trios and most likely won't ever put together in the same pen (we had the roosters fight to the near death, it was horrible).   I will also have a pen of 5 Dutch, a pen of 5 RIR Bantams, 5 Golden Polish, a pen of bantam cochins and two pens of Silkies.  I was thinking of doing a small 2x3 hutch/egg box with a 3x6 run for the bantams and a 3x4 hutch with a 4x8 run for the full sized/larger bantams.

I also have full sized Buff Orpingtons and Silver Laced Wyandottes which I feel need more space than 4x8 what do you think?  I will have 3-10 of each of these varieties. 

Thanks everyone for your help, you're all so.....Helpful!

Rebuilding the flock, one hatch at a time.
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Rebuilding the flock, one hatch at a time.
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post #2 of 6

Sq ft per bird in the coop is at 4sq ft each. But it also depends on how much time they will spend in the coop. More time more space needed. Sq ft in the run is 8 to 10sq ft.
A 6x8 coop is only big enough for about 12 birds. You will need a coop that is at least 160 sq ft for 40 birds.
Bantams require roughly half the space large fowl do.

post #3 of 6

I am down south of you a few miles, so, I deal with pretty much the same weather conditions you do.  Most folks on here recommend 4 sq.ft. of coop floor space and 10 sq.ft. of run.  My coop is open to the run 24/7 and I do OK with about 3 sq.ft. per bird (23 SLW chickens @ 60 sq.ft.) inside.  However, I would not want to go less.  The nest boxes do not intrude into the coop space, so, I don't lose any floor space there.  My run for this same coop is about 350 sq.ft., but, 1/2 of this has a roof.  Shade is big deal around here for these guys (you probably already know this), so, I kind of wish that I had roofed the whole run.  The chickens could care less about rain and snow.  They crowd into the shade on all but the coolest days.  I let them free range, otherwise, I would have to add more shade.  They just run from shade to shade, like they are expecting to burst into flames at any second.

My other coop is @ 5 sq.ft. per bird right now (30 birds @ 150 sq.ft.).  It's definatly more chicken friendly inside.  The run for this one has 12 sq.ft. per bird.  I put 80% shade cloth on it, but, even with the dark cloth, they still either stay in the shadow of the buildings, or, stay in the coop.  I feel that, if, I give them more shade, I could crowd the coop with more chickens.

All I can tell you for sure, is I wish I had bigger coops and more shade.

Good luck with your project.  Make it bigger than you think it needs to be.  It's always nice to be able to add more chickens, than to figure out how to make the extras fit into a smaller space.


Edited by azelgin - 3/24/09 at 10:46pm
post #4 of 6

4sq feet inside and 10sq feet outside is the general guideline, but often it is best to start out with at least 2x that space as preventing picking and boredom is easier than curing it. If the run has trees, bushes, and bugs, they will be less bored than if it was a square of just plain dirt (which is what any grass will turn into very quickly even at 10 sq feet per bird).

Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

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Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

Reply
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Ok so I was only going to use part of the shed (6x8) so it sounds like I will need the entire shed (8x25).  That's not a problem.  But what about the amount of birds?  IS it ok to have that many together in the same pen?

Rebuilding the flock, one hatch at a time.
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Rebuilding the flock, one hatch at a time.
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post #6 of 6

I don't know if this will help but this gives an indication of what each chicken type needs in living space by comparison to other birds.  Hopefully this will help you determine how many birds you can put together and allow them to live comfortably:

 

http://www.chickenbreedslist.com/Laying-Chickens.html

 

Just click on the breed name and it will tell you everything you need to know about it, including its temperament and upkeep.  It's a pretty good site.  The only downside is that it doesn't give a recommended square footage per flock.  For instance, RIR's require a larger amount of space than Plymouth Rocks but I don't know just how much space they need to be happy or even comfortable. 

 

4 square feet per bird isn't always accurate since different breeds need more or less "elbow room."

 

LOL Okay so I just realized that this thread hasn't been active for 4 years.  Anyway, this is still relevant info.  goodpost.gif


Edited by Roan - 4/26/13 at 3:19pm
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