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Coop and run SQ Feet Per chicken

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I have finally got all the materials together to build an 8FT x8 FT coop. I wanted to get 12 Buff Orps but I'm not convinced that 64 Sq feet is enough, especially when they may be inside for days at a time in the coldest stretch of winter here in North east PA.

I have plenty of room for a large run. It is approximately 50 Ft x 75 Ft (3750 Sq. Ft). What I would like to know is that enough for 12 Buffs without ever moving it. I am putting up 4 Ft fence on the entire perimeter. I would think 3600 Sq Ft would be enough that even the most active birds wouldn't tear
up that much space.

Thanks In Advance.

post #2 of 23

The standard requirements are 4 square feet per bird inside coop space, and 10 square feet per bird for outside run space.

post #3 of 23

You will be fine.  4 sq foot per bird.  Go for it. big_smile

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post #4 of 23

The mainstream answer is 4 square feet indoor and 10 square feet of run for each bird.

Now having said that I can tell you that a coop that is too large in bitter cold is a bad idea. The chickens do not produce enough body heat and combs will freeze.

Too small and cleaning becomes an issue.

So in the end it is finding the balance "that works for you and your climate."

Same goes for the run size. If it is not a quick growing surface with enough sun or moisture to keep it growing they will turn an area that big into a desert.

"If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, love what you do."
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"If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, love what you do."
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
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post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzpurr 

I have finally got all the materials together to build an 8FT x8 FT coop. I wanted to get 12 Buff Orps but I'm not convinced that 64 Sq feet is enough, especially when they may be inside for days at a time in the coldest stretch of winter here in North east PA.
I have plenty of room for a large run. It is approximately 50 Ft x 75 Ft (3750 Sq. Ft). What I would like to know is that enough for 12 Buffs without ever moving it. I am putting up 4 Ft fence on the entire perimeter. I would think 3600 Sq Ft would be enough that even the most active birds wouldn't tear
up that much space.


They won't destroy the run as quickly, but unless you are blessed with unusually glorious growing conditions and do a good bit of manual-labor maintenance, they WILL turn it into a bit of a wasteland in time (perhaps a year or two rather than a month or two), at least in the most-frequented areas. Just so you know to expect it wink

Previous replies have good suggestions about coop size. Here are a couple other things to consider.

You can have a two-room coop, such that they can be shut into a 4-sq-ft-per-bird area in really bitterly cold weather but have a larger area at their disposal most of the time.

You can also have a smaller fully-enclosed portion of run, leading from coop to the outer roofless run, that can be wrapped with plastic etc (you might just want to build a permanent roof on it, as well) in wintertime so they have a less-cold less-snowy place to go out. That,too, will help alleviate stress from being stuck indoors. In fact it might be really good to plan on this, because your 4' high fence is likely to be highly raccoon-permeable and will offer no protection from hawks and owls, so I betcha anything that at some point (possibly often) you will find it highly convenient to have a way of letting the chickens be sorta outdoors without being exposed to major predation. For instance, if you go out on vacation, or are having a really bad predator problem at some point, or just don't want to have the chickens locked indoors til you haul your butt out of bed at 10 a.m. after a late night out wink 

Personally I would do both of these things if possible, or if not, I would do whichever I could best afford financially and construction-wise. I really feel like it is best for chickens to have as much space available as possible, for both health and happiness  -- and as per above, this *need not* compromise their ability to stay warm in winter.

Just a thought,

Pat

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone..All good answers.

It never struck me that to much room could be a problem with cold temps.

My wife and I both work from home so we can tend them 6 times a day if need be. I was hoping our busy yard activity would scare off most daytime predators. The chicks will definitely be closed up at night.

Pat, I think you're right about a secondary outside roofed area. Winters have been mild here for 10 years, except this year. We have had snow and ice on the ground for quite a while and I would like them to have some outdoor time whenever possible, even if it's just for an hour.

Now, to figure out how to run that new Compressor powered stud nail-er...
First the EMS phone number should be taped on it....

post #7 of 23

I am planning a 11' by 8' run with a raised coop inside it that is 8' by 4'. It will be for 6 chickens. The winter is cold here in MA, so what should we do? With outdoor rabbits you insulate it with plastic. We will feed them shortly expired groceries and bread that is free from grocery stores, because we can't let them forage. I would recommend this to anyone else too. Most grocery stores through out their expired items.
Any suggestions?

We are in a residential neighborhood, so space and regulations are hard to come by.

youth 4-Her, sculptor and artist, Improvisational solo pianist,
owner of 3 showy English lops, 2 giant angoras, 2 other rabbits, a chinchilla,
pet sitter, and operator of rabbit and cavy "bed and Breakfast"
www.melonia.org/
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youth 4-Her, sculptor and artist, Improvisational solo pianist,
owner of 3 showy English lops, 2 giant angoras, 2 other rabbits, a chinchilla,
pet sitter, and operator of rabbit and cavy "bed and Breakfast"
www.melonia.org/
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post #8 of 23

I wouldn't be feeding chickens too much bread, it is not good for them (fattening without nutrition). Old produce and such is fine. Although the more you supplement with veggies, fruit, kitchen scraps, etc, the more important it becomes to provide a free-choice source of calcium (crushed oystershell, or their own eggshells dried and crushed and fed back in a little bin for them to take whatever their bodies need).

Plenty of people partially-wrap their runs with heavy gauge plastic or tarps or whatever, it works well as long as you remember to leave some room for airflow (so's to avoid excessive daytime heat on sunny days, and excessive humidity which promotes frostbite).

By no means is your coop overly large for a cold climate -- you should be fine with a good sheltered run which it sounds like you're planning on providing. For reference though, if a person feels their coop is quote too large unquote for a cold climate, it is very easy to knock together a sort of 'coop within the coop' (drop ceiling or hover over roost, or partition off part of the coop) so you get the body-heat-concentrating advantages of a small space while still having all the other many advantages of a large space. REalio trulio there is NO SUCH THING AS TOO LARGE a coop, even (I'd say perhaps *especially*) in cold winter areas.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat

post #9 of 23

I have never been too keen on bread for any animal. We haven't evolved to eat that much grain and starch. The farm I work at in the summertime feeds their chickens bread. What should I use for protein? I have heard it reduces picking when the layer pellets lack protein. There is some weed that I learned about yesterday that has amino acid and can be dried and fed to livestock.
Thanks for the advice


Edited by fred123 - 7/18/09 at 6:09am
youth 4-Her, sculptor and artist, Improvisational solo pianist,
owner of 3 showy English lops, 2 giant angoras, 2 other rabbits, a chinchilla,
pet sitter, and operator of rabbit and cavy "bed and Breakfast"
www.melonia.org/
Reply
youth 4-Her, sculptor and artist, Improvisational solo pianist,
owner of 3 showy English lops, 2 giant angoras, 2 other rabbits, a chinchilla,
pet sitter, and operator of rabbit and cavy "bed and Breakfast"
www.melonia.org/
Reply
post #10 of 23

I would suggest that you use an 8 foot high fence. 4 feet high is not high enough, in my experience.smile

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