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How much area is needed per chicken? - Page 2

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by OkChickens 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaChic21 

4 sq ft for coop per chicken and 10-12 inches for the run ( that I've seen on BYC )


I think you mean 10-12 ft not inches! On average for coop and run should be around 10-14 ft per chicken. More in the coop is good if cold or snow is common in your area!

-Nate


my bad, I meant feet not inches, sorry.

For comfortable, happy and healthy chickens, bigger, larger room  is ALWAYS better


Edited by MamaChic21 - 2/1/11 at 9:52am
Obsessed with Ducks/chickens
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Obsessed with Ducks/chickens
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post #12 of 20

go more than the minimums. We're planning on building a new coop this summer and the paint is barely dry on the first one. We've had a ridiculous amount of snow this winter and the girls are getting cranky when they can't get out much. no bloodshed or anything, but some bickering.

"Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral." -Frank Lloyd Wright

 

Check out my page on Chickens and Gardens:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=48643-chicken-proof-garden

other random things: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/our-first-chickies

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-greenhouse-hen-house-combo-the-permaculture-holy-grail

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"Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral." -Frank Lloyd Wright

 

Check out my page on Chickens and Gardens:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=48643-chicken-proof-garden

other random things: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/our-first-chickies

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-greenhouse-hen-house-combo-the-permaculture-holy-grail

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post #13 of 20

pat and chickens
I think you hit the nail on the head!  As few chickens as you can be content with is the operative phrase here.  You know we are all addicts and that does become a problem.  I am within very acceptable limits now and am getting another coop as soon as the weather breaks here and we can level it.  I will be getting 8 more babies in the spring but I'm trying to space out my chicken purchases so that I always have 1 or 2 new ones to look forward to.  This May will be only a year that I am in chickens and I see the writing on the wall but I always want to be able to take good care of what I have (10 now) and be able to enjoy each one of them.  I hope I will know when enough is enough!!
PS  When I bought the 5X8 Amish coop. the website said 20 to 25 chickens!!  No way, no how.

Five chickens,  make that 10 chickens, no make that 19 chickens, .....sorry but it's now 22!  OMG,  now 25!!  Someone stop me!! OK......lets just stop counting!   6 dogs,  3 horses, 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 VERY understanding husband!
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Five chickens,  make that 10 chickens, no make that 19 chickens, .....sorry but it's now 22!  OMG,  now 25!!  Someone stop me!! OK......lets just stop counting!   6 dogs,  3 horses, 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 VERY understanding husband!
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post #14 of 20

Like Pat and Chickens and others said, the 4 sq ft and 10 sq ft rules are bare minimum.  I did 5 sq ft in my coop and 80 sq ft for run/bird.  My coop is 128 sq ft and my run is 1900 sq ft for 24 chooks.  If it had not been so much work, I would have made my run bigger, but the tree and brush removal saw killer.   Then making a 6 ft grass apron all around that to mow and keep vines etc off the electrified fence were more than I wanted to do.  See 'My BYC Page'.

Gerry
cool

NECESSITY MAY BE THE MOTHER OF INVENTION, BUT GOD IS THE FATHER OF ALL GOOD THINGS.    (G. Simpkins)
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NECESSITY MAY BE THE MOTHER OF INVENTION, BUT GOD IS THE FATHER OF ALL GOOD THINGS.    (G. Simpkins)
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post #15 of 20

I think it is all relative to your space and birds.
Is the only space ground space?
Are we talking solely standards or also banties?
And so on...

I've had more space than this "minimum" figure for my chickens, but at some points I also had less.

How did it work out with less space than this MIN?
- Half my chickens are banties, which I believe reduces the impact by as much as 50%, from what I have experienced with my birds.
- All the birds use so little of the particular style coop I built that it's almost laughable. Tons of room...in this case, you might be considering your cubic footage vs. square footage.
- On a related note, I probably have 50+ linear feet of roosts and living space, among other non-ground spaces they occupy. Of my (current) 20 birds, I may have up to a quarter of those, or more, not taking up any ground space at any given time.

So for me, I didn't see any ill effects.

But I think this "minimum" has been well discussed and is probably a good guideline to go by. But I think you take this generalization and adapt it according to your situation. There is no right or wrong result...only more or less functional flocks. Some people may think a functional flock needs to be free ranging with tons of space, while others may think they are fine staying in a coop where they can't even access the soil -- so opinions will vary. Get going and add or subtract birds as needed as you learn what your "happy zone" is!

¤ Jared ¤
Dog, cats, and chickens. Lord, help me...

We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?
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¤ Jared ¤
Dog, cats, and chickens. Lord, help me...

We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?
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post #16 of 20

I agree and think that really sums it up.

Five chickens,  make that 10 chickens, no make that 19 chickens, .....sorry but it's now 22!  OMG,  now 25!!  Someone stop me!! OK......lets just stop counting!   6 dogs,  3 horses, 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 VERY understanding husband!
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Five chickens,  make that 10 chickens, no make that 19 chickens, .....sorry but it's now 22!  OMG,  now 25!!  Someone stop me!! OK......lets just stop counting!   6 dogs,  3 horses, 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 VERY understanding husband!
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post #17 of 20

I think it is a very good question.  In general, we do not try to keep them in the same conditions you find in commercial operations so our suggestions may seem out there to some people.  We don't automatically trim their beaks so they can't peck each other to death, for example, so we do need to provide more space than the commercial operations. 

The 4 and 10 are general guidelines that keep most people out of trouble most of the time.  I think you do need a place to start.  We all have different situations, different management practices, and different goals so there is no one correct answer for all of us.  Here is a write-up I did a while back on the subject.  I don't have a PhD in chicken space management for the home flock.  It is just my thoughts on the subject,  Hope it helps you a bit.


As long as you have enough height for the roosts to be noticeably higher than the nest boxes, height does not matter to chickens.  They are basically ground dwelling birds, so the ground area is all that really matters space wise.  I said it does not matter to the chickens.  It does matter to me if I have to work in there.  It matters quite a bit.

If the nest boxes are high enough off the ground that the chickens can easily get under them (measured from the top of the litter), then nest boxes do not take away from the space available.  The tops of the nesting boxes do not add to the living space either although they may occasionally be up there.  Ground level is what counts.

Some of the things that make up the space requirement are, in my opinion:

1. Personal space for the birds.  They have different personalities and different individual requirements.  Some are very possessive of personal space and some can share. 

2. Access to feeder and waterer.  The general recommendation is that they all be able to eat at one time, but access to the waterer is also important.  Part of this is that they seem to like to all eat at once but not necessarily drink at the same time.  Part of it is that a dominant bird may keep others from eating or drinking, especially with limited access.

3. Being able to put the feeder and waterer where they will not poop in it when they roost. 

4. Roost space.  They not only need to have enough room to roost, they need to have enough room for them to sort out who gets to sleep next to whom and who gets the prime spots.  They also need enough room to get on the roosts and get off them.  When they get on, they may jump from some midway support or fly directly to the roost, but either way, they like to spread their wings.  And some chickens seem to enjoy blocking the entry points if there are limits.  And when they get off, mine tend to want to fly down, not jump to a halfway point.  They need room to fly down without bumping into feeders, waterers, nesting boxes, or a wall. 

5. Poop load.  The larger area they have the less often you have to actively manage the poop.  They poop a lot while on the roost so you may have to give that area special consideration, but mucking out the entire coop can be backbreaking work plus you have to have some place to put all that bedding and poop.  In my opinion, totally cleaning out the coop is something that needs to happen as seldom as possible.

6. How often are they able to get out of the coop.  The more they are confined to the coop, the larger the personal space needs to be.  The normal recommendation on this forum is 4 square feet per full sized chicken with a minimum of 10 square feet of run per bird.  This additional requirement outside is sometimes not mentioned.  How often they are allowed out of the coop may depend on a lot more than just weather.  Your work schedule, when you are able to turn them loose, what time of day you open the pop door to let them out or lock them up at night, all this and more enters into the equation.  The 4 square feet recommendation assumes they will spend extended time in the coop and not be able to get in the run.  What that extended time can safely be depends on a lot of different factor so there is no one correct length of time for everyone.

7. Do you feed and water in the coop or outside.  The more they are outside, the less pressure on the size of the coop.

8. The size of the chicken.  Bantams require less room than full sized chickens.  This has to be tempered by breed and the individual personalities.  Some bantams can be more protective of personal space than others, but this is also true of full sized breeds.

9. The breed of the chicken.  Some handle confinement better than others.

10. The number of chickens.  The greater the number of chickens, the more personal space they can have if the square foot per chicken stays constant.  Let me explain.  Assume each chicken occupies 1 square foot of space. If you have two chickens and 4 square feet per chicken, the two chickens occupy 2 square feet, which leaves 6 square feet for them to explore.  If you have ten chickens with 4 square feet per chicken, each chicken has 30 unoccupied square feet to explore. A greater number also can give more space to position the feeders and waterers properly in relation to the roosts and provide access.  Im not encouraging you to crowd your birds if you have a large number of them.  Im trying to say you are more likely to get in trouble with 4 square feet per chicken if you have very few chickens. 

11. What is your flock make-up.  A flock with more than one rooster may be more peaceful if it has more space.  I don't want to start the argument about number or roosters here as I know more than one rooster can often peacefully coexist with a flock, but I firmly believe more space helps.

12. What is the maximum number of chickens you will have.  Consider hatching chicks or bringing in replacements.  Look down the road a bit.

I'm sure I am missing several components, but the point I'm trying to make is that we all have different conditions.  There is no magic number that suits us all.  The 4 square feet in a coop with 10 square feet in the run is a good rule of thumb for a minimum that most of the time will keep us out of trouble, but not always.  I do believe that more is better both in the coop and in the run.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

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

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

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

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post #18 of 20

Nice post Ridgerunner.

I will quote it often.

1 Silkie, 2 Polish, 2 Americana, 1 Corgi, 1 Cairn terrier, 1 Cat
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1 Silkie, 2 Polish, 2 Americana, 1 Corgi, 1 Cairn terrier, 1 Cat
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post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner 

We all have different situations, different management practices, and different goals so there is no one correct answer for all of us.


This is one of the best answers on the subject I have read on here or any where  regarding keeping chickens. PERIOD! 

I think No two sources have the same answer because no two situations, chickens, or the people keeping them, are the same.

I love EGGS!
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I love EGGS!
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post #20 of 20

I have to agree with the majority that the 4/10 sq. ft. per hen recommendation is only a minimum requirement.  We have 4 sq. feet per hen in the henhouse BUT we also have a completely roofed run that is slightly more than 10 sq. feet per hen that is protected well enough that they can and do go in it everyday no matter the weather.  Its a completely secure run so the pop door is left open 24/7 and they all seem to go outside at dawn. This was expensive to do but we felt it was worth it (you can see it on my BYC Page). We also have an additional run attached to the main covered run (we just open a chicken door to it and they can go in and out at their leisure) that makes the total over 20 sq. feet per hen outside.  The additional run is covered only with netting so the girls don't use it much when its raining. Our girls also get out and about in the yard when we are home in nice weather to graze.  http://www.pic4ever.com/images/lillamu5-756439.gif

To make it more fun for the girls we have a few higher spots made with bricks for them to jump up on  in the supplemental run and a roost in the main run that is not too high but enough so they can run under or hop over it to play--and they do! They seem to have games where they run through one run and then into the other while either hopping over the roost or stooping slightly under it and flap their wings--its quite funny to see the the flock playing. No one pecks at the other and I swear they are laughing.  http://www.pic4ever.com/images/pillowfight.gif I should add they do not have to jump over the roost as there is plenty of room for them to run past it--they choose to go over or under it.  http://www.pic4ever.com/images/studsmatta.gif

Bottom line--reduce boredom!!

My current family:     A kooky Belgian Malinois, a feisty Pembroke Welsh Corgi,  2 ponds full of friendly fish
                        a small parrot, 1 BR, 1 SS, 1 BLRW, 1 EE and of course a wonderful, understanding husband!
               
                                         Arguing is pointless.    It can hurt your head too.
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My current family:     A kooky Belgian Malinois, a feisty Pembroke Welsh Corgi,  2 ponds full of friendly fish
                        a small parrot, 1 BR, 1 SS, 1 BLRW, 1 EE and of course a wonderful, understanding husband!
               
                                         Arguing is pointless.    It can hurt your head too.
Reply
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