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How many square feet per chicken in the coop?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I know the general rule is about 4, but what if they free-range all day? My birds only use the coop for sleeping and I can provide roosts for all of them, even if they only have about maybe 2-3 square feet each inside.

Would that work for layers or am I setting myself up for disaster?

I also have a few ducks and geese which sleep on the floor. (Besides the Muscovies)

You haven't seen a tree until you've seen it's shadow from the sky. --Amelia Earhart

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You haven't seen a tree until you've seen it's shadow from the sky. --Amelia Earhart

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post #2 of 25

That 4 ft. rule is if they have to stay in the coop. If they have free access to get out smaller is ok.

       improvise adapt and overcome     

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       improvise adapt and overcome     

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post #3 of 25

The international rule of thumb is about two square feet per bird.  Good to see you want to free range rather than employ the feed lot style of raising chickens used here a lot on BYC:  small coop and a bare dirt run.  When I hear the 4:10 rule mentioned I cringe and think about the cattle feed lots out west.

post #4 of 25

Many chickens will stay in the coop when there is a bunch of snow on the ground.  If they do this, 2 sq ft or even 4 sq ft can be way too small.  You might find these pages helpful.  They were written by someone who also lives in Canada.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

9 hatchery and mutt hens

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

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Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

9 hatchery and mutt hens

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

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post #5 of 25

My little coop is a 5X8 inside, but I have only 2 roost poles 52 inches long each. They are used by my 8 chickens. The chicks that hatched last month and mama are still in the nest, but they will go to the roost when time comes. That is minus the males that may be in the bunch. I've seen all mine on one roost pole, and then 6 on top and 2 on the bottom. Like you all my coop is used for is sleeping and nesting. Although this broody hen caught me by supprise and hartched the chicks in a nest inside the coop. Right now I would have no problem with 12 or even 14 chickens inside, considering they are out roaming all day. They wake up in the morning, out the door and that's all they see of it unless the have an egg to give me. smile

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TDM 

The international rule of thumb is about two square feet per bird.  Good to see you want to free range rather than employ the feed lot style of raising chickens used here a lot on BYC:  small coop and a bare dirt run.  When I hear the 4:10 rule mentioned I cringe and think about the cattle feed lots out west.


+1.  If I was going to go by a rule, it would be something like 4:10:1000. wink

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flockwatcher 

Many chickens will stay in the coop when there is a bunch of snow on the ground.  If they do this, 2 sq ft or even 4 sq ft can be way too small.  You might find these pages helpful.  They were written by someone who also lives in Canada.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures


Very interesting, thanks for the link!

I have two coops, the summer coop is a bit smaller then the winter coop. During the winter when they stay inside they are in a larger space.

You haven't seen a tree until you've seen it's shadow from the sky. --Amelia Earhart

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You haven't seen a tree until you've seen it's shadow from the sky. --Amelia Earhart

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post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TDM 

The international rule of thumb is about two square feet per bird.  Good to see you want to free range rather than employ the feed lot style of raising chickens used here a lot on BYC:  small coop and a bare dirt run.  When I hear the 4:10 rule mentioned I cringe and think about the cattle feed lots out west.


x2

You haven't seen a tree until you've seen it's shadow from the sky. --Amelia Earhart

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You haven't seen a tree until you've seen it's shadow from the sky. --Amelia Earhart

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post #9 of 25

You will find that two square feet per bird is sufficient even in winter.  Birds should not have to be confined to the coop for days or weeks at a time.  .  My birds like to hang out under the corralled wagons in the winter as well. 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_winter5.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_winter2.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_winter1.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_corralled.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_winter3.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_winter7.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_winter6.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_chicken.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_snowblower.jpg

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by flockwatcher 

You might find these pages helpful.  They were written by someone who also lives in Canada.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures


Some aspects of the linked article were interesting:

Area being heated:  Make drop ceiling or insulated hover around roost; or or partition off just part of the coop, and let chickens choose where to spend their time.

If you look at my coops, the roosts are located above the windows and encapsulated by the insulated ceiling.  Air movement goes across the manure and out the other side, and the chickens roost in an area where air movement is significantly less. 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_winter2.jpg  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/90607_winter5.jpg

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