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8x8 or 8x12' coop? Help wanted

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by boisblancboy, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. boisblancboy

    boisblancboy Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 18, 2013
    Ok I'm about to build my coop but since I live in a colder climate I know the birds will be confined inside for the winter months. Since I have read they don't like snow and I am just going to let them free range the yard.

    How many sq ft per bird do I need if they are coop'd up for long periods of time?

    Thank you!
  2. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    The rule of thumb is 4sf/bird in the coop and 10sf/bird in the run. I use more space for the coop than these guidelines and I also free range. I would keep their run shoveled clear of snow so they have room to move around outside daily. Mine move around in the snow and on ice and even out in the rain. They like to stay in the coop in high winds or bad weather.
  3. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2012
    Don't forget about chicken math. If you can build the 8x12 (or bigger) I would go ahead and do it now [​IMG]
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There is no magic number that covers your question. It depends on the size and personality of the individual chickens, flock make-up (multiple roosters, broodies with chicks, are you integrating new chickens at this time), even how many total are in the flock. My answer is always going to be to provide as much space as you reasonably can.

    That rule of thumb of 4 square feet in the coop with 10 square feet in the run is a real general thing. It will keep practically everyone out of trouble in a real wide range of circumstances. It is set up more for a fairly small flock in suburbia. It has to be overkill for a lot of people so it will protect practically everyone.

    I don’t even know a lot of detail as to what your circumstances are but I’m confident mine are different. I don’t get a lot of snow here and it sounds like you do. It sounds like you are in suburbia. I’m not. I’m not going to try to give you a hard and fast number.

    Is it possible to provide a space outside where you can keep the snow out? Don’t forget how heavy snow can be if you try to cover a space and snow can blow in from the side. It’s not just how much space they have but the quality of the space. If you can provide a place where they can get away from each other it can really cut down on behavioral problems. Chickens have developed ways to live together peacefully as a flock once they get the pecking order settled. One of these ways is for the weaker to run away from the stronger if there is a confrontation. Or they just avoid them altogether. A separate space could really help with the avoid part of this.

    My chickens generally don’t like snow when they first see it, but usually after being exposed to it for a couple of days, they will get out in it to forage if some grass and weeds are sticking up out of it. I’ve even had a couple wade through 9” of snow to go check out the compost pile. But the chickens in this photo proved this wrong. That’s about 1” of snow that had fallen in the previous hour or so.

  5. boisblancboy

    boisblancboy Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 18, 2013
    I should have said I'm probably never going to have more than 10 birds. I also don't live in suburbia. I live on 10 acres and surrounded by state land, all of which is mixed Forrest.

    So by math, 16 birds in a 8x8 is acceptable. Which I won't have that many birds.
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Always build larger than you think. Ever notice how out buildings shrink over time? I swear it's because they are out in the sun and the rain and the dang things shrink right up like a cheap pair of underwear. Hey.
  7. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN


    8x8 is fine. But, there is this thing called "chicken math" where a bunch of reasons that you need more chickens causes impulse purchases that need somewhere to live. If you're a person with excellent impulse control, no, you don't need to overbuild. If you are someone who sees a bin of the cutest puffballs ever and thinks that 3 or 4 more would fit in just fine and then the store makes you get 6 to meet their minimum purchase requirement so you get 6 and then they have another breed you've always wanted there the next week when you go back for all of the stuff you forgot because you were so distracted the last time... It happens to lots of folks around here.
  8. jkhenry

    jkhenry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2013
    i have a 24 x16 pen with 8x8 coop inside
    384sf total coop is 64 sf 320 sf total run with only 8 chickens and 2 ducks putting chicks and ducks in pen today they make 4 weeks
  9. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
  10. ryeguy

    ryeguy Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 25, 2012
    I agree with the build bigger sentiments. We originally bought 6 hens, but I built the coop big enough for 10. We ended up wanting more and because I built our coop bigger than it needed to be it wasn't a problem.

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