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A few coop spacing and protection questions!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Blue_Myst, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    Hi all! A New Egg reporting in! Although, my first post happens to be full of questions [​IMG]

    Ok, so, sometime in the spring I was hoping to finally raise some chicks (I've had chickens for around 5 years, but have always preferred to buy them as young pullets), and I have a few questions regarding how many chickens would be best for my medium-size coop.
    I currently have three hens (medium to small sized, no Jersey Giants [​IMG] ). So, here are my questions:

    (1) My coop is either 6' by 8' or 6' by 10', I'm not sure which. Does this mean the maximum capacity is 4-5 hens, or 12-15 hens? I was thinking of getting only 3 or 4 new hens, is this coop big enough? I'm mainly concerned because I live in a colder climate area, and during around two months of harsh winter they don't get to go outside much.

    (2) I'm fairly sure my pen is between 10' by 10' and 8' by 8'. For six or seven hens, is this enough room? I do let my chickens free-range, but only if someone is around to watch them.

    (3) As for protection, I have a sheet of deer netting stretched over the top of the pen. Will this keep the predators out? Should I put another sheet over the first one? Or use something different entirely? I get racoons, hawks, skunks, etc. So far, no predator problems for my chickens, but, I'd prefer to be 'safe than sorry'.

    Thank you so much in advance to those who reply! [​IMG]

  2. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    A 6x8 coop is big enough for 12, a 6x10 coop is big enough for 15. Max. So you will be just fine with 4 or 5. Youre run is plenty big enough as well. Im not sure what deer netting is, maybe someone else can help you out with that. [​IMG]
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Most people on byc would say "4 sq ft per chicken indoors, plus a run with 6-10 sq ft per chicken".

    6x10 = 60 square feet, divided by 4 equals 15. Thus most people here would say a six by ten coop is enough indoor space for up to 15 chickens, assuming you also have a run of 90-150 sq ft or more (for instance 10x10 or 10x15 would qualify). Bigger is ALWAYS better though.

    It depends on your climate, and on your tastes. My chickens, who have long stretches of winter when they are not keen on being out in like -20 F temperatures, have 15 sq ft per chicken INDOORS (plus run) and they really truly act happier and more relaxed and more 'natural' than with less space. Personal decision I guess.

    Deer netting on the run will pretty much keep out flying predators, but won't do anything vs raccoons or climbing dogs or foxes or that sort of thing. Only a STRONG, WELL-SUPPORTED heavy gauge wire mesh top, or actual roof, will keep those out. If you go that route, consider snow load carefully!

    Have fun,

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  4. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Quote:First off... [​IMG] WELCOME!!!! Happy to meet you, glad you're here!!

    Gotta agree with Pat and her (his?) chickens!!! My hens are a little more crowded than that but not much, (meaning one hen ...-maybe- two either way probably wouldn't hurt IF you keep a close eye on how they are getting along!!) All this stuff is ... a general guideline sort of thing, there are exceptions to everything.

    Bigger is indeed better but too big can be hard to keep draft free and a decent temperature in a cold climate. (it's been in the negatives here lately, cold is one thing, but drafty can be deadly and at least causes poor production and general misery for your hens. True Dual-Purpose hens can do quite well in simple cold though if they have good nutrition and plenty of clean water. )

    Anyway, 4 sq foot per chicken IS about right for the average dual purpose chickens I agree. Jersey Giants? Yeah... [​IMG] They might need a little more! [​IMG]

    If all you are worried about hawks and owls, yes, deer fence [[edit] over the top] is fine, if you want to build a fort knox sort of run, you'll need a lot more than that as said, but if your coop is tight and you lock them in after dark, you should be fine.

    All this is my opinion, there's lots of knowledge here from other people though!!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Just for the record, I'm a her [​IMG] Somehow when I post in the Coop And Run Construction part of BYC, I am not infrequently assumed to be male, but I don't believe that's *ever* happened on any other sort of topic LOL

    Bigger is indeed better but too big can be hard to keep draft free and a decent temperature in a cold climate.

    Enh, draft free is only a matter of having enough construction material <shrug>. Decent temperature is not a problem -- if you want the chickens to be able to concentrate their body warmth in a quote too large unquote coop, just section part of it off temporarily as a coop-within-a-coop or knock together a little hover or box over/around the roosts. No biggie.

    JMO, have fun,

  6. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    Thanks for all the replies! [​IMG] I knew about the 4 sq. ft. per chicken rule, but I wasn't sure if that meant dividing the sq. ft. by 4, or by 16, so thanks for clearing that up!

    I'll be sure to research other options than the deer netting [​IMG] I lock my chickens in the coop every night, but, can never be too careful!

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