We're building our "starter coop". A little 4x6 coop to test out if we're any good at chicken keeping before I turn the old granary in my profile picture into a chicken barn or... Chicken mansion... . My question is about how many birds would be comfortable in this little coops by the 4 square feet rule I'm under the impression I could have 6 standard size chickens in there, but that seems like too many just on instinct... Once I've added a nest box, perches, food and water there's going to be a lot less space... Right? Does that 4 square feet only count open floor space or did whoever came up with that magic number account for clutter in the coops somehow. A few other factors that may influence the number of birds we keep; -they will have access to a large run/pasture area. -we'll most likely be getting RIR from a local hatchery to start out with, -hubby may want to keep a rooster (not if they're nasty though we have kids) -our winters are brutal they may need spend a good amount of time snuggled up in there and yet... Not be so crowded they drive each other nuts... - poop management... How many birds do I really want to be cleaning up after in there? and how often...? Suppose I should look for some space saving Ideas and too be for we get too much farther along. Any advice is hugely appreciated!