Be honest....


Apr 16, 2017
Do you stick to the 3 square foot per chicken rule? How big is your coop and how many chickens are in there?

I am forcing myself to stick to it.....we also have tons of different levels in there for them to fly up onto for days they are stuck inside (they are scared of the scary white snow).

Ours is about 45 square feet and home to 6 eleven month old pullets currently......6 more coming in April, and that is all for that coop. My run is 140 square feet.

I know some people on here don't follow the rule - just reading how many birds and how big coops are.....I'd think with many different levels though, that that should be ok? Our coop is 7 feet high as we have all sorts of different roosting or perching boards in there. It may be 45 sq ft...but with the height as well....wouldn't that account for something if it's kept clean?

Not adding more birds after my new 6 arrive, but just trying to figure out if it's a hard fast rule.

My understanding before getting chickens was 4 square feet of FLOOR SPACE (with approximately 1 linear foot of roost space per bird) in the coop per LF, and you could possibly get away with less if you have bantams or live somewhere it's warm all the time and the birds are virtually never in the coop and/or free ranging.

My coop is approximately 20 square feet with 5 chickens in it. After having them for a year, I have concluded that I definitely would not add any more chickens to the existing space. It is clearer to me where this minimum came from and I don't think it would be good for sanitation or for the peace of the flock/behavior if they had less space. Also they currently are doing well with the allotted space, no drama, not health issues (knock on wood).

I also built my fully covered run based on the 10 square feet per chicken minimum. After a year, even though no drama, I have concluded this is NOT enough space for them. Once the ground thaws and summer is here I have plans for run expansion.

It sounds like your space will be pretty much maxed out after your additions with a total of 12 chickens. I would give them time to adjust and grow and decide if you think an expansion is needed.
I’m wondering something similar. My coop is supposed to be for 8 chickens. It has 4 nesting boxes and all 4 of my chickens of course use 1. It’s a good size walk in coop and we’ve added a huge attached run. They also get free range time daily. I want more chicks but can’t find anywhere where I can get only 4!
There are NO hard fast rules... other than roosters don't lay eggs and hens don't grow pointy saddle feathers. ;)

To me the more space you have for less birds... the less antics you have to deal with. The more crowded you get the faster waste builds and disease and parasites spread.

It often depends on your weather, your cleaning style, and the personalities of your birds. NO bullies welcome here!

I have 144 sq ft coop X's 2 & 48 ft of roost each. 1 for the boys and one for the ladies. Right now my stag pen only has 2-3 boys. But later this season it will easily house 15-20. My hen pen only has 7 ladies right now. But it will be much more than that once this years grow outs and additions integrate there. I use poo boards and multiple heights of roosts. I have housed up to 50+ birds on one side short term. Each coop also has an equal size covered run and a good size pasture attached.

Pullets/teenagers... have the worst attitudes and are the biggest bullies in my experience. :hmm Attitude dictates who stays or goes here.

I used to think that having the added levels did account for something. Now I'm not so sure.

The general suggestion I have seen is actually 4 square feet per bird inside the coop and 10 in the run, with not less than 1 foot of roost space per bird. My flock is happier with less birds in their space. And a peaceful flock is an enjoyable flock. They free range on about an acre divided among 3 pens... and that's just enough for me and them to be comfortable.

Anyways... you can try... if it doesn't work out, switch it up. ;)

Good luck and best wishes! :fl
to be honest I started with 4 chicken in a 4'x4' coop with a 8'x4' run so they got about 4 sq ft of space each I ended up getting 2 more so they got about 2.5 sqft of space but were let of for short periods. But now I have 14-15 altogether and converted the coop/run into one large 8'x4" and they are let lose in my yard they all huddle to one end of it anyway at night or during bad weather. it just depend if you let them free range to really or if they have a large run (which mine will have in the next month or 2 my yard went from lush grass to a mud pit lol)
My coop is a 10x10 converted shed-coop, I currently house 19 chickens and 2 ducks with 4 chicks in the brooder. The run is a small pasture so they get a lot of space to roam.;)
oh, and back when I was researching chicken breeds and deciding what I wanted, some breeds are known to do well in confinement while others are not. If they are to be in a coop/run 24/7 without free range time, this can be an important factor

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