Chicken Coop Requirement Clarification

Sphere

Hatching
Nov 26, 2018
3
6
4
Hello Everyone!
I'm new to this forum. I'm in the process of beginning the initial steps to becoming a chicken owner, and that begins with research. I've been doing a lot of it. My father has been keeping chickens for probably close to 6 years now, so I've had a fair amount of "hands on" experience. He currently has 27 chickens. He has quite a large area designated for them, and has 2 coops built within the area. He let's his chickens free range daily. He noticed that when they go in at night, ALL 27 of them shack up in the first coop he built, which was designed for 6 chickens. I know that their space requirements can get a little relaxed if they are able to free range, but that is crazy to me that all 27 of them insist on rooming up together in what is probably a 4x4 footprint for the actual coop section. With that being said, I know those wouldn't be recommended ratios, but with this bit of knowledge, and with the intent on letting the chickens free range daily in a pre-built dog run that is roughly 5ft wide by 50+ft long, how big should I build the actual coop for 16 birds? Not any part of the run, just the actual coop they'll sleep in at night. Thanks in advance!
 

flyin-lowe

Songster
5 Years
Jan 24, 2016
543
342
169
Indiana
The recommended coop space is 4 square foot per bird. So an 8x8 would be the minimum size. The 10 square foot of run space per bird. The birds having access to a 5 foot wide run that you describe is not exactly free ranging...... You location plays a lot in this as well. If you and your father live in a climate that is warm year around then you could be on the smaller side and not have problems. If you are in an area that gets cold and snow in the winter and the hens will spend a lot of time inside you don't want them in an undersized coop.
 

northdakotaoutfitting.com

Songster
8 Years
Sep 22, 2011
183
82
151
Hello Everyone!
I'm new to this forum. I'm in the process of beginning the initial steps to becoming a chicken owner, and that begins with research. I've been doing a lot of it. My father has been keeping chickens for probably close to 6 years now, so I've had a fair amount of "hands on" experience. He currently has 27 chickens. He has quite a large area designated for them, and has 2 coops built within the area. He let's his chickens free range daily. He noticed that when they go in at night, ALL 27 of them shack up in the first coop he built, which was designed for 6 chickens. I know that their space requirements can get a little relaxed if they are able to free range, but that is crazy to me that all 27 of them insist on rooming up together in what is probably a 4x4 footprint for the actual coop section. With that being said, I know those wouldn't be recommended ratios, but with this bit of knowledge, and with the intent on letting the chickens free range daily in a pre-built dog run that is roughly 5ft wide by 50+ft long, how big should I build the actual coop for 16 birds? Not any part of the run, just the actual coop they'll sleep in at night. Thanks in advance!
Mine has 15 birds and it’s about 5x5. Made it out of pallets. Took 4 pallets and made the floor and the walls are stacked 2 high and cut with a slant for the roof. I could get 10more birds or more in there I’m sure.
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FFC2ADD1-ABE3-4F82-BBE6-4C93F2228ACD.jpeg
 

Sphere

Hatching
Nov 26, 2018
3
6
4
The recommended coop space is 4 square foot per bird. So an 8x8 would be the minimum size. The 10 square foot of run space per bird. The birds having access to a 5 foot wide run that you describe is not exactly free ranging...... You location plays a lot in this as well. If you and your father live in a climate that is warm year around then you could be on the smaller side and not have problems. If you are in an area that gets cold and snow in the winter and the hens will spend a lot of time inside you don't want them in an undersized coop.

You think, even though its only roughly 5ft wide, that the fact it runs 50+ feet along the side of my property isn't big enough to free range? I'm on a 1/3 acre, and that dog run is easily 1/4 of the acreage.
 

ShannonR

Free Ranging
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
2,535
16,786
552
As big as you feel comfortable with and can afford. People's opinions of coop space vary wildly on here. I'm no animal abuser freak, but I personally think some of the space "requirements" people here cite are sort of out of touch with reality, unless the birds are all confined within that space all of the time. You've seen what chickens prefer to do for yourself, just use your best judgement.
 

ShannonR

Free Ranging
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
2,535
16,786
552

Sphere

Hatching
Nov 26, 2018
3
6
4
I just don't want to overbuild something that they are all going to huddle in the corner of, utilizing a 1/4 of the space. Especially if they are going to be outside of the coop for the entire day.
 

Aunt Angus

Free Ranging
Jul 16, 2018
4,733
11,965
712
Nevada County, CA
ALL 27 of them shack up in the first coop he built, which was designed for 6 chickens.

My kingdom for a photo of that! Like fluffy sardines! :lau

True free ranging is letting them wander without being penned at all. But that sounds like a great run area @ 250+ sq ft! Will they be able to be in that run all year, or does it get super cold where you live?
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,867
30,467
1,052
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I just don't want to overbuild something that they are all going to huddle in the corner of, utilizing a 1/4 of the space. Especially if they are going to be outside of the coop for the entire day.

Just because they CAN stuff into a small space doesn't mean that that's ideal. On very rainy days or snow days my flock tends to stay inside. I built for 4 sq per bird as I don't get too much snow, but if you live in a colder climate more space would be better as they may spend even more time inside.

More space = fewer behavioral and health issues and easier integration.
 

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