Chicken Coop size and chicken math question

Back on the Farm

Songster
8 Years
Mar 9, 2011
114
4
103
Maryland
I've got a 4x6 coop with 8 chickens and 2 ducks. My chickens and ducks free range all day and only use the coop to sleep and lay eggs. They don't even stay in during bad weather. I want to add 3-5 chickens this spring/summer... do I really need to expand my coop? I know I really should have 2-3 sq. feet per bird, but my 'birds' really don't use the coop that much. I can easily add roost space. The ducks use the nesting boxes at night, so they aren't really taking up space - the nesting boxes aren't part of the 4x6 coop space.

Thanks...
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,713
21,435
907
Southeast Louisiana
As long as you never leave them locked in there or they are not stuck in there because of weather when they are awake, you should be OK. The risk comes in where they get stuck in there for a period of time. How much time it would take for you to see problems, I can't tell you exactly. That depends on the personality of your individual chickens.

Adding more also reduces your flexibility. Right now, you could leave them locked in there for a while if you had a need, say retraining a hen to lay in the coop. Your risks of problems goes up if you try locking them up for a while. Last summer, somebody dropped two dogs off in the country for the good life. They killed several of my chickens. I could leave my survivers locked up while I dealt with the problem. I like the flexibility my extra space gives me.

You should be OK in the summer. My real concern would be a blowing snowstorm in Maryland in the winter. But you may have other outbuildings where they could get out of the weather if they can get to them. Last winter some of mine would go out and forage in the snow, but some would not. None of them like a blowing cold wind.

We all have different circumstances. As long as yours can get to the outside every day, you should be OK with another few chickens.
 

devora

Songster
12 Years
Apr 9, 2007
1,170
38
206
Willits, CA Gateway to the Redwoods
It is good to have a place to confine them comfortably for days if needed. Perhaps you could extend your run (do you have a run?) instead of the coop.

In general, tho, if they are out and about every day you really should not have a problem!
 

karlamaria

Songster
8 Years
Jan 30, 2011
2,339
65
246
Western montana
Wow I have 5 girls in this size coop, I have 5 girls in it and think it's to small lol. that's a lot in that small of a coop. Mine stay in when it dips below zero and some times even if it's not below zero. Maybe you can add-on to it? Way small for chickens and a duck, but as long as they just sleep ?
 

redhotchick

Chirping
8 Years
May 22, 2011
156
6
91
Fort Worth
Dont fall for the "Animal Rights" which sometimes makes decisions on BYC.If your girls get along & they truly get out all day,You have more than enough room.I have a 6x9 with 25 chickens inside.At night there is about 65% roost still open.They all bunch up in a group.Even in the summer. You can not tell me my coop is too small.There is plenty of room.I have an acre that they run all day.Only go inside to sleep & lay eggs.You are fine.
 
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Back on the Farm

Songster
8 Years
Mar 9, 2011
114
4
103
Maryland
Thanks for the posts. I was thinking that the girls will be fine. They get along great and roam all over my farm during they day. I'm going to modify their run-right now they don't use it. I want to have a large secured run for them so that when we go on vacation I don't have to worry about them and it will make it easier for my mom to take care of them. They also need to be in the run when we mow the lawn - they aren't afraid of the mower & hubby is afraid he is going to run over them one of these days. It is a sight to see 8 chickens in a stand off with a riding mower. I also have to build a fence around my veggie garden. They discovered it at then end of the summer...they had a blast helping me dig up potatoes.:D. Thanks again... Off to plan fences, runs, & planning my veggie garden for the year.
 

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