Chicken coop

I was wondering if you guys could give me an idea of how big my chicken coop would need to be for 30 chickens?
Minimum amount of space you should plan on is 6 square feet per bird. That is 2 sf. inside of the coop and 4 sf. in the run. The more space you can give them the fewer behavior problems you should have. Also the coop will require fewer cleanings. Will they be able to free range at all?
What is your climate? What breed of birds will you be keeping? Will they be locked in for the sleeping at night or able to get out back into the pen?
There are several different suggestions for how much space you need, but that’s because of all the different conditions we keep them in. I suggest you follow the link in my signature for things to consider. We are all unique in our goals, climate, conditions, and management techniques. You might see something in that article that will alter your plans a bit.

I don’t know your climate or your plans for the winter, but I’d approach the design this way. You are looking at roosting space required for 30 chickens. The roosts should be at least a foot away from any wall and separated from each other horizontally by at least 12”. Chickens don’t actually take up a lot of space on the roost when they are sleeping, but they spread their wings to fly up there and need some room to move around once they jump/fly up there. They position themselves according to their rank in the pecking order and where they think are the best places to sleep. So you need some extra room for that. In the winter they tend to sleep pretty close together but in the heat of summer mine spread out to stay cooler.

Another consideration: Mine can get fairly brutal on the roosts as they are settling down to sleep, especially when I am integrating younger chickens. The ones getting picked on want to get as far away from the brutes as possible. If you don’t have enough roost space for them to find a safer place to sleep, that safer place may be your nests. I’ve seen that enough when integrating that I built a separate roost, about a foot lower than the main roosts, about a foot higher than the nests, and separated horizontally by a few feet. That’s helped a lot.

I tend to give them more space than the bare minimum they need, mainly because it makes it easier on me, but I’d suggest about 20 feet of roost space for 30 chickens or about 8” per chicken. If you only had four chickens, I’d suggest 48” or 12” each, which would give them more free room to move around and get up there.

For nests, assuming all 30 are hens, I’d suggest six nests will be enough, especially if you build them a bit bigger than the absolute minimum. While chickens can and will squeeze into smaller spaces to lay, the minimum recommended size is 12” x 12”. I made mine 16” x 16” and I’m glad I did. Partly that spacing came about because that is the spacing for my studs and 16” made framing them out easier. But it’s not unusual for me to see 3 hens in the nest at the same time. If the nest is 12” x12”, even with just two hens in there, one can wind up sitting on top of another while laying. In mine, 3 hens can all be sitting on the nesting material, though it is tight. Another advantage to me is that I let my broody hens hatch with the flock. The first chicks that hatch often like climbing on top of the hen while later eggs are hatching. If that hen is in a minimum-sized nest, the hen is so near the front or edges that the chick can fall out of the nest. That never happens with my larger nests.

How much room do you need for nests? Depends on how you build them, in one single row or stacked. You don’t want the chickens pooping in the nests from the roosts, so you need to position them so that doesn’t happen or build them on a way the poop can’t get in. Some people use the top of their nests as a droppings board to help manage the poop, but be a bit careful if you do that so you don’t get poop in your hair when you bend over to get the eggs.

That’s the bare physical space you need for roosts and nests. How much living space do they need? That is the important question. It depends entirely on how you manage them. It doesn’t matter if space available is in a coop, coop and run, or somewhere else. What matters is that the space is available when they need it. If they are able to get into a decent sized run when they wake up, you really don’t need a lot of space in the coop. If you lock them up at night for predator protection and occasionally sleep in or can’t find someone to let them out at the crack of dawn when you are on vacation, you need a lot more space in the coop. Again, I suggest you follow the link in my signature for things to consider.

Good luck!

I have 19 plans for building my own chicken coops.
On my second plan i have this measures:
  • Large 10x12' floor plan allows for up to 30 chickens at one time

Hope I have helped!
Thank you all a lot! I live in PA so we get a bit of everything weather wise. During the winter we move them to a shed so this coop is only for 3 season use. We have all heritage, dual purpose, hardy breeds so they are big girls.

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