# Chicken math?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kentuckychicks, Oct 24, 2013.

1. ### kentuckychicksChillin' With My Peeps

Sep 15, 2013
Kentucky
Ok my chicken friends I completely suck at chicken math, and lack the ability to change square feet in actual length feet. Math of any kind is not my forte lol.

Here's the question..... I'm getting 25 chickens in the spring. My coop should be blank feet by blank feet.... Any one care to fill on the blanks? Oh I'm also getting heavy breed chickens not bantams so I know that makes a difference!

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Jan 23, 2013
Pocono Mtns
My Coop
Rule of thumb for 25 chickens.

Coop: You need 100 square feet (4 square feet per chicken)...so say 10' x 10' = 100, 12' x 8 = 96, 14 x 7 = 98

Run: You need 250 square feet (10 square feet per chicken)...so say 16 x 16 = 256, 18 x 14 = 252, 20 x 13 = 260

Now, that's rule of thumb, but there are many variables to size such as climate, temperaments, etc.

3. ### kentuckychicksChillin' With My Peeps

Sep 15, 2013
Kentucky
Thanks so much! I live in western Kentucky and am getting nice temperament birds, buff orpingtons, black australorps, white jersey giants and barred rocks plus I plan on free ranging during the day. Glad I asked I was thinking for some reason 8x10 but looks like I should add two feet. My husband says that they don't need a big run if we are going to free range. But I should still give them some space right?

4. ### Mac14Chillin' With My Peeps

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Jul 21, 2012
Northern California
Also, you will always want more chickens, so do build it a little bigger than you think you should. That will save you from building as many extra coops. And, there will almost always be a time where you can't free range them for a while, so the extra space would be better.
Again, the rule of thumb:
2-4 sq. ft. in the coop. Can depend on how much time they would spend in there.
10 sq. ft. in the run.
I hope this helped.

5. ### WalkingOnSunshineOverrun With Chickens

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Apr 8, 2008
Ohio
You don't technically need a run at all if you plan to free range. My chickens do not have a run. They just have a chicken house and a pasture. The amount of space suggested for a run is for confined chickens.

Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
6. ### kentuckychicksChillin' With My Peeps

Sep 15, 2013
Kentucky
Thanks I might do a smaller run then as extra protection from the things that go bump in the night here in the country. Awesome! I can use that extra money to make an even bigger coop.... Now of you want to tell my hubby that you helped make more work for him?! Lol

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Jan 23, 2013
Pocono Mtns
My Coop
You do, however, want 10 square feet per bird for the run if there will be times and seasons you can't let the chickens free range. Better to build bigger than smaller.

8. ### WalkingOnSunshineOverrun With Chickens

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Apr 8, 2008
Ohio
If she's planning a free-range flock, there really aren't that many times they need to be confined to a run. Maybe once a year for a week when you introduce new pullets to make sure they know where "home" is, or if the birds start laying eggs all over the place to remind them where to lay their eggs. During those times at our house, our birds don't go outside at all, as we don't have a "run." They do absolutely fine, and I don't have anywhere near 4 sq. ft. per bird in the hen house. Now, my hen house is very large, and has a 14' ceiling and six full-size house windows, so it's not a dark place like many chicken coops, but the point is that the birds stay in far less than 4 sq. ft. per bird for a whole week, no problems. Even though we have closer to 2 sq ft. per bird in our hen house they do fine, even in the winter when many choose to stay inside much of the time. The key is to watch the chickens' behavior--they'll let you know if they're overcrowded.

There are many cheaper ways to confine chickens rather than building a permanent run if you plan them to free-range for 350 days a year. Even a roll of plastic snow fence and some garden T post is cheaper and more flexible. My husband made moveable panels out of boards and cattle fence panels, and we use those to make a round pen for young stock or to confine small groups for breeding.

There is nothing that says that chickens need a run at all, and a small run that's not 10 sq. ft. per bird will be perfectly adequate for short periods of confinement. Chickens don't need a coop and run, although that's what many people build. What chickens really need is adequate TOTAL space, so a reasonably-sized coop + the whole outdoors is plenty. Or a reasonably sized coop + a smaller run + the whole outdoors is also more than enough. Barnyard chickens of my Grandma's day stayed in 1.5 sq. ft. per bird + a barnyard and did just fine. I'm not arguing that more room isn't better, but what I'm saying is that it can be carried too far, like saying you need 10 sq. ft. of run space for free-range birds.

Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
9. ### kentuckychicksChillin' With My Peeps

Sep 15, 2013
Kentucky
Thanks guys! I guess the isn't really a "right" way as every one does things a little bit different and some things work well for one and not another. The little old lady who lives up the road from us has a old shed and no run but since we are farther out we have more coyetes raccoons ( though they seem to like town just fine lol) I wanted some run space as a buffer but since we have three acres surrounded by woods we are putting these girls to work on the bugs!! They will eat you alive out here! Again I suck at math but would. 10 square feet for 30 birds be 300 square feet? That seems huge! That number might be wrong actually it probably is! Haha

10. ### WalkingOnSunshineOverrun With Chickens

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Apr 8, 2008
Ohio
No, you've got it. 300 sq feet is 10 feet each for 30 birds. That's a 15' x 20' area, or a 30' x 10' area, etc.