Chicken sq. ft questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lostinthewoods, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. lostinthewoods

    lostinthewoods Out Of The Brooder

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    How many chickens can safely fit into a 7' x 7' x 8' chicken coop keeping in mind the heat lamp, roost, and nest boxes? Currently there are 5 hens and 1 rooster. Looking forward to your replies! Thanks!
     
  2. gkeesling

    gkeesling Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've seen that grown chickens should have 4 sq.ft. per chicken in the coop and 10 sq. ft. per chicken in the run. That's how I built my coop and run. I have 20 hens in 80 sq ft. (less the nest box area which is only about 6 sq. ft.) and all of mine seem to be doing ok. My run is about 300 sq. ft. so that gives them more than enough room.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    7x7 is 49 sq ft. Assuming you either free-range them, or have a run at least twice the size of the coop (preferably larger), at 4 sq ft per chicken you could fit about 12 chickens. More at higher stocking densities; fewer at lower stocking densities. What is "safe" depends on your climate, chickens, and other aspects of your situation, though, so do not take this number as magic.

    Pat
     
  4. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    The general consensus seems to be 4 square feet of floor space per bird. If your nest boxes are on the ground then that takes away floor space. Roosts are usually up off the floor. Heat lamps are off the floor. I'm assuming your coop is 7' X 7' for a floor area of 49 square feet. 49 divided by 4 gives you space for 12 chickens.

    Now take this a step farther. A square 2' X 2' is four feet square. Picture a chicken in a 2' X 2' square. In your mind is it big enough, especially if they don't have access to the outdoors?

    My feeling is that if you go with 4 square feet per bird you need to give them lots of outside space.


    I think your space is fine for 6 chickens.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    The difficulty with imagining a chicken on four floor tiles (2x2) is that it's only direclty relevant if you are contemplating keeping an individual chicken. A pair, at that stocking density, would have twice the elbow room (although of course they have to share it); one of a flock of 100 would have twice the size of my (fairly good-sized) living room as its living-room - yes, it's sharing that space with 100 compatriots but they are not generally evenly distributed and the individual chicken of a large flock does have a lot of square footage to explore and roam at different times during the day. So a chicken in a large flock is much less spatially-deprived than one in a small flock, AT THE SAME STOCKING DENSITY.

    I totally understand *why* people want Hard Numbers for deciding how many chickens to put in a coop... but I still don't think it's constructive. I think the more useful questions, which nobody seems to ask, would be "how few chickens can I deal with owning" and "how much extra space can I provide for them".

    Pat
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:Visualizing this really does help! While I read this, I glanced down at the ottomon my computer was/is sitting on, which is slightly larger than 2x2', and pictured one of my girls contained to that space, and I didn't like it. I think in warm weather areas where the birds are only in the coop for sleeping, that's no big deal. Not much movement involved in sleeping. But in areas that get bad weather, more space sure is nice to have! My girls have about 8 sq. ft. each at the moment, and I still wish they had more indoor room, especially with this cold spell we've been having, because they've been inside so much. I would always opt for more space rather than less space...
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  7. lostinthewoods

    lostinthewoods Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2007
    Hayward, Wisconsin
    Thank you all! You've been very helpful![​IMG]
     
  8. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Pat,

    I will assume that your post on stocking density was in response to my post. My post on the tail of yours was not in response to yours. I was composing it and posted it without seeing yours. I will also assume that your post is your opinion although it could be taken that you were stating it as fact when you said direct relevance. That said. No big deal. [​IMG] We are all entitled to our opinions which I have plenty of. [​IMG] I can see where one chicken in a 2' X 2' space didn't quite go far enough. [​IMG]

    If one chicken isn't enough to visualize then picture two in a 2' by 4' space or four in 4' X 4' space. One full grown standard size bird will almost fill up one square foot without flapping its wings.


    My visualization exercise is based on my own experience with a coop slightly less than 8 feet on each side, therefore just under 64 square feet. Going with 4 square per bird the coop should easily house 16 birds. Sixteen birds in that coop seemed cramped and when they were younger I had problems with pecking. When I added an 8' X 16' foot run they still seemed cramped.

    So bottom line I guess would be to take other's experience and the "experts" advice as a starting point and find out what works for you.
     
  9. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the "visualizing the chicken in the ottoman" analogy can be usual for this reason...Most of the people asking these types of questions are building, or thinking of building, a fairly small coop. Chickens seem to be very protective of their resources, and one of those seems to be space. People who exceed the stocking density of 4 sq. ft. per bird (in a smaller coop) are often the ones who latter post about pecking and cannabalism. It seems to me that the birds themselves have a sense of how much room is comfortable for them, and sometimes "prune" the flock down to fit the space. (BTW I think it should be at least 6 sq. ft.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Well, I'm certainly not *advocating* 4 sq ft per chicken -- mine have like 12-15 sq ft each indoors (plus run) depending on the pen and how many chickens I have at any given moment, and having tried different stocking densities, I don't see me EVER going lower than 10 sq ft apiece indoors [​IMG]

    I just really don't like these magic number thingies.

    And I have been noticing that it seems like an awful high percentage of the people who are reporting doing just fine and dandy with not much space per chicken (like 2 sq ft apiece indoors, or even less) are not only in mild climates but also have fairly *large flocks*, like in the dozens. It seems like a given sq footage per chicken goes a lot farther in a large flock (thus large building) than it does in a small flock (small building).

    Obviously, this IS just my opinion, just like anything ANYone writes is just their opinion, how could it possibly be otherwise [​IMG]

    Pat
     

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