Clarification on sq ft per bird?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rypie13, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. rypie13

    rypie13 In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2008
    We are getting our first meat chickens and our understanding is that you should have about 2 sq ft per bird. Now our question is that is that 2 ft of run and 2 ft of coop per bird or is it a combined total. I have a coop that is 42 sq ft and a run that is the same size. right now we are expecting 20 meat cornish x for this coop and run I am confident it is large enough for this set but we plan to increase our order next time and am wondering the max. occupancy allowed by the chicken code. Thanks for all the input and help we get from this site.
  2. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    What size birds are you getting? For bantams, 2 sq ft would work, but for standards or heavies, you need 3 to 4. That's not including the run. In all, you should have 10 sq ft per bird for the larger breeds. If you free range or have a big enough run, 4 sq ft per bird will work in your coop. If they are cooped all the time, your coop needs to be 10 sq ft per bird. Smaller for bantams but the more space the better I say.

    Good luck and I hope that helps.
  3. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    You are going to get some varying information with that question.

    The conventional wisdom is 3 to 4 sq ft per bird which I understand to be total (combined).

    Another opinion is 10 sq ft per bird which I really think is better. When you picture a 2' by 2' square (4 sq ft) and put a full grown chicken in that square there really isn't much room.

    Picture an 8' by 8' square. 64 sq ft. 64/4 = 16 chickens in an 8 X 8 space. Pretty crowded. Now if they have access to a large space like a yard then the coop/run is for temporary occupancy like sleeping and the crowding isn't as bad.
  4. rypie13

    rypie13 In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2008
    Thanks for all the info. for our 6 hens we have a 6x6 coop and a 10x6 run so i think our hens are in good shape. i am just wondering about the meat chickens and their lethargic attitude as well as their short life expectancy
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I give my meat birds a tractor with about 4 sq feet per bird and move it every few days because the wates build up quick.

    As for regulars, the guideline is 4 sq ft in and 10 sq feet out. However, free range time can reduce this while if they are cooped up all the time, might want to double it. More space the better to prevent bad habits like egg eating, picking, and fighting.
  6. fullhouse

    fullhouse Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    The info I have found on cornish X broilers says 1.25 sq per 5 pounds end live weight. They don't really move much once they get big.

    ETA: That is less than I am sure most people would give them here, they were aimed at more commercial settings.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  7. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    I had 15 meat birds. Yes they are lethargic but I put the feeder out of reach during the day which forced them to forage. They weren't good at and it slowed their growth some but they still did forage.

    You need to include your meat birds in the count when determining space.

    If they are allowed sunshine, fresh air, and grass they will not be as stinky and will be a little cleaner. Just my experience. Think about that 2 X 2 square. If you give your meat birds only 2 sq ft you are putting them in a space 1' X 2" or about 1' 4" X 1' 4". Real crowded and serious waste build up.

    Realize that some of the information gleaned from research is for commerical operations.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: