Coop and Run Size Requirements


8 Years
Aug 6, 2011
Pacific North West
I am really 1 month new with chickens and of course common sense and basic reading can get you a long way. This site has been extremely helpful for me and thanks to all that participate.

Let me get to it. We moved into this home with a ready made chicken coop that interested me from day 1. The coop itself is a sheet of plywood size which is standard 4 X 8 X 4. Pain working in there and should have been raise to 6’ but that’s just my opinion. The brooder box is done well and its 4 X 4 X 2. It contains all that’s needed including 2 perch bars 3” and 8” staggered like stairs, 3 sections in it to sit on eggs and a drop back to manage the eggs and a side door and it has a red heat lamp ready and lastly good ventilation. I have 3 chicks and feel this is an adequate size area for only 3 birds. In addition, on the side of our home is 10’ wide X 45’ long the coop sits in to allow them to run on dirt, sand area, play area with a single perch, straw, bugs and I will be adding a section 4X4 of ready made grass.




What started this is I saw a closed wire coop that is smaller than the one I have and it has 5 full size hens in it and I felt that was extremely poor ownership to stuff that size cage with 5 birds?

1. What are the size of your coops ?
2. I'm I not getting it, are we not to treat our birds humanely?
3. What size runs do you folks have?
4. Do you leave your chickens in cages only? And if so why?
5. Do you leave your birds free in the run when you are gone for their protection?
6. Do you just let you birds free range on your city lot and not lock them up?
7. Do you let them free range in the run and not bother to lock them in the coop each and every night?

Thanks for your feedback and answers.
Would love to see pictures of your setup also.
Any advise is always considered.

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8 Years
Mar 24, 2011
You'll find all kinds of people on here, with all different opinions and wanting/needing different info. Some have a few in the backyard for pets and some have big time farms or operations and raise for meat.

But your typical coop size should be 4 sq/ft for LF=large fowl and 10sq/ft of run space. Some have way more than that and some have less. If you free range then yes your chix will be more free and happy and healthy, but also way more vulnerable to predators, getting into poison, tearing up your flower beds, etc. so it's a trade off. I personally have lost 3 to predators while they were inside the run (reach thru killing) and 2 to extreme heat that might have survived had they been free ranging (who knows).

But I think the majority of people on here do treat them humanily and in a lot of cases probably too much so with the various forms of pampering and un-natural food or environments. They forget that chickens have been around a long time and are animals, but hey whatever floats thier boat.

Better than ending up in a kfc bucket I guess


9 Years
Aug 19, 2010
north central indiana
My Coop
My Coop
You'll find that a LOT of people on this board coddle their chickens (NOT that it's a bad thing-if it works for them, that's great) so something that's acceptable may not be up to snuff for many here.

The coop we have now is only about 24 square feet. That's because we bought 12 chicks and were planning to rehome 6 of them. I'm sure you can imagine how that went with all the whining and foot stomping. Luckily dh responds well to my whining and foot stomping so we're keeping all 12 chickens. So he's building me a new coop (it's almost done!) which is about 50 square feet.

Our run is about 10' x 24'. They stay in the coop/run 24/7. We have a dog and we live out in the sticks where there are plenty of scary critters and stray dogs. Our property is way to big to try to keep a close eye on them if they were free ranging. We do lock them up in the coop every night, because our coop has 2x4 wire (chicken wire on the sides to reduce opening sizes) and I'm afraid a small critter could get in and hurt them. We are hoping to put up a hot wire for when we go on vacation and have to leave the pop door open. We'll be able to find someone to come and collect eggs and feed/water but it's hard to find someone to come early am to open the door and late evening also to shut them up. Maybe I can talk dh into putting 1x1 hardware cloth over the whole run..but I doubt it.


Love My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 28, 2009
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
My Coop
My Coop
Chickens are no different (well - for my point than dogs or cats or any other animal. You go from folks who totally pamper their pooches - outfits, special foods, sleep in bed with humans, full vet and grooming treatment, etc. to people who shouldn't even own a dog - food/water is often an afterthought, shelter is a broke down wooden doghouse w/no bedding (even in ice/snow) or under the porch...and a whole range in between.
Same with chickens, except that chickens have it worse because they're more of a utility animal than pet.
My chickens aren't pampered (well...some would say they were, but they're not compared to really spoiled chickens
), but they have it very easy for chickens. My SIL says when she dies she wants to come back as one of my I view them as pets. However, even if they weren't pets, they would be given secure shelter and ample food/water.
My bantams have about 6 sq. ft of coop space ea. (15 sq. in the run) and my big girls have about 7 sq. ft. each (currently have more space, but have chicks that will be added in a month or two) in the coop and about 100 sq. ft of run space each (will decrease when the chicks are added). I often freerange my birds during the day (our property is fenced), but they are shut in at night time for safety.
I do believe that most people want adequate care for their chickens, whether they're eatin' birds or pets. But there are those out there who simply see a chicken as a product - not a living, breathing creature.
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9 Years
Dec 21, 2010
Everyone does things differently for different reasons. Like you, I have spent quite some time reading all the wonderful information on this site and I feel that the other members have great advice to give. But I also know that each situation is a little different and each flock is a little different. As an example, I have 12 hens and my coop is only about 30 sq.ft. - the reason for this is that it was built around a set of horse-shoeing stocks that the horses refused to use - no sense wasting a solid foundation like that! Having said that, the coop is well ventillated, has a fan for the summer, a light for short winter days, 3 nest boxes, a spot for a waterer in the winter, and plenty of roosting space. I clean it daily. And their completely enclosed run more than makes up for the slightly small coop - it is 12' x 24' and they are let out into it every morning. It is also cleaned daily. In the afternoon and evenings when we are home, they have access to an additional space - their "free-range" area (fenced but no top covering) which is 40'x50' and still has grass and lots of good dusting pits. They have constant access to fresh water and food and shelter and are locked in their coop every night. Some people might look at my coop and how many hens I have and say it is too crowded - but we are able to make it work because of the other areas provided. Other people would look at this set-up and say that I have excessively spoiled chickens. I guess I am trying for humanely spoiled and protected. I hope other people at least go for the humane part and provide adequate shelter and food and water.


8 Years
Jun 29, 2011
The Peak District, UK

1. What are the size of your coops ?

It's 10sq feet on the inside. It's to house two hens (one light LF and one bantam), but allows me to sneak an extra one in when no-one is looking
I haven't had a chance to put chicken math into operation yet, but I've planned for it.
In the UK, it is far cheaper to buy an imported coop than to build one yourself. I know, shame on me, but it gives me more cash to optimise it. It'll be as efficient as any BYC coop, by the time I'm done (I hope!). I bought the biggest I could find, to give the hens as much room as possible. We get snowy winters here, so I want them as comfy as possible, without having to fight for space. I work from home and I don't have a car, so I see the same four walls 24/7. The bigger the room, the less cooped-up and frustrated I'd feel. I can't speak for chickens, only imagine for them, so I imagine, if I were a chicken, it'd be the same.

2. I'm I not getting it, are we not to treat our birds humanely?
I can't tell you what to do, I can only do what I feel is best for my animals. They may have a few complaints, but I like to think they're happy, overall.

3. What size runs do you folks have?
The run is 20sq feet, but they have the whole garden. The run is just if we go away or if I'd like a lie-in.

4. Do you leave your chickens in cages only? And if so why?
No, I wouldn't feel that is best for them.

5. Do you leave your birds free in the run when you are gone for their protection?
At this point, I feel I should point out my coop and run are still in the living room, in pieces. The birds are only 7 weeks old and currently live in a kid's paddling pool in the guest room. We have left them alone for three days and they've been fine. When they're older, I would expect to be able to leave them alone for three days in their coop and run (whole point in having a run as otherwise they'll free-range).

6. Do you just let you birds free range on your city lot and not lock them up?
By city lot, do you mean garden? I only have a small backgarden, but we've chicken-proofed it. Unless they decide they are unhappy and fly off, they can't get through any gaps in the fence, wall, gate. My chooks, young as they are, have already spent one afternoon free-ranging. At night, they'll get locked up. I'm not going to be asking for trouble.

7. Do you let them free range in the run and not bother to lock them in the coop each and every night?
I will if I want a lie-in.

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