Coop and run size???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rsutton, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. rsutton

    rsutton New Egg

    Aug 2, 2008
    Acworth, GA
    I am thrilled about getting my new chickens soon. But before I go out and get my new friends I want to get everything set up and ready for when they come home. So I am currently trying to decide where to build my chicken coop and run. I have two options and some questions. Please I need some advise.
    I am wanting to stay small, max 4 hens because I am somewhat in the burbs. My first option was to build behind my backyard chained link fence that has a gate (still on our property) thats in a wooded area about 75 yards away from a lake. I could build a stand alone coop 25 sq ft off the ground with a run as big as my dh will build for me. Not sure on that yet. My second option is to build a coop/run next to my house in a smaller privacy fenced in area. The total area for coop and run would be about 8 ft wide by 6 ft. Three sides would be privacy fence and the other wall/ceiling would be well protected, but with this design I could let them run around in the backyard.
    I am looking for advise on which would be better? And am wondering how much space they need to live comfortably in. I have seen some of the small coop/run designs and some just seem a bit small.
    Sorry this was a bit long but any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. CritterHill

    CritterHill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2008
    SE PA
    I think the standard answer is 4 sq ft per chicken inside the coop, 10 sq ft per chicken outside in the run minimum.

    I'm told you can get away with less if they will be free ranged and won't be locked up in the winter due to inclement weather.
  3. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    It is fun to watch them in the backyard. But coops don't smell like rose gardens. [​IMG]
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I would not look at this from the perspective of 'how much space do they need' because there is no one true number. That's like saying 'how big does a person's office need to be'. Answer - as big as realistically feasible. A cubicle *works*, but does that mean there are no advantages to something larger than a cubicle? Not at all [​IMG]

    In this case I think there are two larger considerations to guide your decision. First, predators. You will have more (probably a LOT more) predator issues if the coop is far from the house and in a wooded area. And trust me, even in the suburbs you will have LOTS of predators -- raccoons, oppossums, loose dogs, and doubtless other critters that you'd be real surprised to find there's any living in your area. So it depends somewhat on how much money and effort you want to put into predator-proofing.

    Second, aesthetics. You will enjoy your chickens much more if you can see them well from the house; on the other hand you will not enjoy them if you can *smell* them from the house or go slip-sliding on chicken poo every time you step onto the lawn [​IMG] So. How close is 'closer' to the house, and also how much 'active sanitation' do you want to have to engage in? Ideally you could maximize use of the space by building the coop over top of part of the run, making something like a 6x4 coop over top of a 6x8 run which would be a nice comfortable space for the hens. The coop over part of the run will also help keep that part of the run dry, and you could bring in some sand and/or gravel for the run footing, to encourage good drainage and dryness (a damp run is the smelliest run). There will be a few flies at first but if you can bring yourself to leave the poo in place for a few months (not the worst of it - clean that out - but don't clean the entire space out) fly-predator populations will build up and life will be much more pleasant thereafter. So the question is, how acceptible would this be, 'close' to the house?

    Good luck and have fun,


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