Coop Big enough ?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by warren86, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. warren86

    warren86 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2016
    Have a 10x12 coop with 37 in my flock they free range all day only sleep and lay their eggs in the coop is my coop big enough for this amount of birds?
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    If the coop is the only shelter they have, then yes, it's much too small. If you have perfect weather every single day of the year, it will be fine.
  3. I have an 8x12 Coop....I could not fit that many Birds....I have a run also that is 8x12....I have 12 Birds and it is big enough for them....Being you free range all day, it might work??

  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    (insert tone of sarcastic facetiousness)
    Sure...with always perfect weather...and no predators.....and no need for integration space.
    It'll work great, until it doesn't.

    Now seriously, the answer is depends (on a LOT of things), but no probably not enough space.
    Mostly it depends on what your chicken keeping goals are.

    Good article on space linked in my signature...I strongly suggest you read it.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Hey Warren. My coop is the same size. Technically, according to the minimum quoted space formula, that will house 30 birds. Add a roo to the mix, and you automatically need more space than the recommended 4 sq. ft/bird in coop, 10 sq. ft/bird in run. Plan to replace birds with chicks or even older birds in the future? More space needed. Do you have a run to keep birds safe when there is predator pressure? If not, then your coop needs to have MUCH more sq. ft./bird, unless you enjoy providing a daily chicken buffet. Last winter, I housed 25 birds. That was maxed out. We have snow on the ground Nov. through April, and first/last snows are Oct. and May. My run is covered and 500 sq. ft. Without that, I'd plan on keeping my flock size for that coop down to about 15 birds.
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi. [​IMG]

    Lot's of good advice here already. [​IMG]

    My free range flock hang out in the coop during bad weather. It's important for the layers to feel calm enough to lay in the boxes. And I've seen them stressed from watching youngsters running around inside while she was trying to lay.

    Good luck.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Like Aart said, it will work until it doesn’t. That may be forever, that may end today. It’s one of those questions that’s extremely hard to answer because there is no clear cut answer. There are just too many variables and things that might possibly happen.

    To me that space isn’t all that bad for that number of birds provided they always have access to additional space outside. Whether or not you have additional protected space for them outside can make a big difference. What is your weather like? Will they be confined for days on end to the coop this winter with no access to the outside? Putting your general location in your profile can help us with these questions. How will you manage if a predator shows up and starts picking them off? Will you have to leave them locked in the coop while you deal with that predator? That can take days or even weeks. Will you be integrating new chickens or having broody hens raise chicks? A broody hen could probably manage in that space, especially if she has access to outside, but the risk comes in when she weans them and leaves them on their own with the flock.

    I had more than that in my 8’ x 12’ coop earlier this year. But that was in the good weather where they were assured of being outside every day and they have a large area protected with electric netting so predator issues are pretty unlikely. Also a lot of those were pretty young, some with broody hens and some brooder raised. Younger chickens don’t usually need that much space in the coop itself as long as you manage them so that a lot or space is available when the chickens are awake. That’s a commitment for me to be down there pretty early every day to let them out. For some people that might be a safe haven in the coop. Your management techniques make a difference too. I’m now down to 26 and plan to drop that number to 20 next week. They are almost big enough for the freezer. I plan to eventually get down to 10 before the numbers start building back up.

    What you have is probably workable but it leaves you very little flexibility to deal with issues that may or may not pop up unless you have more facilities you’re not telling us about.

    On the predator issue. My parents free ranged their chickens when I was growing up. They only had two predators to deal with in all that time, a dog and a fox. Some people can go many years without any real issues when they free range, some people will immediately be wiped out of they try to free range. That’s one example why this is so hard to answer. We don’t know what will happen in your unique case and frankly, neither do you.
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    It is a bit tight, and if there is tension in the flock, you really should reduce some birds.

    People often talk about free ranging as making up for a lack of space in the coop. In the summer you can do that, the days are long, and the nights are short. The birds are OUTSIDE for most of the hours in the 24 / day. However, this time of year, mine are roosted up earlier and earlier each day. In a couple of weeks, even on really NICE days, they will be headed in by a bit after 4:00 and be staying there until daylight the next morning. To me, this time of year, you really need to look and measure your roost space, and count your birds.

    I had a tight number like that one time, and lost two birds to a predator. Felt bad about it, but quickly noted that my flock seemed much more relaxed. They were happier, there was less squabbles. I don't think you would be asking, unless you are picking up on the tension in your flock.

    Mrs K

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