Coop big enough?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KLCRollins, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. KLCRollins

    KLCRollins Out Of The Brooder

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    Is one coop that measures 4x4x4 with three roosts and four nesting boxes large enough for 15 hens? They free range all day. We actually are currently using two of these coops, but need one for our chicks.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Space questions are really hard to answer because it depends so much on how you manage them. If they are not locked up in there during their waking hours, you can get by with extremely little space. But if they spend any waking time locked in there, you can quickly run into behavioral problems. I'd feel real uncomfortable with them that tight. If you ever sleep in, go on vacation and youir chicken sitter doesn't let them out, or you run into problems such as a predator and you need to leave them locked up, you have no flexibility. If you are set up where you never lock them in at night, it can work.

    I don't see how you can get 4 nesting boxes and roosts for 15 chickens in a 4' x 4'. That is crowded.

    Four nesting boxes is about right for 15 hens. They will probably only use a couple of them, but you have some flexibility if you get a broody. I currently have 9 hens and three nest boxes. One hen lays in the top one. The rest use the other two.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  3. KLCRollins

    KLCRollins Out Of The Brooder

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    The door to the coops stay open, so that wouldn't be an issue. As it is right now, our 15 hens aren't committed to either coop. Some nights we go out there and 13 of them are in one coop and only two in the other. But then the next night there will be 7 in one and 8 in the other. They also do that with their laying...one day there will be one egg in one coop and 12 in the other, and then the next day the majority will be in the opposite coop.

    I'm pretty sure they are 4x4x4...the four nesting boxes are fairly small. I thought I had a completed picture, but can't find one. The pic below is the shell...the four boxes are attached on the inside at the front left, and then the three roosts run side to side at three different heights.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. AmyLM

    AmyLM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would say that's too small for 15 hens. Depending on their size of course (bantam vs standard) I wouldn't put more than 9 in that.. and I would think that would be rather crowded for that many. That is a rather subjective question but I think with that many they wouldn't have enough space for roosting and feces would pile up very quickly.
     
  5. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My guess is, if your chickens are already used to the coop and you have observed them to squash in there on their own, they might be okay for a few weeks while you brood your chicks. But my goodness! That is only 16 square feet for 15 birds. I would probably just brood the chicks in tupperware tubs and avoid crowding issues altogether.
     
  6. SleepyOwl

    SleepyOwl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't actually have chickens yet, so take what I have to say knowing that.

    If you live in a cold climate, I don't think you will get away with so little space, because the chickens will stay inside on really cold days, and then you will have problems. If you live in TX or something, they will probably be ok. Also depending on where you live, but most places, if you leave the door open over night, you will probably lose a bunch of chickens eventually(some hungry critter will find them and they will be easy catching at night), and then you won't have to worry about it. :p
     
  7. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    My coop is 12x4x9 and the run is 22x5x5 with access all year round. I still have pecking issues with 8 hen's even though it's plenty of space. I'm adding 3 more, but culling my internal layer. I don't want her dying a painful death and I'm positive she lays internally most the time. I free range daily as well as soon as the snow melts.
     
  8. KLCRollins

    KLCRollins Out Of The Brooder

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    I live on 2 acres in TX, so they will be out of the coop all summer wandering all over the property except for sleeping and laying. We have no predator problems, so their coops stay open 24/7. The coops have a wire bottom, so some of their poo falls right through to the ground, and the rest is easily cleaned off.

    Of course, my biggest concern is that I don't want them fighting once it's bedtime and they all have to squeeze into one coop. But, the nights we found them with 12 in one coop they were perfectly happy. Not sure if forcing them to do that (and it being 15 rather than 12) would make a difference.
     
  9. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well it's ultimately up to you, but I think most people would advise against. It's easier to prevent problems than deal with them.
     
  10. AmyLM

    AmyLM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    where in tx are you?? We also have 2 acres in tx :D we are in wylie just north east of Dallas.
     

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