1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Coop/Run space and design help

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by smmuirhead, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. smmuirhead

    smmuirhead Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    22
    Dec 23, 2015
    Southeast Texas
    Hi guys! This is my first post, so be nice. I have a bricked in (brick walls, wood gate) courtyard connected to the side of my house with a gate and open pergola type top. It's 10'9" by 5'3", so roughly 57 sqft. I'm planning on turning this area into a coop/run for my future girls. Based on the space numbers, I think I can build a 6x3 coop, giving 18 sqft indoor floor space. Now my question is... with these space specs, how many standard size (not bantam) chickens can I realistically have. I've heard everything from 2-4/hen in the coop and 10 in the run. The coop will be raised about 2 feet, so they will have plenty of room under it. My guess is somewhere between 4-6 hens. I want as many as I can fit, but I don't want them to be crowded. Advice?
     
  2. KeyFlock

    KeyFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    659
    78
    102
    Feb 22, 2015
    Kansas
    The recommended amount of space per standard size chicken is 4 sq ft of coop space and 10 sq ft of run space. So probably around 5 hens.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,703
    5,450
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I consider this to be a minimum on most situations.

    What is your location @smmuirhead ?
    Climate can make a difference, putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.
    Pics of the area can help too.

    Oh and Welcome to BYC!!
     
  4. KeyFlock

    KeyFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    659
    78
    102
    Feb 22, 2015
    Kansas
    Oh I forgot! [​IMG]
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    [​IMG]

    I think 4 will be maxing out your coop space. I agree knowing your area will help us advise you. Will the run area be covered, or just the open pergola?

    Something else to keep in mind is the ability to add birds down the road. If you get chicks in Spring 16, they'll start laying in fall 16. In fall 17, they'll molt and take a break for the winter. Do you plan to overwinter non-laying hens at that time? Would you plan to get a few chicks in Spring 17, to have new layers starting production when the older girls are decreasing? If so, you'll need space for them.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

    7,262
    1,569
    356
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! Building bigger is the best plan, and location and photos will help us, I agree. Mary
     
  7. smmuirhead

    smmuirhead Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    22
    Dec 23, 2015
    Southeast Texas
    Sorry for the late response... holidays and all. I'm outside of Houston, so climate is varied, but usually doesn't get too cold here. I'll try to get a picture or two posted soon. I was planning on having the coop inside the courtyard area and keeping the top of the courtyard open, but covered with welded wire for protection. It's my understanding that the breeds I'm interested in getting lay eggs all year round. My kids don't eat eggs just yet (weird). Well, my 8 year old is allergic and my 5 year old refuses to try them. Ideally, I'd like to have around 15-20/week, but don't want to crowd the hens.
     
  8. smmuirhead

    smmuirhead Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    22
    Dec 23, 2015
    Southeast Texas
    Also, I'm not planning on starting with chicks! Hens that have just started laying or are about to work just fine for me. :)
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,945
    3,104
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    2 to 4 in the coop? I’ve seen anything from 1 to 16 square feet per chicken is needed in the coop on this forum. There are a lot of variables involved so there is a wide range of numbers that actually work, but 1 and 16 are both pretty extreme. Even most commercial operations don’t go to 1 square feet per chicken.

    You might follow the link in my signature below to get some of my thoughts. A lot of that won’t apply to you but some will and you might get some management ideas out of it. Or maybe more questions.

    From what I read I suggest you start with maybe 4, no more than 5 hens. They should lay a lot of eggs for you. They will not lay year round. Depending on what time of year they are hatched and eventually start to lay, some pullets will lay through their first winter and on until the next fall, but some don’t. In the fall hens normally molt when the days get shorter. They replace their feathers and stop laying, using the nutrients that were going into egg production to grow new feathers instead.

    I find the more I squeeze them the more behavioral problems I have to deal with, the harder I have to work, and the less flexibility I have to deal with issues that do come up. Chickens poop a lot. Poop management may be a good chore for your kids. But the more chickens you have pooping in a small area the more you have to manage the poop. That’s an example of having to work harder if you crowd them.

    I spent a year in Houston after Katrina. Cold is not your enemy, heat is. You don’t need much of a coop, mainly something to protect form rain and strong winds. What you do need is plenty of shade and great ventilation in the heat of summer.

    Most building materials come in 4’ and 8’ dimensions when you buy new. I don’t know how you plan on setting that area up but you might consider a 4’ wide coop. You might get less cutting and less waste of materials plus a larger coop for no more money.
     
  10. smmuirhead

    smmuirhead Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    22
    Dec 23, 2015
    Southeast Texas
    Let's see if I can do this right.... here are some pics of the space I want to use. It needs to be cleared, obviously.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by