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Coop / Run square footage question.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Casey, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Casey

    Casey In the Brooder

    Dec 22, 2008
    First I would like to introduce myself. My name is Casey (a guy), I am from NW Florida. I grew up with horses, goats and chickens. But I am in my thirties now and haven't been around "farm" life for a while. I am wanting to get some egg laying, possible meat, chickens. I want to make their "area" as comfortable as possible (even though I might eat them). But I am limited on space. I am planning on using a chain link dog kennel that is 7x12.5 (about 85 square feet)... Is this enough area for a chicken run with coop? They will not be able to free range. After looking at some of the dog kennel chicken areas on this forum, I have decided I can put the actual coop on the outside of the kennel or elevate it in the kennel so they can make use of the total square footage to walk around in. Is this enough area? If so, for how many chickens? I do not want to be cruel to them and I want them to have adequate space. Do chickens HAVE to free range? Thanks in advance for answers and suggestions.
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Depending on how big you make your coop. 10
  3. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    First of all .[​IMG]

    From what I learned on BYC each chicken needs 4 sequer feet inside the coop, so you do the math.

    The run I personly think that each chicken needs at least 10 sequer feet.

    Good Luck.

    Merry Christmas.

  4. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Welcome to BYC!!

    There are lots of threads on this issue.

    Basic: = 2 to 4 sq feet per bird (more where they will be spending time in the coop due to poor weather, less if hey will be outside a lot).

    Run= 10 sq feet per bird

    If you are just growing "meat chickens", the area can be smaller since they don't live as long!!

    Good luck and welcome!!

  5. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    Also, NO -- chickens don't "HAVE" to free range. I don't have any chickens yet, but I know that there are far too many hawks in my area to free range (not to mention my two dogs and two cats).

    You will just have to provide them with more "goodies" in their coop and run to keep them occupied. "Deep Litter" is a help here (do a search) as it gives them something to dig around in.

    Good Luck!! and once again -- welcome!!

  6. Casey

    Casey In the Brooder

    Dec 22, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. That clears things up for me quite a bit. I am looking forward to getting my chickens and spending some time on this forum.
  7. tomcio

    tomcio Songster

    Sep 3, 2008
    Hey, I just started keeping chickens back in October, and this is what I found:

    1. As previous posters stated 4ft inside is the 'general' norm.
    2. If you have 10sqft/bird outside as most state, I'd say you have plenty of space.
    3. Given all that, there are members here that approach chickens as pets (will give greater sq.ft) and ones that will keep them for food (me) that try to aim for good balance.

    I have a 12x8 coop and a 12x16 fenced run, with a divider which houses 26 chickens and 2 guineas + a hung wall cage with 7 coturnix quail.
    If I was to do the math, 12x8->96/4->24. Of course I am not factoring in the space that feeders and lay boxes and roosts use. If I did that, I'd have ~80sq.ft. usable space. That is way below the 'recommended' norm. Having said that; my birds are happy, they seem to get along well together AND due to the very cold winters in Ottawa, they also keep the space warm (well, warmer than outside).

    It's truly up to you as to how you want to treat your birds. The space is not as big a deal as some make it out to be. (I am sure I will get chastised for saying this!). Also, tighter space per bird in northern climates will help keep them warm and frostbite free.

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If I'd never tried keeping chickens at 15 sq ft per hen indoors plus an equal amount in the run, I'd think that space was not such a big deal.

    However I have to say they just act different in these larger areas than when I've had them in tighter quarters. Were they miserable with 3.5 sq ft apiece indoors and 8 sq ft apiece in the run? No. But they are conspicuously happier-seeming with more. (They display a wider range of behaviors, are more relaxed, react less 'desperately' when I bring something new for them to scratch around in or play with, and spend more time doing individual apparently-interesting-to-them things rather than always being part of the crowd)

    So it kind of depends what you want and what your priorities are.

    In a 85 sq ft area with an additional 'upstairs' coop, you *could* keep as many as 10 chickens or maybe even a little bit more, and have some reasonable chance of not having major cannibalism/pecking problems.

    OTOH most people around here would not put more than 8 or so in there; and myself I'd stop at 5-6 and make sure the indoor coop part was *ample*.

    Definitely, of course, you SHOULD get SOME chickens [​IMG]

    Have fun,

  9. Sissy

    Sissy Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    Welcome .
    we dont free range ,
    Dh dosent want the preditors
    getting our flock ,have coop 32sq.ft
    and attached covered run 50sq.ft.
    for our Banty cochins total of 8 and expecting more soon.
    and may expand another 50sq.ft.
    best of luck to you.
  10. ssteiner

    ssteiner Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Orange, CA
    I've got 4 hens in an 8 sq foot coop (4x2) with attached enclosed 12 sq foot (6x2) run (they have 24/7 access to the run). We live in southern California so weather's not an issue. Feeder/waterer are outside in the run. Nesting box is attached to the back of the coop. Very small operation here and they're all happy birds.


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