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Coop size for free-range birds

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Erebus, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have found guidelines for enclosed runs but I am interested in building a coop for birds that are free ranging.
    How much space do they need?

    We don't really have any mammal predators (apart from our pet cats) but we have hawks.
    We are temperate zoned (winter at nights gets to maybe -2°C/28°F summer gets to 30°C/86°F).

    Also, how much roost space do you need per bird (roughly).
    I am thinking of making something that can accommodate 15-20 birds.
     
  2. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    The consensus here at BYC is 4 sq ft per bird in the coop & 10 sq ft per bird in the run. I don't use this rule I found that my birds do better with alot more space. Here's a 300 sq ft coop that I wouldn't put more than 20 standard chickens in. It's a three sided coop. I like big coops & so do the birds. My first coop was 80 sq ft with a 150 sq ft run & I have 11 standard sized chickens in the coop & I feel its to small but that's just me.[​IMG]
     
  3. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

  4. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    I think it depends on where you live. I was told that in warmer areas you need more ventilation and more coop space per bird to keep them cooler. In colder places like New England you need less space because having more birds closer together keeps them warmer in the winter months without using a light. I am using 2ft per chicken right now but they definitely don't seem crowded at all.
     
  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,637
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    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Quote:Maybe your right because where I'm at its very hot.
     
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,637
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    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Quote:Just curious what is the building to the left ?
     
  7. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I rent pasture from a 1,200 acre hunting lodge. That is a skeet tower.
     
  8. Erebus

    Erebus Chillin' With My Peeps

    The thing that's boggling me here is that coop size is actually volume. Surely a coop that's 4' high and has 2'² per chicken is going to have a LOT less room than a coop that is 7'high.

    Or do you figure roosts and nest boxes as part of that figure?
    eg. 6'x8' floor area + another 8'x1 for a roost paling and another 1'x1' per nest box?

    Sorry if I'm seeming pedantic or impractical, quibbling over a rule of thumb - I'm just inexperienced and trying to get my head around stuff.
     
  9. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    Quote:I actually agree with you. I think that vertical space should be taken into account as well. When my birds are in their coop they spend very little time on the ground they are either in the nesting boxes or on their roosts. They only get down when they are hungry or thirsty. I have not had any real arguing between them since I have had them and they all do really well. But I think I have over 20' of roosting space within my coop and I am planning on adding more because they have made it quite obvious that if I don't give them plenty of roosting space they will create it themselves by using the rafters or the wire on the windows so that they find spots they like the most.

    Most of the books go by floor space only though but I know my sister does not have any roosts other than her nesting boxes and she can't have as many chickens comfortably in her coop as I can even though they are similar sizes because they won't let the chickens come in if it gets too crowded.
     
  10. Erebus

    Erebus Chillin' With My Peeps

    The shed they are in currently has about 20 feet of roosting pole and the 21 birds use about half of it... it's winter though so they are probably snuggling.
     

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