coop size for orpingtons

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by gossamer, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. gossamer

    gossamer Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    Hello. I'm new here. My name is Jessica. I recently moved out of the big city and I'm going to get 4 orpington chicks in the spring. I don't want to make a coop so I'm looking for one to purchase. When they are mature enough for the coop I'll have a fence but will eventually let them meander. We live in Wisconsin so they will need to be in the coop in the winter....Can someone give me their opinion on the following sizes/ options?
    I'm mainly worried about size. The ventilation etc. all seems in order.

    1)Coop/Hen house overall size including Roof overhang, nest box and legs 83" x 32" x 34"

    · Coop/Hen house main body size About: 55" x 32" x 30"

    · Nest Box Size each (one on either side of the coop) 32" wide X 14" depth X 15" height

    2) coop length 37" width 43" height 44"

    Thank you so very much
  2. gkeesling

    gkeesling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    You should have about 4 sq. ft per chicken in your coop. That would mean, for 3 chickens you would need 12 sq. ft.. Your coop sounds like it will be ok for just the 3 chickens, but you won't be able to get any more. Most people end up wanting more after they have gotten started. If you can, I'd suggest you make your coop so that it would support more chickens. The nest box could be a 14" square box. It seems like your nests are a bit large with the 32" wide. The run should have about 10 sq. ft. per chicken.

    I hope this helps a little.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First and foremost, welcome to this forum. Glad you are here.

    In your climate, I would not put more than three Orpington in the coop you describe, especially as it looks like the nesting boxes may not be high enough for the hen to get under them. I think three Orpington may be too much unless you have a covered, wind-protected run where they can get out into the run every day. For four hens, one nesting box would be enough, by the way. The usual recommendation is one individual nesting box for every four hens. The size those are, they are closer to community nesting boxes,not individual, since two or even three hens can comfortably get in there together. I would not feel bad with six or seven hens sharing one nesting box that size if they had two entrances.

    Space for chickens can be a fairly complicated issue. Below is something I wrote on another post about it. It may help you understand why I'm commenting as I am.

    As long as you have enough height for the roosts to be noticeably higher than the nest boxes, height does not matter to chickens. They are basically ground dwelling birds, so the ground area is all that really matters space wise. I said it does not matter to the chickens. It does matter to me if I have to work in there. It matters quite a bit.

    If the nest boxes are high enough off the ground that the chickens can easily get under them, then nest boxes do not take away from the space available. The tops of the nesting boxes does not add to the living space either although they may occasionally be up there. Ground level is what counts.

    Some of the things that make up the space requirement are, in my opinion:

    1. Personal space for the birds. They have different personalities and different individual requirements. Some are very possessive of personal space and some can share.

    2. Access to feeder and waterer. More than one at a time needs to get to the feeder especially, but access to the waterer is also important. Part of this is that they seem to like to all eat at once but part of it is that a dominant bird may keep others from eating or drinking, especially with limited access.

    3. Being able to put the feeder and waterer where they will not poop in it when they roost.

    4. Poop load. The larger area they have the less often you have to actively manage the poop. They poop a lot while on the roost so you may have to give that area special consideration, but mucking out the entire coop can be backbreaking work plus you have to have some place to put all that bedding and poop. In my opinion, totally cleaning out the coop is something that needs to happen as seldom as possible.

    5. How often are they able to get out of the coop. The more they are confined to the coop, the larger the personal space needs to be. The normal recommendation on this forum is 4 square feet per full sized chicken with a minimum of 10 square feet of run per bird. This additional requirement outside is sometimes not mentioned. How often they are allowed out of the coop may depend on a lot more than just weather. Your work schedule, when you are able to turn them loose, what time of day you open the pop door to let them out or lock them up at night, all this and more enters into the equation.

    6. Do you feed and water in the coop or outside. The more they are outside, the less pressure on the size of the coop.

    7. The size of the chicken. Bantams require less room than full sized chickens. This has to be tempered by breed and the individual personalities. Some bantams can be more protective of personal space than others, but this is also true of full sized breeds.

    8. The breed of the chicken. Some handle confinement better than others.

    9. The number of chickens. The greater the number of chickens, the more personal space they can have if the square foot per chicken stays constant. Let me explain. Assume each chicken occupies 1 square foot of space. If you have two chickens and 4 square feet per chicken, the two chickens occupy 2 square feet, which leaves 6 square feet for them to explore. If you have ten chickens with 4 square feet per chicken, each chicken has 30 unoccupied square feet to explore. A greater number also can give more space to position the feeders and waterers properly in relation to the roosts and provide access. I’m not encouraging you to crowd your birds if you have a large number of them. I’m trying to say you are more likely to get in trouble with 4 square feet per chicken if you have very few chickens.

    10. What is your flock make-up. A flock with more than one rooster may be more peaceful if it has more space. I don't want to start the argument about number or roosters here as I know more than one rooster can often peacefully coexist with a flock, but I firmly believe more space helps.

    11. What is the maximum number of chickens you will have. Consider hatching chicks or bringing in replacements. Look down the road a bit.

    I'm sure I am missing several components, but the point I'm trying to make is that we all have different conditions. There is no magic number that suits us all. The 4 square feet in a coop with 10 square feet in the run is a good rule of thumb for a minimum that, most of the time, will keep us out of trouble, but not always. I do believe that more is better both in the coop and in they run.
  4. gossamer

    gossamer Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    Thank you so very much for the quick and helpful responses. I'll keep shopping.. that is why I asked!! Talk to you soon, Jessica
  5. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    [​IMG] from Alaska

    Thanks for joining us.
  6. gossamer

    gossamer Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    Sorry one more question.. about how tall are orpingtons so I can accommodate? Jessica
  7. FortWorthChicks

    FortWorthChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Fort Worth
    Hello... welcome!

    Down here in Tx our winters are like your springs lol. In case some other fine fellow byc person has not warned you I will.

    CHICKENS ARE ADDICTING. So... you need to figure on some space for the new ones you will want to aquire especially since they spend alot of time in the coop during your hard winters. [​IMG] They love to snuggle up at night on their roost together.

    Look around at what you already have standing, then remember it's not what you have it's who you know. Everyone should know a handyman who can build you something for a cheap price [​IMG]

    Best of luck!!!!! [​IMG]
  8. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Hi Jessica! [​IMG] from S. Florida! Its great to have you here with us!
  9. texasgal

    texasgal Brood with an Attitude

    Apr 18, 2009
    A big Texas size [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. Sissy

    Sissy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    [​IMG] my orps.( Roo)
    at 1 1/2 yrs old, are a good 2ft. tall.

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