Coop size for summer vs. winter


9 Years
Mar 9, 2010
We're almost done with our coop. It's a 4x8 house on stilts with a 3' wall in the back and a 4' wall in the front. We'll be housing 4 barred rock hens and 4 buff orp hens. We live in Colorado, where it can get pretty cold in the winter (-17 two nights this past winter). I'm thinking of putting a divider in the coop to make the "winter coop" 4x4 so that they have a smaller area and can presumably heat it a little better with their residual body heat, but I can then remove it in the spring/summer/fall to make it a bit more spacious. Any thoughts? Am I being overly concerned?
Actually, my experience is that it's MORE important that they have more space in the wintertime. Some chickens don't like snow and won't go outside if it's on the ground. If your chickens end up being of this variety, then they'll be spending more time indoors and could get "picky" with each other. Bored chickens are like toddlers - they'll find trouble to keep themselves occupied. And trust me, 4x4 *will not be* enough room for 8 chickens trapped indoors for days/weeks on end.

Just my $.02
My experience this winter has been very good. I am no expert by any means, this being my first winter w chickens. My coop is 4x6, I have 3 RIR's, 2 Leghorns and 4 Golden Comets. They did fine, I did let the door open to the run but they only came out on the nicest of days, and closed up at night and on very cold days. They spent most of the time in the coop. No picking and egg production was very good. Maybe I just lucked out, I don't know. Coop stayed warm and only used heat lamp when the temps dropped to single digits. During summer they spend the days outside.
I agree with citychook. You're already at 4 sq. feet per chicken in your coop, which is definitely NOT excessive. If they're cooped up in there for days/weeks at a time in the dead of winter, that would not be good in less space than you have. Plus the amount of waste is more manageable w/more space. Your ceilings are low, so that will help with winter issues.

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