Coop size - how does verticals space factor in?

Cluckgirl913

In the Brooder
Oct 12, 2021
9
19
26
Central Ohio, USA
Here’s what I’ve got - 4 Buff Orpingtons growing like weeds. Would like to be able to add 1 or 2 more

What I’m building - 4x8 shed style coop that is 2’ off the ground. Entire 4x8 run is covered by the structure above but interior floor space will only be 4x4 plus a 4’Lx18”W nesting box . Other side will be open to the ground and contain swing, hanging feeders and water. Interior height will be 4’ on the short side and 5’4” on the taller side. Chicken entrance and nesting box will be across from each other on opposite walls and I plan on running two roosts between those two walls about 18” apart, one on either side of entrance door.

Is this enough space for at least the 4 I have? My only other option would be to take the floor across the entire 8’ and then have an entrance hole from underneath.
The coop will sit on concrete but the chickens will be able to free range in the yard during the day.
 

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aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Is this enough space for at least the 4 I have?
Yes, just barely.
Only free range, no secure run?

have an entrance hole from underneath.
I strongly recommend against this.
It takes up floor space inside the coop.

Oh, and.... Welcome to BYC! @Cluckgirl913
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1634124896750.png
 

Cluckgirl913

In the Brooder
Oct 12, 2021
9
19
26
Central Ohio, USA
Just added my location. Ohio, USA. I know floor entrance is not ideal but if I did do this it would be because I was expanding the floor space to 4x8. So, 4x4 with traditional door entry or 4x8 with floor entry.

thanks for the reply!!!
 

3KillerBs

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Welcome to BYC.

The Usual Guidelines

For each adult, standard-sized hen you need:
  • 4 square feet in the coop (.37 square meters)
  • 10 square feet in the run (.93 square meters),
  • 1 linear foot of roost (.3 meters),
  • 1/4 of a nest box,
  • And 1 square foot (.09) of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation, preferably located over the birds' heads when they're sitting on the roost.
4 hens
  • 16 square feet in the coop. 4'x4' is the only really practical build for this given the common dimensions of lumber.
  • 4 feet of roost
  • 40 square feet in the run. 4'x10' or 5'x8'. 6'x6' is a bit too small, 6'x8' is more generous and easier to build than 5'x8'.
  • 4 square feet of ventilation. A 2'x2' window is theoretically enough, but in practice doesn't create any air FLOW so better to spread the venting around (and even better to exceed the minimums, especially in warm climates).
  • 2 nest boxes, to give the hens a choice

IMO, 4x4x4 is the smallest coop that should ever be considered for long-term chicken housing. My Little Monitor Coop was designed to meet all the minimums for a flock of 4 hens: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-little-monitor-coop.76275/

To answer the question in the title, vertical space does not add to the capacity of the coop because chickens don't stack for storage.

However, vertical space is useful because it enables you to improve the ventilation, to add a poop board if that suits your management system, and to get into the coop without risking this: https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...a-full-height-coop-run.1484191/#post-24739256

I agree in re: NOT using a floor opening. You at the bare minimum of square feet for 4 birds already and that opening would rob them of over a square foot.

If you want to add birds you will need extra space beyond the minimums for that size flock because chickens are territorial and don't like to share.

Here are some useful articles on integration:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/my-coop-brooder-and-integration.74591/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-new-chickens-using-the-“see-but-don’t-touch”-method.67839/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/adding-to-your-flock.47756/

:)
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
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Jul 24, 2019
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Bedding would fall out of a floor entrance. No matter how you design it, they’ll find a way to kick the bedding over the edge and down the hole. They can fling stuff pretty high and wide. It would also be a total pain for you to access from the outside. Plan to be able to access all parts of the coop for maintenance, or to rescue chickens who get stuck places, or simply run under the coop to hide and don’t want to come out (a disadvantage to raised coops in general - sooner or later you’re gonna have to crawl under, through poop, and that’s just not fun).

The most practical pop door is a side entrance, not a floor entrance. And raise it at least 10” or so off floor level, to keep the bedding inside.
 

aart

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K0k0shka

Crowing
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Oh, and....to answer your thread title question....
Vertical space is important to keep the ventilation as far above their roosting heads as possible. That's about it tho, chickens don't stack well :D

Here's some thoughts on heights:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/coop-stack-up-how-high-stuff-works-well.73427/
That, and how to place the roosts and nesting boxes relative to each other. The vertical placement of things, from bottom to top, should be: nesting boxes - roosts - 24/7/365 ventilation. With additional summer ventilation at roost level (windows).

Vertical space also matters in roost arrangement. Chickens will fight for the top spot if there isn’t enough room for everybody on the highest roost. Best to have one long roost for everyone, as opposed to a ladder of short roosts that enforce a pecking/roosting order. Prevents unnecessary scuffles at bedtime. Lower roosts may be necessary if you have birds that are too young or too old to get up high, or breeds that don’t fly well that don’t like heights (like silkies).

Vertical arrangement also matters in how the roost is to be accessed. If there are lower, stepping stone roosts to get to it, or a ramp, is the ramp’s angle too steep, do they have enough clearance to fly off the roost without hitting a wall. The higher the roost, the longer the runway needs to be. And set it up with jumping off in mind, even if you give them a ramp. You can’t *make* them use a ramp, and some will likely continue flying off instead and running themselves into the wall anyway.

So, vertical space does matter…
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
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Vertical space is important to keep the ventilation as far above their roosting heads as possible. That's about it tho, chickens don't stack well
I like having the roost/poop board high enough off the floor that the birds can easily walk under it. (Like what aart has shown in her coop in her article.) I see my chickens on the roost during the day, and also scratching around on the floor.

And then ventilation up higher than the roost.
 

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