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coop size- too small? what if I add a loft?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by marshmallowpeeps, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. marshmallowpeeps

    marshmallowpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2009
    Hi
    My coop is 4x8 and 7 ft tall, and the hens have a large outdoor run. Right now I have 10 hens but want to get 10 baby chicks soon. I will keep them separated for a while, but I am worrying that my coop won't be big enough for them all when the babies are grown. I wondered, if I added some perches and a "loft" or shelf-type thing higher up would that effectively add floor space, or would it still not work?
    Thanks for the advice!
     
  2. crazyhen

    crazyhen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would think that it would still be too small. I have an 8x8, it is too small for any more than 16 large hens. I too am considering building on for the future. I already want more. My hb says what for and hes right I don't need more. I just want some blue and green egg layers to go with what I have. Jean
     
  3. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Russia, NY
    You could split the vertical space on the far end of the coop. Make a 4x4 area that splits the 7 ft space in half. An option could be to put all the roosts over the 4x4 space and use it as a droppings board. The lower half of the 4x4 space would be extra room for your hens without a pile of droppings from being under the roosts.
     
  4. giasmom

    giasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    Woodville, Al
    Good idea redoak !
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    4x8=32 sq ft. You currently are giving your 10 hens 3.2 sq ft per chicken (already on the non-ample side of things). If you added 10 more, they would have 1.6 sq ft per chicken. You might be able to get away with this if you live in a Hawaii type climate where they literally, truly, 365 days a year NEVEr want to hang out in the coop except to sleep... but for anywhere else, that is just insanely small and asking for trouble.

    Adding things higher up will not help materially. Chickens just don't use 'second-story' areas the same way they use floorspace; it just doesn't substitute. Nor will droppings boards really change much of anything.

    You can try it. It might work if your run is very shady and pleasant and sheltered from storms and such. OTOH it can be real hard to fix the problems that can result from overcrowding, once they get started.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. marshmallowpeeps

    marshmallowpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2009
    Thanks for the words of wisdom.
    How big should a coop be for 20 chickens then? How about size of outdoor run or chicken tractor?
     
  7. TechyFarmer

    TechyFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2009
    Salem, OR
    Just keep in mind that the sq footage for each bird should be more of a guideline.. back when I was a kid there was no books or "specifications" to follow and everyone seemed to own chickens just fine.

    Good luck
     
  8. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The 2nd story space in my coop is generally used by those chickens lower on the pecking order. They have a space to get away from the other chickens instead of being chased around by other birds when they get too close. Is my coop too crowded? No, they have 10.5 sqft per bird and have access to an acre when the weather is decent. If humans can have 2 story houses why can't chickens have 2 story coops?
     
  9. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    We made a split level addition called the "Condo" for ours. It seems to give some a place to go to get away especially when they are trapped inside during severe weather conditions.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:That's good, I'm just saying that most people who have an upper level or shelves do not find them being used nearly so much as the ground, and the chickens don't use them for the same *things*, and they don't seem to do a whole lot to alleviate problems.

    Certainly an X sq ft coop gives them a *bit* more room with shelves or upstairs than it does without; it just typically doesn't function as if that extra space was actual ground-level square footage, you know?

    If humans can have 2 story houses why can't chickens have 2 story coops?

    Of course they CAN, they just won't necessarily use them the same way people use 2 story houses, on account of chickens not being people [​IMG]

    The difficulty in determining what's "too crowded" for a person's particular setup is that you don't find out until you, you know, find out (plucking/bloodshed sets in), and those problems can often be difficult to solve even if you do then give them more space.

    Also, chickens do act differently in smaller spaces than in larger ones, even when there are no picking/cannibalism issues involved at all.

    Just sayin',

    Pat​
     

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