Coop sizing question from newbie


In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 4, 2013
Hi all,
Ok, I see that one has to have 4 sq feet per chicken for a coop... but I look online and see these small coops for 5-6 chickens. Many have attached runs. Do the attached runs "count" in that 4 sq feet per chicken?

Note from the picture, the small red run that is already attached to the red coop is going to be covered with wood and made into an actual part of the coop with a window and vents, so the longer wooden run will be the only actual "run", attached to the coop, though they will have our yard.

We have a small coop with a short run attached, and then a separate longer run that will be permanently attached once the coop and runs are cleaned and painted. We plan to let our chickens out into our yard to get some time to move around each day,we have a large backyard.

Does coop height matter? Also, we are in Minnesota where temps go from 100+ degrees and 100% humidity to -20 below zero windchill, if that makes any difference with coop size. The top of the coop is removable and off, it's flat across, not arched. How many chickens can I fit in this coop/run set up?


The girls are currently living temporarily in a large sized dog crate in our garage, but they get out to the yard each day. The wooden run is attached to the dog crate so they can go in there and move around. Eventually the run will be attached to the coop.
Hi Jalen,

I'm also in MN and I am starting work on a new coop this weekend after going with one of the kits from Fleet Farm. It also said it was big enough for 4-5 chickens, but it would really only work if I added a much bigger run. Since I'm concerned about ventilation for the winter, I've decided to go with the rule of thumb of 4 square feet per bird in the hen house/coop and 10 square feet per bird in the attached run.

My hen house is going to be 5x3 and the run will be 5x10. I have 4 birds at the moment, but one is a rooster so when he starts to crow I'll be down to 3. The most I can have in Burnsville is 4.

I'm also going to have 7 feet high for the run in front, sloping to 6 feet high in the back. That will leave the house with about 4 feet of height to the roof in front, 3 in back. If I raise the roost about 18 inches, then there should still be some air flow above to the overhead vents to let out humidity for ventilation.

Runs do not count. 4 sq feet per bird for the coop PLUS 10 sq feed per bird for the run. Your chickens will spend a lot of time inside in the winter because of bad weather so I would give them 6-8 sq feet. If you can cover the run so they will go outside, do it now. Most chickens don't care to walk around in snow. They do love sun bathing in the winter so make sure you get some sunlight in the coop.

I would put no more than 3 in that coop and it's really too small for that. You will end up with some crabby hens. I'd enclose the run to be part of the coop and build a new run. I would slope the roof so you don't have to worry about snow build up and weight. A chainlink dog run is an easy addition. Coop height will determine how much it will heat up just by their body heat. A smaller coop will be warmer than an oversized tall one.
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Dang it! I'm a newbie and reading this post I just learned of the 4 sq ft per chicken for the coop. I have 4 hens and their coop measures 12 sq ft. They should have 16 sq ft minimum but probably more for them to be comfy.

Well I either have to a) make a bigger coop or b) get rid of one of my girls.

Option b) is sooo not going to happen! Especially when I'm already planning to add more hens. So off I go to hunt down a bigger coop design.

HeheHe. I'm so glad I found this thread!
I also underscore the bigger is better especially if you live in a cold and windy area.

I think those people someplace like Florida can get away with a coop that is just barely big enough for the perch and a nest box. (as long as their run is big)

For those that live in windy cold, you need to think big, big, bigger.

It is difficult, and sometimes just completely impossible for me to talk my hens into going outside. So, if the inside area is too small, and doesn't have enough "activity areas" then they start to eat the eggs, and/or eat each other.

I would greatly recommend either windows, or plastic panels, or that opaque fiberglass ripple board to put on the exterior of the run. You can also use clear tarps. You need to keep out the snow, and still give them some light.

Mine are set up so that they get access to my greenhouse during the winter. They love it since it is wind proof and sunny. They have areas to dust bathe in, and lots of space for two waterers, two feeders, and areas to just walk about, that are snow free.

You could easily make the part that you are thinking of using as their run a snow free area.

As to if your set-up is big enough....I can't tell from the pictures, what are the dimensions? Just general dimensions would be good.

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