1. Rte.66_chicks

    Rte.66_chicks Songster

    Feb 22, 2008
    Kingman, AZ
    What sq. footage per chicken is needed for a henhouse? Is concrete a good idea for the floor, as long as there is appropriate litter? Could I get by with a concrete footing for the walls and have a dirt floor?
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Hi and Welcome! The rule of thumb is 4 sq. ft. per bird inside the henhouse with 10 sq. ft. per bird outside in a run. Of course, if they free range you don't have to worry about the outside square footage.

    A cement floor with shavings on top would be great. Make sure you think through a good way to clean out the litter when necessary. Most people put some sort of trap door in the side of the building on one end that can be opened and the shavings can be shoveled/broomed outside.

    The biggest concern with a dirt floor is always the possibility of a predator digging under the walls and coming up inside the coop. So, my advice would be to not use a dirt floor. I know some people do and haven't had anything bad happen. I say better safe than sorry in that area. I do realize the added cost of adding any type of substantial floor to a coop so that cost may have to be the deciding factor. If that's the case make sure your walls/footings go close to two feet down into the ground to discourage diggers.
  3. Krysstyllanthrox

    Krysstyllanthrox Songster

    Jan 27, 2008
    Quote:Is this a hard and fast rule regarding outside run space? Why so much, is what I'm wondering.

    (sorry if I threadjack, trying to learn too)
  4. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Nothing is ever hard and fast, although I personally wouldn't ever go smaller on the inside space the outside space is certainly changeable due to the circumstances.

    Having said the above; some people have way too small an area inside their hen house but their chickens do Ok because they are let out at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. every single morning and not shut up until they've gone to roost every single night.

    The problems usually come when chickens are locked up in too small of a space for an extended period of time. Where I live we can have snow storms that can keep everyone (man and beast) inside for several days at a time. Last year everyone was pretty much locked inside for literally two months due to a very severe winter with eight foot snow drifts and continual storms every week for those two months. (My kids loved it!) The chickens get restless and may start pecking at each other because they are in such close quarters during those times.

    Let's say you free range your chickens a few hours every day or a few hours only a few days a week; maybe even just on weekends. You could get away with smaller space for the outside area if that was the case.

    Also, if you have Bantams they take up less space so you could change your space requirements accordingly.

    All the above to say: the more space, inside and outside the less likely to have issues with hen pecking. Plus you have to remember that you are going to want more chickens in the future (it just happens - don't fight it:lol: ) so plan bigger at the beginning!

    I hope some of this helps.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: