Correct square footage?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Roo5, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Roo5

    Roo5 Chirping

    Feb 17, 2019
    So I need a real reminder of how much square footage per bird I need.Whilst I remember 3 foot per chicken,I went to google to find out 8ft, struggling to believe that.My old flock consisting of about 20 chickens lived in a run that was about 16-17 feet long with a width of about maybe 8-10feet?And lived happily, but they also free ranged everyday.And this time I’ll only be keeping twelve.Did my “Chicken math” and multiplied 12x8 and got ......96ft.

    So just some reassurance would help!
    penny1960 and starri33 like this.
  2. crazy4ChickensNducks

    crazy4ChickensNducks Songster

    Dec 16, 2018
    west, michigan
    4 sqft MINIMUM in the coop and 10 sqft MINIMUM in the run
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Four square feet per chicken in a coop and ten square feet per chicken in a run. But that's the bare minimum. Bigger is better. And so is complexity. Avoid rectangles with nothing to break up the space. Chickens need blinds and foils to avoid a bully that's after them.

    I like partitions I can slam a gate on if I need to break up chickens causing trouble or a persistent rooster or cockerel that is driving the hens absolutely nuts.
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    question 10 chicken keepers, and you're likely to get 11 different answers to this question. The reason for that I'm not sure there's probably a lot of reasons not least among them people justifying keeping situations that would probably be considered overcrowded to many. There are also many variables that go into what works for one flock or the other.
    At the end of the day come other thing to remember is there is no such thing as giving your flock to much Room and there are several potential issues with giving them to little. That being said, the general rule of thumb that I choose to subscribe to is the 4 ft² per bird inside the co-op and at least 10 ft² per bird in the run. That is not to say that in some situations less cannot work out just fine, only that this will generally keep most flocks and chicken keepers out of serious trouble.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The 4/10 'rule' is a minimum guideline, IMO.
    Hard numbers often don't apply.
    Many variables exist...individual birds demeanor's, flock dynamics, climate, etc.
    Integrating new birds works best with extra space.
    The harsher the climate the bigger the coop should be IMO,
    both for the birds and the keepers comfort.
    If the run is weather and predator proof, a smaller coop might suffice.

    Good articles in my signature for beginners.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I've read everything from 1 sq ft per bird to 15 per bird in the coop, often with the run not mentioned. I just don't believe in magic numbers when it comes to living animals. The first problem with that is who's magic do you believe?

    The other problem is that some people keep four hens in a totally enclosed coop/run in their back yard. Others may keep a rooster or three, various numbers of hens, and chicks of all kinds of various ages in a rural setting. You don't mention where you are, that is critical information. There is a big difference in requirements where weather keeps their chickens confined to the coop only for days on end compared to someone where chickens can hit the ground every day of the year. We manage them differently, some keeping them locked up, others let them roam more.

    There are way too many variables for the same magic number to work for every chicken in the world. You can follow the link in my signature, an article that Aart linked, to get some of my thoughts on space requirements. If you read it you may notice a lot of that stuff is in there for your benefit more than the chickens'. The more I crowd them the more behavioral problems I have to deal with, the harder I have to work, and the less flexibility I have to deal with issues. The chickens will benefit if you don't have behavioral problems to deal with, if you actually do the work you need to instead of putting some of it off, and if you can handle situations that come up, but your stress levels will be better too.

    I don't know where you are so no idea of climate, you did not mention coop, what will you do if a fox or bobcat starts picking off a chicken a day? Lock them in the run only until you deal with the predator? If things go well you should be able to leave 12 chickens (no more than one rooster) in that run only. That will be more room than most of the people on this forum have.
    kwhites634, ConnieA, bobbi-j and 2 others like this.
  7. Roo5

    Roo5 Chirping

    Feb 17, 2019
    I live in a rural area in Missouri.Did the calculating and that would equal 96 feet which convert that and it equals to 32 yards and etc.I basically took it down to the nitty gritty to help me with measuring,I can make this happen.My tape measure doesn’t even reach that long, it’s crazy that these birds actually acquire a lot of space(I guess I missed this or I just don’t remember it???) but they will need room because the run will have many things for them to do, even though they will be free range.The coop is going to be a shed (It’s large enough),not sure Of measurements though.I already have ideas for the protection part and roof.
    starri33 likes this.
  8. starri33

    starri33 Crowing

    Feb 28, 2016
    Golden Valley AZ
    8' by 7' coop will give you 56 sq ft, more room for 12 birds based on the text book 4/10. The size of your bird and the weather has to be considered also.. ventilation plays a important part in the equation as well. I have 17 chickens, (16 hens & a roo) my kids are spoiled, they have a 8 x 24' (192 sqft) coop and 865 sq ft of run, but I do not let mine out of the run all that much. my birds are large, sexlinks, but I believe if you have bantams, that 4 ft might not be necessary, 3 might actually work especially if you are not going to have to keep them locked up all day.
    Roo5 likes this.
  9. Roo5

    Roo5 Chirping

    Feb 17, 2019
    I’m actaully keeping all large breeds and actually think we have left over insulation that we planned on building up in the coop(personally don’t think it’s necessary)Never used it, but mom likes the idea.They will all be large breeds and mainly cold hardy (New Hampshire’s,Easter eggers,Brahmanas,gersey giants,Buff Orpington's and Welsummers).I figured with these breeds winter won’t be a problem and I’ll be building in windows and a fan will be provided. Like always.Plus it already has a vent in the back.
    starri33 likes this.
  10. Roo5

    Roo5 Chirping

    Feb 17, 2019
    Can I see your run
    starri33 likes this.

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