Cubic feet per chicken in coop?

naparocks

In the Brooder
Mar 12, 2018
25
16
37
Penn Valley, California
All the advice I've found so far mentions square feet per chicken for the coop. Once mine are grown (German Bielefelders) I believe they will need minimum 40 square feet for 9 hens and 1 roo inside the coop. For warmth I would think that cubic feet per chicken would come into play however. Is there some rule of thumb for this? We are converting a horse stall in the barn for the coop.

We are planning on doing a drop ceiling since the stall is open at the 3 of the top edges to the rest of the barn. The stall is 11 x 11 and the plan is to put the ceiling at around 7 feet so total cubic feet of 847. Our weather is mostly mild compared with some parts of the country, generally never getting below 25-30 degrees at night, but usually more in the 40's on average during the winter. Daytime is usually no lower than 50's on average.

We were not planning on any supplemental heating so is that area too big for the chickens to stay warm?
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,218
491
Long Beach, WA
If you try to design a coop to hold in heat, you have to keep in mind that you will also be trapping moisture and ammonia in the air. Excess moisture in the air will cause frost bite, even if it's just barely freezing. Ammonia will cause respiratory illness.
Better to focus on a well ventilated coop, with good air circulation. And yes, you need at least 40 sq feet of coop space.
 

naparocks

In the Brooder
Mar 12, 2018
25
16
37
Penn Valley, California
Thank you junebuggena. We are planning on adding the ventilation, in some form. By your response, are you saying that the size we have would work, assuming we have proper ventilation added?

I would love to leave the three walls mentioned open at the top except for wire but, given the design, I am concerned whether or not we could make it predator proof. I guess instead of a plywood ceiling we could use hardware cloth over the framing though.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,218
491
Long Beach, WA
Thank you junebuggena. We are planning on adding the ventilation, in some form. By your response, are you saying that the size we have would work, assuming we have proper ventilation added?

I would love to leave the three walls mentioned open at the top except for wire but, given the design, I am concerned whether or not we could make it predator proof. I guess instead of a plywood ceiling we could use hardware cloth over the framing though.
I'm saying, don't worry about trying to keep them warm. Shelter from the wind and rain is really all that is needed. They are wearing down coats 24/7, afterall. And definitely cover any openings with hardware cloth.
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
5,579
11,229
671
Connecticut, USA
I would put a roof on top, to keep out droppings from birds, bats and rodents. And in case your barn gets a leak. Provide ventilation on walls away from roosts.
Hens will snuggle up on roosts in the cold. GC
 

naparocks

In the Brooder
Mar 12, 2018
25
16
37
Penn Valley, California
Thank you june and GC. I'm probably overthinking things, to be sure, and I thank you for the sound and reasonable advice! After revisiting the stall and seeing some bird poops on the floor from sparrows sitting on the light in that stall, I was back to the original plan of a solid roof. We do have raccoons as well no matter how hard we try to keep them out (they are indeed crafty buggers), so will definitely be using hardware cloth and probably double the security measures!

This barn had years of use by birds and rats, not to mention horses, before we ended up here and so we also plan to clean the stall thoroughly and disinfect, plus make sure any holes or cracks are secured.
 

blackdog043

Crowing
Feb 19, 2017
2,408
4,155
416
SE PA
They will be plenty warm, with your temps. Predator proofing, a cover to keep things from dropping from above and ventilation, will be things to work on. Also, you only count sq ft, (11x11) you have 121.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,598
39,729
1,106
southern Michigan
Also, predator proof that floor! A poured concrete floor is wonderful, and a dirt floor will be fine with a secure perimeter. Dig-proof is essential!
You don't have cold weather to worry about, although a solid roof would help keep the poo from falling into their coop. Lots of ventilation is essential! Could you hardware cloth to the barn ceiling rather than roof the coop area? That may be totally impractical, or not.
Pictures!
You need to have no openings larger than 1/2" diameter, including around the doors.
Mary
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,270
138,935
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Our weather is mostly mild compared with some parts of the country, generally never getting below 25-30 degrees at night, but usually more in the 40's on average during the winter. Daytime is usually no lower than 50's on average.
Welcome to BYC!

What are your summer high temps?
Heat in summer can be harder on birds than winter cold.

You've gotten good advice....height is good in a coop, you want ventilation up high.
Here's some other height info for coop building:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/coop-stack-up-how-high-should-stuff-be.73427/
 

naparocks

In the Brooder
Mar 12, 2018
25
16
37
Penn Valley, California
Predator proofing is high on my list! There is a dirt floor in the stall that is covered with stall pads. We're still debating whether to leave them down or not but figure we will have to pull them up to lay hardware cloth underneath and secure it at the minimum.

Our summers can get hot. This will only be our second summer here but last year was exceptionally hotter than the norm, so we've been told. We had a good stretch of 100 plus degrees up to a high of 110.

After adding up the cost of retrofitting the stall we are considering building a structure or having one built if we can work a trade. We don't know how long we'll be here and we had thought the cost of fixing up the stall would be the most economical way to go since we might not be able to make a stand alone coop mobile. Now we're considering whether we could work a trade possibly for a coop, or a handyperson to build a coop. We have a lot of corral panels we won't be using and someone might just need them but not need their coop.

Thanks for the link to your article aart. Would love to implement some of the features of your design. Do you have any other pictures of it to share?
 

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