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Deep Litter Method - What's the best square footage per chicken

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rtwood42, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. rtwood42

    rtwood42 In the Brooder

    Feb 25, 2013
    Northern CA, near Chico.
    I have been reading up on the deep litter method and have decided that this is what I want to do in my run (currently under renovation, but soon to be full of chickens!).

    One thing that I have not found is the optimal ratio of square feet to chicken. I have been to ld elsewhere to have at least 5 square feet per chicken, but current plans will have me at around 30 square feet per chicken. I just want to make sure that I don't make the run too big for the chickens to aerate, and I want to make sure that I get enough chicken poop mixed in with the straw to to get a good carbon:nitrogen ratio.

    I am at the planning stages for my renovation, so I can make the run any size, up to about 400 square feet and I plan to keep about 12 chickens. The chickens will be in either the coop or run 99.9% of the time.

    What do y'all think? How many square feet per chicken should I make my run?



    P.S. I am going to try sand in the coop. I will throw all of the poop that I scoop into the run to be mixed with the litter.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It would be much more common to use sand in the run and hay or pine shavings in the coop. Sand drains well in rain; and hay does not do so well when it gets wet.

    One rule of thumb often quoted here is 4 sq ft in the coop and 10 sq ft in the run per bird as a minimum likely to prevent problems. But the simple truth is, the more space the have, the more content they will be. Mine have a large yard, a whole lot larger than that, and they certainly enjoy and use the area. It's big enough that there are clumps of tall weeds and some grass n there.

    Here is an excellent post on space that one of our members made:


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