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 Out Of The Brooder

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    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?

    Thanks,

    Ryan

    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 Moderator Staff Member

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    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:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/700308/coop-and-run-size/0_20#post_9504811
     

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