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Do I have enough coop to add more chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by saxifrage, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. saxifrage

    saxifrage Hatching

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    Jun 29, 2010
    I have a run that is 4'x7' and 4' high attached to a raised coop that is 3x4x3, not including the nest box. So far I have two brown leghorns that are about 10 weeks or so and I'm wondering if I should stop there or try to introduce one or two new birds before the two I have get bigger. I'm considering adding two 5 week old Barred Rocks. The plan is to build a chicken tractor and let them all out to forage daily if I can manage it. I live in the city, but near the river so hawks are common in my neighborhood --having them out of the coop unsupervised is not an option. I'm a newbie to keeping chickens, so any advice y'all might have is certainly appreciated![​IMG]
     

  2. Schultz

    Schultz CluckN'Crow Farm

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    It probably would be ok if you are only adding a couple more. Just try to get that tractor built as soon as you can [​IMG]
     
  3. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    OK, let's do the math. [​IMG]
    Each chicken (standard size) needs at least 3, but preferably 4 sq. feet in the henhouse. Your henhouse is 3x4x3 which is 12 sq. feet so 3 or 4 hens at the most would be OK if they get outdoors all year long. Remember it can rain, snow, get too hot or too cold depending on where you live. If your nest boxes are externally placed that would help a little as well as they would be able to use all the floor space.

    Your run is 4x7 which equals 28 sq feet. The recommendation is 10 sq. feet per standard hen. If they got out of the run and henhouse area EVERY day for a few hours then 3 or a tight squeeze with 4 hens. You risk squabbling and boredom which can be quite savage or even fatal in chickens. The tractor can help a bit too but they need to use it every day.

    Docile easy going birds who don't mind confinement tend to do better in this scenario. The leghorns you have tend to be flighty but OK in confinement. They also have a greater tendency to peck at each other so you have a real mixed bag. You really should only get one but the introduction would be precarious as they may both attack the newbie mercilessly or kill her [​IMG] . If you go this route then try adding her at night by slipping her on the roost and BE THERE first thing in the morning when they awake to make sure she isn't beaten up badly. May I just suggest you enlarge the run? The you can get 2 more safely.
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I wouldn't attempt to add more unless you can for certain elevate your nest box(es), as that takes living space away. I agree with chickerdoodle; space-wise, you're really only set up to maybe add one more bird. However, adding a single bird sometimes can be iffy, unless your two are pretty calm, docile, easy going pullets. Adding two is easier, but your space would be REALLY tight for 4 birds, and could definitely cause problems for you (picking, bullying), especially come winter time, when they stay confined a bit more (and have their full size upon them, so are much more cramped).
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  5. SandyK

    SandyK Songster

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    Eldersburg, Maryland
    The new ones always seem to get picked on also. Adding one more, I wouldn't do either.
     
  6. saxifrage

    saxifrage Hatching

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    Jun 29, 2010
    Once again, I am amazed at how helpful folks on this site are! Thank you for the specific feedback. I think I'll stick with the two since I really don't have too much more space to expand the coop or run. The nest box will be external (12"x12"x14) when I add it. One other consideration I had was hurricane season here. If I had to evacuate any more pets/family than what I have now, I might be in a bind, so there's another good reason to turn down the offer of new birds. Have to say I was tempted, though!
     

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