Do my chickens have enough coop space??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mrsabbott, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. mrsabbott

    mrsabbott In the Brooder

    Sep 20, 2012
    Okay, below is our current chicken set up. We are fairly new to having chickens. We tried before with chicks and it was devastating! They got sick somehow and died suddenly. Our neighbor have us the caged in run area. It is covered all around with chicken wire and staked to the ground. The coop is one we had gotten at Orcheln's. The door to it is NEVER shut, so our girls are free to come and go as they please. They can get up in the morning and go straight into the run and move around. In the evenings, we will let them range in the fenced in backyard (I need to secure a few places in our fence first so they don't get out). We haven't had them very long, but so far they seem happy and content.

    The white one in the pic is full grown.. she should start laying soon. The other 5 are pullets but they should roughly be the same size as our Snowball. I was told the coop would hold 6 hens, but my neighbor said it is only big enough for 4. I've been reading and reading about space in the coop. They only go in there at night to sleep. There are two roosting bars in there and the nexting boxes. Last night, two of them cuddled up in the nexting box, 3 of them slept on the roosting bars, and the largest literally slept in the doorway of the coop, blocking the entrance. I think she is currently the dominate chicken in the group.

    There seems to be ample room in there for them now.. but do I need to get another small coop for wintertime? I know my pullets have some growing to do still. They will never be fully shut indoors, even in the winter time they will have the freedom to move within the run area anytime they want. I just don't want them to feel too smooshed up when it gets cold and they get older.

    For reference, I have 2 Black Copper Marans, a Barred Rock, a White Rock, a Rhode Island Red, and an Easter Egger.
  2. Ol Grey Mare

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

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Some questions :

    Where are you located? The climate will play into the possible coop space issue because their minimal use of the coop now may change when the weather does.
    What are the actual measurements of the coop and the run space?
    Is the poultry netting/chicken wire the only wire around the entire enclosure?

    Some thoughts so far:
    The issue of poultry netting - even in an urban/suburban setting such as you appear to be in there are plenty of predators (even if you have never seen them, they are there) - poultry netting is good for keeping chickens in and useless for keeping even the weakest of predator out.. If you don't wish to increase the strength of the wire, you will want to consider shutting the coop up at night - this is when your flock is most vulnerable and also when predators are most active, recipe for disaster - shutting the door will at least put a line of defense between bird and predator when the predator breeches the chicken wire (and they will). However, since you have said what you have about the idea of locking them up, I would suggest you go back and re-do your enclosure in the entirety with hardware cloth (including an anti-dig skirt around the outside) and more substantial framing. You were devesated by one loss of the flock already so I don't think you want to go through that again - otherwise I'd say it's a matter of deciding if you want to take the risk or not.
    Thirdly - sleeping in the nest box - chickens poop when/where they sleep -- a LOT - do you relish the idea of poop covered eggs? It is generally a good idea to discourage sleeping in the nest boxes by either blocking them off or moving any birds that do start the habit onto the roost each evening until they get the idea and keep themselves where they are meant to be.
  3. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    The rule of thumb is 4 square feet per chicken in the coop and 10 square feet per chicken in the run.

    1 person likes this.

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