Do we have enough room?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kuntry chickadee, May 8, 2011.

  1. kuntry chickadee

    kuntry chickadee Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    We have an 8'x12' chicken house surrounded by 40'x25' of fenced in yard space. We are just starting to raise chickens and are wondering how many chicks this area will support? They will be free range when they are ready.
  2. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    5sq. ft. PER bird
  3. kuntry chickadee

    kuntry chickadee Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    Thanks, I'll take all the help I can get.[​IMG]
  4. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    You will need the following.

    Coop 3-4 sq. ft. per bird
    Run 10 sq. ft. per bird
    Roost 1 linier ft. per bird
    Nest boxes 1 for 2-4 birds

    Hope that helps. [​IMG]
  5. kuntry chickadee

    kuntry chickadee Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    Thank you ibeier2000, we just bought 20 chicks last week and decided that wasn't quite enough. So my bride went back to town and bought 20 more. They are absolutely wonderful, 10 Ameraucana , 10 Australorp, 10 barred Plymouth Rock, 5 silver laced Wyandotte, and a pair of RIR, 3 sussex. WOW! So, I think we will have enough room for roosting and 20- nest boxes. We have unlimited space out side for them to run. Again, thank you very much [​IMG]
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You might look through my post on this thread. I think it will help explain some things better.

    If, and this is a big if, you are mainly using the coop as a safe sleeping place for them and they will have access to a large space outside, much larger than the 10 square foot per chicken in the run that is usually recommended, you should be fine with that sized coop for that many chickens. You can feed and water inside or outside as you wish and I'd suggest about 10 nest boxes for 40 hens.

    But, if you are going to leave them locked in the coop very long after they wake up, you could be headed for serious problems. You are not there yet, but you are approaching the density of the commercial operations where they have to take special precautions to keep the chickens healthy and keep them from becoming cannibalistic and eating each other. Many of the commercial operations automatically cut off a portion of the top beak so they can't eat each other, for example. That chicken density can cause poop management issues. If it builds up, it can cause serious health issues. The cannibalism and poop management/health issues are the greatest concern. Even if you never keep them in there except to roost, you may be cleaning under the roosts a fair amount.

    Many people just think about the weather when they look at how long the chickens will be confined in the coop. Weather is a huge part of it. Mine do not mind going outside and walking around in zero Fahrenheit weather. I cannot personally speak for their actions in colder weather because I usually don't have that in daytime. But most of mine do not like snow. I've got a few that will troop through 9" of snow to go check out the compost heap and in fairly shallow now, where the grass and weeds are still sticking through, most of mine will forage some, but in general most of mine do not like snow and try to stay out of it. Mine don't like the wind either. A general summer breeze does not bother them too much, but they do not like a cold wind or a strong wind. So, yes, weather plays a big part.

    But some other things to consider. How well do you like sleeping in on a Saturday morning? Will your household work schedule allow someone to open the coop at daylight? If you travel, say go on a family vacation, can you find someone reliable to open the coop up at daylight?

    Many people do have the chicken density you are talking about and make it work, but there are risks and it requires more management than some others. I'd really suggest you look at 4 square feet per chicken in the coop as a minimum to give you some flexibility in how you manage them.

    Good luck!
  7. kuntry chickadee

    kuntry chickadee Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    Thanks Ridgerunner! Your knowledge and experience is invaluable to be sure and I thank you for sharing. Getting up early to let them out isn't a problem at all, and we also have 4 kids so there is always someone able to do it. As for vacations, well, lol...that's wishful thinking for us! Living in Oklahoma, we do have some snow and ice, but it's hit and miss and never stays around long. I failed to mention in my dimensions that our coop is a good 12'-14' high, so there's lots of "up" room. I'll try to post some pics soon. We had planned on having in the neighborhood of 20 nest boxes. Also, when they come out, they'll have LOTS of room....acres of free range land accessible if they wish. The fenced in portion isn't covered, so they'll be free to come and go as they please. And as for the I said, we have 4 kids who need character building work to do! [​IMG] (and the poop will be incorporated into our large garden area as needed!) We are committed to making this work, we desire to be as self-sufficient as possible. I'm sure I'll have many more questions as the time goes on, and I would really value your input. Thank you again for taking the time to share your knowledge with me! [​IMG]
  8. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma

    I also would recommend at least 4 sq feet of coop space per bird. I live I Oklahoma also and this past winter was really rough. I had 35 birds in my 20x30 coop and they did not go outside for over 3 weeks with really cold temps. Having 40 birds in the 8x12 space is very crammed. It is your choice but the weather here can be nice and a few hours later be bad. One big thing with many birds is that the coop needs to be well ventilated. One thing you might think about is a covered run for more space when in the coop. You picked great breeds for egg layers! Congrats!


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