Does anyone have coops with no run and very little free ranging (?'s)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by joebryant, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Anne and I have been working all summer remodeling our barn because I want to breed my own line of bbs Orpingtons that will be an especially dark blue by crossing some other selected lines with mine (see my BYC page).

    What we have in the barn are:

    Four 4- X 10- foot coops (40 sqare feet)

    Two 4- X 4-foot coops each with an additional area of 2-foot X 8-foot area (32 square feet) or these two can be combined into one coop with 64 square feet.

    Two 2- X 16-foot shelf coops (each 32 sqare feet) These can be two brooders or four 2- X 8-foot brooders.

    I will only be able to let each coop free range once a week, and there is no run, i.e., they will be in their coop 24/6.

    Question: I have seven various roosters from which I will choose four for breeding. Considering that there is no outside run for any of these indoor coops, what's the maximum number of hens you would suggest per rooster for the least stress of the hens and the rooster in these confined coops that they will leave one or two days per week in turn to free range?

    BTW, you've probably surmised that I feel guilty confining chickens like I'm doing now and will do more later. Also, this breeding program will take more than a year for me to get a rooster and six or eight hens the color that I want.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I apologize for not directly addressing your Q, but honestly, isn't there SOME way to give them at least SOME run type space, even if it is small or just an elevated 'screen porch' or something? It'd make the chickens AND YOU feel much better... [​IMG] And I am a bit concerned about your ability to get them back if you let them loose only once a week and it's in a large area, you know?

    Sorry, hopefully someone with experience with small breeding pens will come along and answer your Actual Question,

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    I wouldn't feel too guilty about it. As long as they are provided a good quality feed, clean water, nest boxes, roosts and a place to dust bathe, well venelated coop and protection from predators most chickens will be happy little campers.
    Heck getting a full day to free range is more than most chickens in the world get.
    As far as space the recommended is 4 sq ft per bird (I believe).
  4. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Thanks, Pat, I appreciate and share your concern. I wish I could make them a run, but it'd be very difficult and would destroy all the precautions I took for their safety inside the barn. You're right, it is a problem getting them back in, but hopefully that'll get better.
  5. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Thanks, scooter147, they have all that and more. The dirt floor was rototilled, leveled, covered with DE, then covered with 2"x4" wire, then covered with a wooden floor. There's no place for a predator to get in. They have a 2'x24' ventilation strip at the top of the wall that we put in, plus a ridge vent, plus two ceiling fans. Each coop has it's own on/off switch with plugs for heated waterers and heat lamps during freezing weather. Anne and I could not/did not do the electrical work. I had to hire an electrician.
    It seems like three hens and a rooster would be okay with 40 square feet; that's 10 square feet each. I sure hope so, but I could put in fewer hens. (?) I will say though, that I almost have to force them to go outside to free range; they seem to like their coops.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  6. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    I think the 4 sq ft per bird is for a coop when they have run/yard access. I think if they're staying completely confined you're suppose to have 8-10 sq ft/bird. I have a couple quads in pens that are 20 sq ft, but it is a little tight. They seem to do fine though. Part of it will depend on how aggressive a particular rooster is.
  7. goldielocks

    goldielocks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2009
    I couldnt do it myself. The reason why is that when the chickens come off the roost in the morning they go out into their run right away. They stay outside and only go in to lay their egg and then right back out to the run. They lay on their sides and sunbathe...they fluff in the sand in their run. They take turns getting up on stump and flapping their wings. Knowing this...i couldnt bring myself to do it.[​IMG] sorry, probably not what you want to hear.

    Another thing is the sand in the run stays so clean, the rain washes the chicken poo away and i dont have alot of coop cleaning since they dont stay in their coop much. They only go back in at night to sleep. I also let them out for 2 to 4 hours each evening and then they go back to their run and into the coop each evening.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  8. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    That's more than enough room.

    They get very comfortable in their environment and don't like change or should I say change "scares them".

    I "rescued" some battery hens years ago and it took them a while to get comfortable with being outside a cramped cage.
  9. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Tom Roebuck houses most of his in wire cages with no runs or very small runs for the non-show birds.
  10. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Thanks, Kelly, they will have a mimimum of ten square feet. I hadn't considered that about the aggressiveness of any particular rooster; guess I'd better watch them to see how that goes. I will say though, I will never have another over-aggressive rooster. I have one that's in solitary confinement in the barn now for life; he's NEVER coming out; had to do that or kill him. He's meaner'n a snake, but we love him.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by