does size matter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 6keets, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. 6keets

    6keets Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    32
    Jun 1, 2007
    NE Indiana
    How much room do you need per chicken. I read somewhere that is was someting like 3 sq ft per bird. Does that sound right?[​IMG]
     
  2. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    408
    2
    151
    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    2 sq ft per bantam, 3 sq ft for a smaller coop and standard hens, 4 sq ft is better especially if you have heavy breed hens (like Wyandottes or RIRs).

    And then it gets complicated. Colder climates might mean you need a bigger henhouse to keep 'em happy when they cannot go outside, but a smaller henhouse is easier to keep warm. Warmer climates need more ventilation and probably less space because they stay outside all the time, but being in tight quarters might make it even hotter for the hens. Stick with the 4 sq ft per hen in the henhouse rule for best results, I think.

    -MTchick
     
  3. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    I'll throw my 2 cents worth in here.

    I believe 4 sq. ft. is way too crowded. This isn't much larger than the battery cages that production farms keep their hens in.
    A large hen will take up 2 sq. ft. just standing up and stretching.
    I tried "going by the book", and I had bare-backed, bare-butted hens that pecked at each other constantly. I moved these same hens to a pen that gave them 9 sq. ft. per bird, and the feathers came back, the pecking & fighting stopped, and egg production went up.

    When we are building new pens, I figure on at least 7 sq. ft. per grown bird. A lot of problems can be eliminated with a little more space.

    The bigger the better in my opinion.

    Jean
     
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    5,928
    46
    293
    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Actually .... battery cages would have 6 birds in 4 square feet.

    Space requirements change with the breed and the climate you live in. How much pen space and if they free range most of the day factors in heavily also.
     
  5. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    994
    4
    161
    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    Quote:I have to disagree here...4 square feet of coop space is more than adequate. You may have been confused on the recommendation...it's 4 sq ft of coop space; 10 sq ft of run space. That is 14 sq ft of total space per bird (coop+run).
     
  6. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    408
    2
    151
    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    Yup- I was referring to henhouse footage, not total footage. They need a lot more total space than 4 sq ft to stay happy, but 4 each in the henhouse seems to be the suggestion that most people go by. As for 10 sq ft per hen outside- that seems big when you look at it, but it really isn't. 10 hens would need a 10 x 10 pen, which is not very large when you look at it. Mine have over twice the required pen space and they love it.

    Oh, and no matter how big you make it, they will all bunch up in one part of it most of the time. [​IMG]

    -MTchick
     
  7. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    994
    4
    161
    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    I agree with MTchick...I have a 12x12 space for my 36 hens and roos and they use about 1/4 of that space...lol. One group crowds into a corner about 3 x 3 and the other group crowds on a little part of my roosts. If the hens free-range, I think you can easily go with 3 sq ft in the coop.
     
  8. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    I didn't realize 6keets was asking about coop space.
    I took it as how much room does a chicken need (total space).

    I guess things have changed since I lived next to an egg producing farm. They had 2 hens per 4 sq. ft. cage.


    Jean
     
  9. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    I heard many different,
    I built my coop for 2 square per bird

    so with 4 square ft per bird when grown

    being my shed it like over 6ft tall can you build say 4x6 ledge to add space maybe 4ft high (they would have over & under! with ladder


    would that contribute space?

    if anyone has done do you have a picture?
     
  10. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    5,928
    46
    293
    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Yeh rafter it is rather disgusting these days. The legal requirement is .7 square feet per bird and many are pushing over that figure.

    I can't go near a commercial operation anymore.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by