Elbow Room


12 Years
Mar 17, 2010
essexville, michigan
I'm new to chickens,and am reading about how much room is needed per bird inside and out. I also read about birds not leaving the coop in the winter, does this happen? I live in Michigan, we get lots of snow, cold temps, wind. If I build my coop to house x number of birds, and fill it, it's going to be pretty crowded if they spend the winter in there. Maybe I should build it alittle bigger.
Welcome to the world of chicken, it is a wonderful place (to us on here at least) . I have read that 3 sq. foot per bird, but better is 4 sq. foot per bird of floor space in your coop. If it is real cold and snowy, your birds may stay inside most of the winter, it really depends on the breed and even then, some just prefer to roost most of the day. I have some die hard free-rangers and some who never leave the coop of the same breed, so there is no real way to know. I would always err on the side of TOO BIG, as well, you know, you can always add to the flock pretty easily, they often do this without much help by themselves. By coop of 12 X 18 houses 80 birds without much trouble, with most of them going out all day long. I have to add shavings about every week and fluff them up. It stays dry. I have 4 (12ft) roosts for them, so 48' linear foot of space, and my nest boxes are hanging on the wall. In the summer it is even dusty. I say, build as big as you can afford or have space for. I have a loft in my building, so it has better ventilation and stays cooler in the summer, but it is still really really hot in July & Aug. I have to run box fans in there. Show us some pics if you can. HenZ
I am in Michigan and can tell you that they will still come out of the coup in winter. They don't like snow and will not usually walk in it. If it is just cold out, no matter how cold, and no snow then they will forage. When there is snow on the ground they will often just hang out around the pop door and not venture far. Right now I have a 8' x 8' run (it's temporary) and I usually keep the snow shoveled in there. As long as I do that they are in the run everyday. They go in and out of the coup as they please. I usually throw out scratch in their run which they like and gives them something to do. I built my coup for 12 and only have 6. I have 8 chicks in the brooder which puts me over my limit so it may be a little more crowded in there next winter. I am not too worried about it as I open the pop door for them every day regardless of the weather. They always have the option to go out. I hope that helps you some and if you have any more questions just ask.

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