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Freaking out - is coop/run too small???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by reedyfork, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Let me first say that this site and forum have been amazing! I am totally new to chickens, and the resources here have been an incredible help.

    When I got started on this undertaking, I read every book I could find in the library on raising chickens and it seemed like the consensus was 2-3 sf of coop space per chicken (combined henhouse and run). However, it seems like the consensus on this board appears to be a much larger space (4 sf/chicken in coop and and additional 10 sf/chicken in run). Does this sound right?

    I live in a dense urban neighborhood, and that kind of space (even for the 3 chickens I am restricted to) is simply going to be difficult to find. My henhouse is almost complete, but I do have some flexibility still in the run and yard space. The good thing is that I don't need to be concered with ever expanding my flock, since I am limited by city ordinance to only a few hens.

    Anyway, here's what I have planned. Someone please tell me that this will be OK.

    7 sf in henhouse (2.3 sf/bird) attached to;
    12 sf of covered, screened-in run (4 sf/bird), leading out to;
    300 sf of uncovered, fenced-in yard (partitioned from the rest of our yard). They will also have occassional, limited, supervised access to my entire backyard.

    I will post pics once I figure out how to do it, but this is all in the early construction process right now. Will they be OK with this???

    Ron
     
  2. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    years ago I lived in the city, and had a small flock of 4 chickens. Since you live in NC, I think you'll be ok since the weather will allow them to be out in the run most of the time unless they are roosting or nesting. You are definitely on the small side in the coop - but with a roost, and one nest box mounted on the wall so there is more floor space, and very carefully placed waterers and feeders (hopefully in the run) you should be ok.

    Hopefully, you'll be getting 3 same age chicks who are either new chicks or have grown up together - I wouldn't introduce 3 grown hens to each other with that small space if I could avoid it.

    If there is any way you can steal a little more room for the run, I'ld go for it!
     
  3. dappertophatter

    dappertophatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    4 sf/chicken in coop and and additional 10 sf/chicken in run). Does this sound right?

    While this is the size many people choose to build to, the other side of the coin is that they know they'll be adding more birds at a later date. Since you'll be limited anyway, disregard this, although something to keep in the back of your head is that the bigger the space you put them, the more room they'll have to get away from each other so they don't fight or feather-pick.

    Your floor plan sounds fine. Is the 7 sf ft. in the coop total floor space?? You're going to need an extra coupla feet for room to put feeders, waterers, and nestboxes.

    You may want to make a larger covered run, just so they'll be able to safely run around a bit when you're not around to let them out in the yard. Hawks live in the city too.

    Just remember -There's only one rule in chicken coop-building - make it as big as you can afford, have space, or get tired of building. [​IMG]

    I'm curious, what breed(s) are you planning on getting? [​IMG] Good luck!​
     
  4. FarmerChick

    FarmerChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    seriously don't go crazy over it. chickens don't need alot of space and in colder weather a little huddling etc. in their coop is a good thing.
    I am in NC....winter is short and though a few hard weeks definitely, not bad at all for the birds. Outside is what they prefer mostly anyway.
    Only a few hens you certainly don't need to worry.
     
  5. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    I'm curious, what breed(s) are you planning on getting?

    Hopefully, you'll be getting 3 same age chicks who are either new chicks or have grown up together - I wouldn't introduce 3 grown hens to each other with that small space if I could avoid it.

    We have 5 RIR chicks in our eat-in kitchen right now. I'm waiting to sex them, and will "hopefully" come away with 2 or 3 hens. We got them as day-olds, and they are now 3 wks. old.

    Is the 7 sf ft. in the coop total floor space??

    Yes, total inside floor space. I will have one nestbox, which I plan to mount outside to maximize inside space. I started a different thread trying to figure out pros and cons of putting food and water inside the henhouse, and I'm now thinking with my space constraints that I'll have to put those in the run (although someone did mention using some form of PVC feeder attached to the outside that pipes in to the henhouse, therefore saving floor space). I just don't see where I have room inside for a standard waterer and feeder. I'm up every day at 5:00-5:30, so I'm not too concerned about them getting hungry or thirsty before I open the door.

    You may want to make a larger covered run, just so they'll be able to safely run around a bit when you're not around to let them out in the yard. Hawks live in the city too.

    Hawks are definitely a big concern for me here, as are the abundance of roaming "outside cats" (some people call them pets?). The 300 sf fenced-in yard area that they'll have full-time access to is adjacent to my detached garage, and there are a couple of rhododendrons and a maple tree in this space for some form of shelter.​
     
  6. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your coop is definitely small for the size of the flock it houses. It is vital to remove poop every day in your situation for optimum health of your flock. What is the height and ventilation situation? I did 1 sq ft of ventilation for each 4 birds. That is full-time, never-closed ventilation above the 8 ft height in my coop. Windows are used to increase that in warmer months and to air out the coop each AM. No drafts on roosts except by choice in warm weather. Roosts are at 4 ft ht in my coop.

    You could saw open the nest wall at floor level and add a bump-out for the nest boxes. That would give extra floor space in the coop. You will want it to be secure and pay attention to possible water leakage where the hinges are.

    Coops are about security, air quality, shelter, feed, and enough space to prevent most pecking and all fighting. A wall trough can be used to save floor space. I use pvc house guttering with end caps for my feed trough. No spilling or waste, ever. I have no water inside the coop at all. [​IMG]
     
  7. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    Here's my little henhouse under construction. It will be mounted on posts and also bolted to my garage. These front access doors are for cleaning and maintenance.
    [​IMG]

    The pop door and window opening. External nestbox and another window will be on the opposite side.
    [​IMG]

    Henhouse and attached, covered run will be mounted on this 8' long side of my garage (between red door and corner). They will then have access to the yard behind the garage (after I move all the kids' toys and stuff) and the area containing the maple and rhododendron you see on the left of the pic (still needs to be fenced).
    [​IMG]
     
  8. FarmerChick

    FarmerChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2008
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    good for 3-4 hens
    no problem

    they will do fine and that is a nice little coop definitely!!!
     
  9. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    What is the height and ventilation situation?

    I have the two small windows on opposite sides of the structure, I'll likely leave the pop door open most of the time, and I installed vented soffit and gable-end vent holes to move hot air out of the "attic". Hopefully this will be sufficient ventilation?​
     
  10. SandyK

    SandyK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eldersburg, Maryland
    Any place for them to roost?? Mine would be upset if they didn't have somewhere higher than the floor to roost on.
     

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