Go big or keep it small?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NinjaRooster, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. NinjaRooster

    NinjaRooster Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 27, 2013
    The Corner
    I'm wondering if i could get some opinions on whether I should stick with my coop original plan or adjust the design and go full scale/ish.

    This is my current coop. It's about 2' x 4' and is way too small for my needs!


    I'm in the process of building an addition to the bottom of it. The addition will raise the coop up approximately 18 inches and double the floor space, essentially creating a 4 foot by 4 foot base area. I have 9 chickens, but they are not living with me at the moment.

    Sooooo, my question is: is this going to be big enough?




    The current coop will sit on the top center of this 'box' (obviously it's not finished yet).
    The thing is, as I was building this I thought that I could turn it into a smallish walk in coop. (okay, i would still have to duck).

    Any thoughts?[​IMG]
  2. cknkids

    cknkids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2012
    Camarillo, CA
    Many on this site suggest 4sq ft in the hen house and 10 sq ft in the run if they never or rarely get to free range. I'm assuming the 4x4 is the run for the house you've shown. So I'd think that's way too small. Good luck, sorting out our set up was tough.
  3. NinjaRooster

    NinjaRooster Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 27, 2013
    The Corner
    Oops, I should have clarified that.[​IMG] They will be free ranging. I have a run that they usually huddle under when they don't like the weather, but I rarely, if ever, use it. The run is about 4 feet by 8 to 10 feet.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I say Go Big!
    Free ranging is all well and good until you have a predator problem or a stretch of bad weather and they need to be confined to the coop for days on end.
    I don't see how you even have enough roost space for 9 birds in a 2' x 4' coop.
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    9 chickens can fit and roost just fine in a 4x4 coop but it can cause problems. I've a small coop and my birds only (excepting extreme weather) use it to roost at night or walk through to the nesting boxes. With a rooster I only keep 7 total birds through winter. First year 8 pullets packed into it and I'd made a decision that was one or two too many. Will 9 birds roost in it all on their own? Probably. Where problems arise is eventually you'll be introducing new birds. As you cull unproductive ones or they pass on naturally via laying problems or predators eventually new birds will be introduced to your flock. With extreme limited coop space these introductions are not as easy as they could be. Birds not using the coop, excessive pecking, etc. I limit that problem by selling and culling almost all the hens by fall and choose the best 4 or 5 pullets hatched in spring to take their place. Having only 1 or 2 original hen occupants left helps with flock integration.

    In a nut shell: I suggest less birds or a bigger coop. My experience is 2 sqft per bird is not enough yet I couldn't imagine 4 sqft if birds only roost in it. My current 2.3 sqft works for me but if I had to recommend a square foot per bird it'd have to be 2.5 for large fowl.
  6. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana

    That size coop would be good for just a couple big birds. Go big and even bigger after that! You will be happy with a large coop and so will your birds! Inside space gets eaten up by feeders, nest boxes, roost bars/poop boards, waterers and storage. During bad weather when the chickens stay in the coop they will need room to move around. Close quarters will gear up conflicts especially if you have more than one rooster!
  7. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    I've never seen anyone on BYC complain because their coop was too big. On the other hand, I've seen many, MANY complain that their coop was too small and express regrets that they didn't build bigger in the first place.

    Go Big.
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Save your current coop for a broody coop (or hospital coop, growout coop, etc.) and build another larger one! [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  9. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    ^ great advice
  10. NinjaRooster

    NinjaRooster Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 27, 2013
    The Corner
    Thank you everybody for the wonderful advice.
    Yeah, that was way too small. :oops:. I did have it built into an enclosed and mostly sheltered run, so I would usually just close up the run, giving them the freedom to go between coop and run. Sometimes one or two might sleep in the run while the others slept in the coop.

    Anyway, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going WAY overkill or missing anything (but I figured I wasn't).

    One more question, how many nest boxes would I need for such a setup? 3,4?

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