Having more than one coop


Sep 18, 2015
I currently have four laying hens and a cockerel with a house that is more than comfortably sized for them. I would like to add a couple more hens to my flock and not wanting to tighten the space they have I am planning on buying a second house for my new hens. Currently, the outside run is very large and protected by electric fencing and they free range all day. My plan was to put the new house in the run with a temporary run for the new girls to allow them time to adapt before the others get at them. My question is as to whether the new hens will continue to use their own house once they are altogether? I am worried that our cockerel "Brian" will want to encourage the new hens into his house with the others and I will end up with them all squashed in one! Many thanks for any advice.
Thank you so much for the advice. It would be quite difficult to extend the existing house but if they are going to tend to want to be together that would be my best option. The current house is about 13.5 sq feet so I would have about 1.9 sq foot per bird if I house two more. When I look for guidelines about space it varies greatly as to what is appropriate. The chickens are all average hybrid laying hens so perhaps I may have room for a couple more in the house without causing problems?
Your current set up is too small for 5 birds. Post pictures of the coop. Maybe someone on here has a simple fix. Keep your eye on CL. You never know what treasure you'll find that can be converted in a weekend into a killer coop.
I have three coops on our property, and primarily free-range here. With only one or two exceptions, each of my groups goes back into their own coop each evening. I do have a silkie and a bantam cochin mix who will occasionally switch coops for some reason.

What I see most often quoted on coop (housing) size is a minimum of 2-4 sq. feet per bird. That's because regions and attitudes differ. What works in Florida, where birds are only ever inside to roost and/or to lay an egg is different from what works in Wisconsin, where lots of snow means lots more time spent inside the housing. No matter where you are though, pretty much everyone agrees that you need to give chickens as much space as you're able to - more space means less picking issues, easier manure management, etc.

If your newbies are contained long enough for them to learn where "home" is, they will most likely return there once the flocks are combined.
I started off with a very small flock (and so a very small coop). When we decided to increase our flock we built a new, bigger coop. The old coop is not in our current run, so the girls can not get into it. However, it has been very useful to have an extra coop available. We had pecking order problems and we were able to separate a chicken until she could get better! Good luck!
Thank you so much for your replies!

The current coop is actually larger than I thought (mixing up conversion from metres to feet!) They all seem pretty comfortable in their lodgings and I don't have any bullying or squabbles. I am in Northern France where our weather is generally mild and snow is a rarity, so far this winter they have only used the coop for roosting. I have also built some outside covered areas which they enjoy when it rains. It is clear I can't accommodate anymore in the current house and as you say a second coop is always useful. Really appreciate your help!

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