Help! How many chickens can I fit?

Ljt

Hatching
Aug 10, 2020
1
0
6
Hello,
So I'm not yet comfortable with free ranging my chickens. We have an 8x8 shed that we have converted to a coop, and an attached run that is 10 x 16 feet. We have mostly leghorns, and 2 smaller bantam chickens. We are thinking about adding a few more.. but I am so worried about overcrowding and am getting conflicting info on how many sq feet if chickens are not free ranging.
What would be my max number of chickens in your opinion?
Thank you!

Edit: where we live it is cold in the winter (up to -30c) and the chickens will have to be confined to the 8x8 coop during really cold days
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
3,181
4,812
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USA
Either 16 chickens (4 square feet each in the coop), based on the shed size.
Or 16 chickens (10 square feet each in the run), based on the run size.

:)

That's for standard-sized chickens. Bantams can sometimes do OK with half that much space per bird, but fewer birds usually means fewer problems.
 

drinkoj

Songster
Premium Feather Member
May 24, 2020
347
615
113
Upstate South Carolina
Coop = 4 sq ft. per Chicken (normal sized)
Coop = 2 sq ft per Bantam Chicken
Run = 10 sq ft per Chicken

You have 64 sq ft in the Coop, so you can have 16 chickens.
You have 160 sq ft in the Run, so you can have 16 chickens.

Treat the bantam's as normal sized just to make things less crowded and the chicken math easier.
 

nao57

Songster
Mar 28, 2020
1,294
1,281
160
Coop = 4 sq ft. per Chicken (normal sized)
Coop = 2 sq ft per Bantam Chicken
Run = 10 sq ft per Chicken

You have 64 sq ft in the Coop, so you can have 16 chickens.
You have 160 sq ft in the Run, so you can have 16 chickens.

Treat the bantam's as normal sized just to make things less crowded and the chicken math easier.
Why don't chicken ordinances in towns reflect that amount of space?

In theory, as long as you aren't making noise, a lot of yards should be able to have tons of chickens if they went by raw square footage calculations.
 

drinkoj

Songster
Premium Feather Member
May 24, 2020
347
615
113
Upstate South Carolina
Why don't chicken ordinances in towns reflect that amount of space?

In theory, as long as you aren't making noise, a lot of yards should be able to have tons of chickens if they went by raw square footage calculations.
Because the majority of politicians don't have a flipping clue about specific species needs. Whatever someone throws in front of them and gets the public backing is what they go with.
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
3,181
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Why don't chicken ordinances in towns reflect that amount of space?

In theory, as long as you aren't making noise, a lot of yards should be able to have tons of chickens if they went by raw square footage calculations.
Here's a few reasons I can think of:

--Most people do not want to devote their entire yard to chickens

--Manure. Either you need to haul it away for disposal, or you need enough space and plants to use it as fertilizer. No matter how well you compost it, there is a limit to how much manure per acre can be used without killing plants.

--Noise. Chickens may not be especially loud, but 100 chickens usually make more noise than 10, which in turn are usually louder than 3. If the "egg song" is the loudest sound a hen makes, and she only does it for a few minutes, think of how many hens times how many minutes.

--Perceptions. People think of "pets" as something that you only have a few of (like dogs-- a dozen dogs in one household would be a lot of dogs). And people think of livestock as something that doesn't belong in town. And things like fish in an aquarium don't get counted the same way--someone has "one fish tank" rather than "12 guppies and 4 cory catfish" (or whatever it really is.) So people think that a "pet chicken" means one, and if they hear that chickens should not be alone, they think 3-6 is reasonable.

Personally, I'd rather see a weight limit. Something like "maximum 250 pounds of pets." That's one mastiff, or 3 labrador retrievers, or lots of cats and small dogs, or LOTS of chickens... (Of course, a noise limit and a smell limit would be reasonable, too. But those should be applied equally to dogs, cats, chickens, pet pigs, and even lawnmowers and cars.)
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
11,783
21,778
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Why don't chicken ordinances in towns reflect that amount of space?

In theory, as long as you aren't making noise, a lot of yards should be able to have tons of chickens if they went by raw square footage calculations.
Because in towns, most people wouldn't want to live next to house with let's say 5,000 sq ft yard space, stuffed with 500 chickens.

I legally could do exactly that, and there are some lots here that are pretty full of various types of livestock, but then again I'm outside of any city's or town's jurisdiction.

Then I'd say 8 birds.
More if you put a solid roof run and weather proof the run walls for winter.
Agreed. Your climate also plays a part in limiting how many chickens you can have, as they may not want to come out during the worst parts of winter.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,742
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Southeast Louisiana
Then I'd say 8 birds.
More if you put a solid roof run and weather proof the run walls for winter.
X3

-30C is about -20F, close enough for talking purposes. That's getting cold. I'll include a link to an article by someone that deals with those types of temperatures. You might find something interesting.

Alaskan’s Article

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/cold-weather-poultry-housing-and-care.72010/

Conditions in Miami Florida will be different from conditions in Calgary in Canada. That's why those magic numbers for how much space you need don't work. Conditions that cold imply they will be stuck inside the coop only for extended periods of time, maybe by snow, almost certainly be a cold wind. Unless you protect at least part of the run from snow and wind, it may as well not exist.
 

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