Help me understand coop size please?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Tylt33, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. Tylt33

    Tylt33 Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Chico, California
    I know it's been discussed to death, but I just don't get it. Let me explain why, and maybe someone can help me understand?

    I have four chickens that free range most of the time. They have an 84 sq. foot run, with a 24 sq. foot coop, not including a 6' roosting bar and 6 nesting boxes.

    Everytime I look in the coop, at night time and during the morning when I open their run door, they're using some combination of 3' of roosting bar and 2' or so ON TOP of the nesting boxes. And it's always the same spot. And once they're awake, they head right out of the coop and onto their merry way. I mean, they honestly look like they'd be fine with 2 sq. feet or less per bird.

    Why do they need that extra space? I'm not looking to add anymore chickens, but I'm wondering if confinement with limited space has some psychological effect on them? Do they go nutty when closed in too much? Are they roaming around in the coop when I'm not watching?

    Thank you in advance!

  2. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    The reason for the square footage per chicken is that if you had to lock them up for any length of time, they would need the space to spread out comfortably. If the space is too small, you can have problems of fighting, feather picking, and just general unhappiness. Think about if you and all your family had to live in a small closet for a few days. You would all be at each others throats, competing for space to spread out. You have a nice sized space for your 4 chickens. They can spread out inside and roost together for the night. They probably do wander around inside their coop and you just dont see it. You live in california so I dont think you have to lock them up too often. I live in NY and have had to leave my 8 in the coop for 2 or 3 days due to the weather. They have a 4x8 coop and it gives them enough room so that the lowest hen in the pecking order can find a spot to get away from the others. If my coop were any smaller, I would have problems with the higher ranked hens bullying and picking on the lower ranked ones. I always give my girls the option of going out into the run. Remember, stressed hens dont lay well. Your setup sounds great for your birds.
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Madsenaccord pretty much covered it. That's why most BYCers will recommend the 4 sq. ft. minimum, but follow that with advice that one could get by with less (indoor) space if located in a year-round mild climate whether the birds would only ever be inside for egg laying and roosting. Some folks sleep late and don't open their pop door until late. Some folks keep their birds inside until they get home from work. Some folks live in areas that receive rough weather, so the birds spend a LOT of time inside during those times. In those cases, the more space the better...
  4. Tylt33

    Tylt33 Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Chico, California
    Quote:That makes a lot of sense, especially the picking at each other and the other psychological effects. My coop door is open at 6:30 a.m. and the girls free range until they tuck themselves in, 365 days a year, so my situation is different I suppose. Thank you!

  5. catdaddy66

    catdaddy66 Songster

    Nov 18, 2009
    Lugoff, SC
    My girls have spent 7 months inside a coop 8' x 8'which is good for 16 birds. I only have 12. Even with more space than needed I want to get them outside into a run ASAP!! They will be much happier hens than they are now, but seem to be tolerating the enclosed space pretty well. I did find an eaten egg this past weekend though. [​IMG]

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