Jun 26, 2020
WA Seattle
I am a high school student who just moved and my dad agreed to let me get chickens (I am very passionate about it and have researched for almost 3 years) and just 3 months ago I got my first 11 chicks.
They are as of now still in the brooder in the garage. We live in washington. My dads girlfriend did not want to free range them and neither did I due to all the predators in this area. We also had no time to build a coop so we hired a contractor for 4000 to build a predator proof run for us. He started working after 2 weeks of planning and I came home to this.

This is one of my 3 week old BO hens. I have 4 other silkies and a mix of 7 other standard breeds. I wanted to add a dust bathing area, a swing, various perches, and room for all 11 of my chickens.

My dad and his girlfriend say that this coop run is not too small because they "did their research" (maybe a 20 minute google search) and that I'm lucky I have them at all.
I got upset, I told them it definitely was not big enough. We have a huge food and water bin to add as well. They said they should have just gotten a cardboard box to put them in.

That's why I'm here. Is this run big enough?
I feel like they'd listen if experienced people voiced their opinions on this.
Any of you have a good way to explain to them this is just too small?


Life is good...
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
May 16, 2014
Well, doubtful your parents will listen to random strangers online. Rule of thumb is 10 sq. ft per bird in the run and 3-6 sq. feet in the coop. So the run should be 110 sq. ft, not including the space the coop is taking up. Looks like the birds can get under the coop though, so that would count as run space. Do you have the actual measurements of the run and coop? 🙂


Aug 22, 2021
Measurements are needed. The space under is a great area to count as it's something. You could also affix some roost bars to use the vertical space in the run as well but depending on the overall dimensions is if you would need to extend it out. If you put the coop out you can still give the chickens access to the underside just need to predator proof around it.


Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
$4,000 for that???? Your parent got seriously ripped off. To say nothing of the problems with completely inadequate ventilation.

The "thumb rules" for chickens.

4sq ft house space/bird
10 sq ft run space/bird
1 sq ft 24/7/365 free ventilation/bird
1 linear ft roost pole/bird
1/4 nesting box/hen (minimum 2, round up)
[this is "flexible", I've seen 1/5 given as this rule as well]
1/10 Rooster/Hen ratio for optimal fertility
[this is another flexible thumb rule, young roosters can effectively cover more young hens and still maintain good (85%+), if not great, fertility]

Expect leaks at the joint where the nesting box roof meets the wall. If its typical design, expect birds sleeping in the nests, because the roosting bars aren't high enough. You have to leave the window open all the time, which still doesn't provide enough ventilation for that many birds, but puts drafts - which you desperately don't want - on them as they roost. The space underneath will be a constant source of frustration for you. If you are lucky, they will only dust bathe there. If you aren't, they may lay eggs there, and its a popular place for uninvited guests to hang out until you predator proof your run (rats, snakes, etc)

Should I continue???
and lest the parental units think I'm saying this simply because you requested it, or in the belief I am young myself...

See my Sig, below, for my current flock. I'm in the later half of my first century, and I can link posts making similar observations about similar coop designs, going back some considerable period of time.

There are *worse* coops, don't get me wrong - but for the expense, the builder really should have done their research, then built something more appropriate to your region.

Your whole run, if I'm judging the locations of the 4x4s correctly, is roughly the size of the goat house I built one weekend. Alone. With only a generator for power on site, and a bunch of materials I had to carry to the job. No, its not as pretty, but its just as functional, and was 1/4 the price while lumber costs were thru the roof. Could easily add doors and windows with the money saved.
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May 26, 2021
Boise, Idaho
That looks like the OVEREZ medium coop, which is listed online for $1500. Probably higher at retail due to shipping and lumber prices, but still...

@WalnutTree , just wanted to express my sympathy. It's crushing to have something you've planned, dreamed and invested yourself in end up as a disappointment. However, your parents probably feel they're doing you a favor, so you will likely get farther with diplomacy, creativity and compromise than anything else. Best of luck!


9 Years
Oct 24, 2012
Santa Clarita, CA
Oh wow…4K to spend just to make the run!? Your family could done it themselves for WAY less! Way less money. I hope the 4K included to build that coop! That look like EZ brand coop?

I would move the coop out of the run to be “next to it” by connecting the run with the coop. That way there is plenty of space. Having the coop in the center of the run make it less space available for roaming.

I don’t think you need make a swing. Just provide perches.

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