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Help with my first chicken coop, please!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bloomfieldmama, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. bloomfieldmama

    bloomfieldmama Hatching

    Apr 8, 2009
    Northern California
    I'm building my first coop, and I'm unclear on exactly how much space my ckickens will need.

    The plan is for the run to be a 4' wide x 8' long x 6' high enclosure fenced with 1/2" hardware cloth, and for the house to be a 2' deep x 4' wide x 4' high plywood in which to house a roost and nesting boxes.

    I'm planning to get 6 chickens, and I've read that I need 4 s.f per chicken, or 24 s.f. in my case. Is this 4 s.f. per chicken requirement in reference to the run or the house? I want to make sure my plywood house is big enough for them.

  2. Renee

    Renee Songster

    May 7, 2008
    The "requirements" are subjective. It depends on how you are going to clean the coop, what size and breed the chickens are, whether they decide to compete for roost space, and so on.

    I have three chickens in a playhouse style coop with a henhouse that is 3x5 and a run that is 7x5 (we bought ten foot lumber instead of 8 foot). They have an attached small yard as well. I think it is just right for them, but I would not hesitate to go up to six. I clean out poop every morning.

    More space is always better. There is less feather-plucking, cannibalism, and fighting if there is more space per bird.
  3. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    Quote:I wouldn't put more that two chickens in that area(s).
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    3 chickens would be a lot for that small space.... not hardly big enough for roosts.
  5. bloomfieldmama

    bloomfieldmama Hatching

    Apr 8, 2009
    Northern California
    I forgot to mention our chickens will be let out during the day and only in the coop at night. Not sure if this matters much. Now I'm considering changing the house to 4' x 4' and possibly 2 stories. Also, the house will be raised 2' off the ground so they will have room to roam under (which is where I will also put their food). If anyone has any pics to post of their hen house setups, I would love to see them. Thanks for your help!
  6. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Songster

    Your idea sounds a lot like the playhouse coop which is the first one you see on the coop designs page for small coops.

    My coop is 4 X 4 and it is working well for my 6 hens so far. They are not full size yet. I figure, if they get crowded as they get bigger, I will give a couple away. There are always folks that want laying hens.
    They currently have more than double the space they need on the roosts.
    They spend most of their time in the run, the tractor, or my dog exercise pen. They pretty much only go in the coop to roost or hide if something freaks them out.

    My BYC page has lots of exterior and interior pics of my coop.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009
  7. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Songster

    I looked it up on the playhouse coop page I mentioned. Dennis says he uses it for 4 full sized hens. There is a nice layout drawing of the space on that link I posted above.

  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:If the 'footprint' of the house is only 2x4, you will have one heck of a time just FITTING six chickens in there, even if they enter for nothing but laying and roosting. I do not believe it will work.

    If I'm misunderstanding and the house footprint is actually 4x4, I would not put more than 4 chickens maximum in there myself (well actually, I would only put 1 or 2 chickens in there, but I mean the majority of people around here...) unless your climate is such that there will never be days they wanna spend most of the day indoors.

    Run size sounds adequate for 6 chickens, though.

    Good luck, have fun,


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