How big does it need to be?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Arkantex, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Arkantex

    Arkantex Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, we are going to get a batch of 25 of the brown egg layer chicks from the hatchery as soon as I get my coop built. How large do I need to build my coop, nesting bins, and run to keep this many chickens happy? We live out in the country on 10 acres so they will get to free range when I am home. I just want to make sure I size everything appropriately.

    Oh... If you guys have any tips or tricks about building a coop/run I would greatly appreciate them. Thanks
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    [​IMG] From SW Arkansas. I can only tell you about roost space and coop size. My birds free range all day, so I've never built a run.

    You need at least 4 sq. feet per bird in the coop. More is better obviously. Storey's Guide to chickens recommends 8 inches of perching space for each chicken, 10 inches for larger breeds; but again more is better.

    My only tip: Definitely get the coop built before ordering your chicks. They grow real quick and you don't want chickens living on your screened porch like I've had, twice. [​IMG]
     
  3. Arkantex

    Arkantex Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I don't have to worry about ordering chicks before I have the coop built because my boss(read wife) said that there will be no chickens until they have some where to live... What town in Arkansas do you live in gritsar? I grew up in Camden. Now we live out here in West Texas though.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:We live out in the country, just a little north of De Queen.
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    You may want 4 nesting boxes for that many chickens.

    Folks here like the 4 SQFT per bird in coop and 10 SQFT per bird for a run. Runs are nice even if you free range for times you want them locked in; predators, your gone for weekend, etc. I personally use less SQFT in coop as my birds only use it to roost at night.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Here is some light reading for you. It is in the coop section on this forum.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=206328

    For nests, about anything goes. For 25 hens, I'd suggest 6. They will probably all lay in a couple of them, but you never know when you actually need the extra ones. I have occasionally had a reason to need the extras. Here are some of the things people have done for nests.

    Nesting Boxes
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=41108

    You won't need it that much extra space since you plant to free range a lot, but you want to to be big enough that you can leave them locked in for a while if you need to. The rule of thumb for a bare minimum is 4 square feet in the coop and 10 square feet in the run per chicken. With the way you plan to manage them, an 8' x 12' coop and a 250 square feet run will probably be more than big enough, but if you find you have to leave them locked up for a while, more space might be appreciated. I find if I do the minimum, I have to do more work, usually revolving around handling poop, plus I don't have much flexibility on how to manage them. But my suggestion is to build the 8' x 12' coop and make your run a little bigger than you need to. That should be a lot cheaper than oversizing the coop. If you can manage them the way you envision, that should be plenty big enough for you and give you some flexibility.

    I agree with Gritsar on the roost space. They really don't need a whole lot of room on the roost once they settle in, but they do need enough room to spread their wings and fly to the roost, plus they will rearrange themselves once they get up there to sleep next to their buddies. Also, some hens can be pretty mean on the roosts to keep their own private space. I like to give them enough extra room so they can get away from the mean ones.

    One of the threads in that first link I gave you is lessons learned on building a coop. The first few pages especially are pretty good. But remember that practically everything on here are guidelines, not absolute laws of nature. Chickens are living animals with their own personalities. We all have different goals and situations. What works for one person may very well not work for another. You can gain something from everyone's experience, but try to pick the things that apply to your situation.

    Good luck and hope you soon get to enjoy the adventure.
     
  7. Arkantex

    Arkantex Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, after doing some reading, this is what we have come up with. We have a shed that I am building. It is 15'x15'. I am going to build the coop on the north side of it. The coop will be 15'x8'. If I did my math right, that should be big enough for 30 chickens (correct me if I am wrong). Then, later on down the road, we will add on the south wing. We think it gives it that old barn look. We are not sure if the south wing will be another coop, or housing for other types of animals, or more storage space for the shed... We will cross that road when we get there.

    The run will be in an "L" shape running out from the coop and back behind the shed/coop as well. The area that comes out from the coop will be 12'x25', minus the 4'x7' that my water well house takes up in the corner. The other leg will be 35'x10'. We are going to use some 6' tall chain link fencing that we have with the hardware cloth around the bottom to keep snakes out. Here is a photo I worked up in google sketch. All questions, comments, thoughts, concerns and suggestions are welcome. Remember, I am an extreme newbie to raising chickens, so let me know what you think!


    [​IMG]
     
  8. F106A

    F106A Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Obviously, others have given you some really good info, but by first thought when I read the subject title was, "Bigger than whatever you planned!" [​IMG]

    Looks like you have a good plan!
     
  9. KDK1

    KDK1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Everything looks well planned except you'll need to cover the run.
     
  10. Arkantex

    Arkantex Chillin' With My Peeps

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    KDK1, I was wondering about that but forgot to ask about it. I have seen a few runs on here that weren't covered and my friend who got us thinking about getting chickens doesn't have her's covered. Is it a must you think?
     

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