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How big does the coop need to be

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bock, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am either getting 15 or 25 medium-large breed chicks this Spring, so I will have a total of either 22 or 32. I need to build them a bigger coop to lay their eggs in and roost in at night. They will free range on 4 acres during the day. Right now I have a 100 sq/ft shed and a 200 sq/ft unfinished horse shelter. The shed only needs a door and a window cut, nest boxes added, and perches. The horse shelter needs 2 walls added, nest boxes, and perched. Are either one of these big enough for all of the chickens, and if so, which one should I use? The horse shelter would give them more space, but it would cost a lot more to finish. The shed would be pretty much cost-free, but it might not be big enough. Thanks for the suggestions! [​IMG]
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    As long as they are really able to free range every day and will not be locked in there for any extended period of time, the smaller one will work well. The normal recommendation on this site is 4 square feet per bird with 10 square feet in the run, but you exceed the run limits by plenty. Just don't leve them locked in there very late in the mornings.
     
  3. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, good! That will make things a lot easier. [​IMG]
     
  4. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, their has been a slight miscalculation. I just measured the shed, and it is actuality 8 by 8 feet, instead of the guestimated 10 by 10 feet. I was actually pretty close on the horse shelter though, it is 19 by 8 feet. So, is 64 feet too small then?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You just made it a little harder. If all you use it for is for a safe place to lock them up at night with roosts and nest boxes, you can feed and water outside, and you never leave them locked in for any length of time once the sun comes up, yes you will probably be OK. But if you leave them locked in there for any length of time when they are awake, you could have serious trouble. You will also need to watch the poop management. That many chickens can make a lot of poop.

    I think one problem may come in with getting them to recognize the coop as home since it can be difficult to lock that many in there long enough for them to think of it as home. I'd suggest moving them to the coop while they are pretty small so you can lock the new ones in there while they don't need so much room.

    I think it is doable, but there will be some challenges.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you want to use the smaller structure, I would suggest adding a modest size but VERY SECURE, preferably roofed, run. Even if you still close the popdoor at night (which would be smart), it allows you to keep the chickens confined for any various purposes while not crowding them so severely. And if you can, if at all possible, roof this run as well, then on yucky winter days it will also relieve weather-related crowding.

    Personally I would go with the horse shelter though. When you figure in the costs of building an addition/run for the smaller structure, the costs may not be as different as you had been thinking, maybe even not in the *direction* you had been thinking.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    32 chickens in a 8x8 shed is unhealthy, even if it's only at night. Regardless if you have a secure, larger, covered run attached , all the hens will head into the shed at dusk. You could have wall to wall roosts for them all to sleep on, and probably they would all head for the roosts right away, so floor space wouldn't be the only issue, but the moisture from their breathing, and droppings, in the colder weather would be pretty bad. You may even have to resort to an exhaust fan.
    In the morning they would need direct, uncontrolled access to the outer run, so they could get out of the shed and spread out, as they wake up. This would mean extra costs in making a covered secure outer run for them.

    Using the larger space would mean that you could let them out first thing at dawn, straight into the yard, rather than a secured outer run. That would save you money right there. The chicken door in the larger coop could be closed at night for security. At least in a well vented 8x19 space, they wouldn't be overcrowded, and moisture would not be as bad. I would use the larger space, even if you have to forgo getting the chickens until you can afford to fix it up.

    It still would be a good idea to have a covered outside area, that the hens could hide under if the weather was poor during the day..

    Just my thoughts..[​IMG]
     
  8. bufforp89

    bufforp89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Chenango Forks NY
    I have had 20-25 chickens in a 8x8 area in my chicken barn [​IMG] It worked fine, I am very dilagent about letting all of my birds out early, as soon as there is light and I cleaned the poop boards daily. I also have plenty of vents and had a small fan backwards in a window to suck out the dust.....keep in mind this was through the spring/summer and not durring cold weather. If they were stuck in there longer then just over night it wouldnt have worked as well.

    If I were in your shoes I would use the 8x8 for the coop and turn the unfinished stall into a permanent predator safe run that they had access to 24/7 so that they can spread out.....more then likley though I would turn them both into coops and get 50 chickens!
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I would definitely go with the horse shelter. If problems should start in the smaller area, it could lead to disaster; just not worth the gamble to me.
     
  10. pontoosuc

    pontoosuc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I suppose you could reconsider the number of birds and just plan on getting fewer.

    (though we all know how chicken math works around here!)[​IMG]
     

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