How BIG is your coop?

nursesusanb

In the Brooder
May 9, 2015
61
0
39
Maine
i have a lovely new 4x8 coop not including the nesting boxes on both ends. I plan on putting my 8 chicks in there once feathered. i keep reading about folks getting addicted to buying chickens and ending up with 20+ before they know it. Do you keep building bigger coops, adding on other coops, or are some of you cramming more in the coops than the recommended 4 sq ft per bird? How big is your coop if you have over 20 birds? Just curious, not judgmental. New to chickens.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
32,970
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St. Louis, MO
I just keep adding buildings.
It adds time to daily chores but I wouldn't do it any other way. I have housing options for quarantining new, ill or injured birds, breeding pairs and trios, broody hens, etc..
I started with an 8X12 storage shed housing 10 pullets while I built their 6X8 coop (a smaller replica of the original gambrel roof shed). Then added a chicken tractor. Then added 26 meat birds and a week later 52 various breeds I brooded in the original shed. Built a temporary grow out pen for the meaties. Built a long, low, narrow roost house for the others. That one is 3'X25'. Then I built a hexagon breeding house with 5 units for anywhere from pairs to 8 birds.
Then a more permanent meatie grow out house.
The original building is now the brooder house.

Growing up we had a large hen house for about 100 leghorns but I never bred birds then. That building was about 25X20 and had 2 rooms. No pen since they free ranged in an orchard.
 

nursesusanb

In the Brooder
May 9, 2015
61
0
39
Maine
I was kind of afraid to hear that. I better keep my chick purchasing to a minimum so the husband doesn't spend all summer building coops
wink.png
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,042
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
i have a lovely new 4x8 coop not including the nesting boxes on both ends. I plan on putting my 8 chicks in there once feathered. i keep reading about folks getting addicted to buying chickens and ending up with 20+ before they know it. Do you keep building bigger coops, adding on other coops, or are some of you cramming more in the coops than the recommended 4 sq ft per bird? How big is your coop if you have over 20 birds? Just curious, not judgmental. New to chickens.

Currently the coop is 14x6 - it is housing 17 birds. I have 5 in a grow out setup, and will be selling 2-5 birds this fall from my older flock...bringing the total to 17-20 In the spring I'll bring more new birds into the grow out pen and sell more of the older birds in the fall - it will be a bigger change rate that time, likely in the 10+ range depending on how many birds I end up adding and who is/isn't producing at the time.
I have the option of expanding fairly easily because the coop is occupying the old feed/tack room of our barn - we are in the process of reducing our horses so that frees up space that can be tapped into as easily as taking out part of a wall to change how much is dedicated to horses and how much to chickens.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,318
20,217
907
Southeast Louisiana
Chicken math is a real issue for a lot of people. It is really easy for the numbers to grow tremendously. A lot of that depends on your circumstances, personality, and goals. Why are you keeping chickens to start with? Buying chickens or hatching can be addicting. The desire for different breeds can hit pretty hard.

I keep my basic laying breeding flock at 7 or 8 hens and one rooster. For me it’s not real hard. But my goal is more for meat than eggs or pets. I do play with genetics some. It’s not unusual for me to have over 40 chickens at one time in season, most small and growing into butcher size. Right now I have 27 and will be giving a broody hen a dozen eggs in a couple of days.

My basic coop is 8’ x 12’ but I have a 3’ x 6’ brooder built into that. When chicks are not in it that brooder makes a great place to isolate a chicken if I need to. It’s come on handy many times for isolating an injured chicken, as a broody buster, or isolating a rooster for breeding purposes. Having some place ready to go can come in really handy.

I have a 4’x8’ grow out coop for chicks that I incubated and brooded myself. I’ve kept as many as 21 in that, but the numbers start dropping at about 12 weeks as I integrate pullets to the main flock and a little later start processing cockerels. I also have another 4’ x 8’ coop section that is just sitting out on my run that I occasionally use. I have a lot of built-in flexibility that really helps.

All these coops have interconnected “runs” associated with them. Portions can be isolated or they can all be open so it is one big run.

Space is not just about coops and coop size. Space is about coops, runs, and everything available to them when it is needed. You might follow the link in my signature to get my thoughts on space. I don’t give you any magic numbers like 4 square feet per chicken. I try to give you things to think about. The 4 in the coop and 10 in the run is just a general guideline to get you started. Some people get by with less quite well, some need a lot more. There are just too many variables in climate, goals, management techniques, flock make-up, and many other things for any one magic number to work for every chicken on the planet. Don’t get hung up on numbers.

I advocate providing more space rather than less because I find I have fewer behavioral problems, I have more flexibility in dealing with problems when they arrive, and I have to work less hard if I provide extra space. There are still times I have less than 4 square feet per chicken in the coop but most of those are younger chickens that don’t take up as much space. I also advocate building in some flexibility by having a broody buster/isolation cage ready to go. Runs are a big part of my space too.

Welcome to the adventure, it’s a fun ride.
 

Wise Woman

Crowing
Apr 12, 2011
875
724
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My Cottage
Our current coop is inside a 15' x 10' shed. The chickens have one side and our mini goats have the other. So the actual "coop" section is 6' x 10'. We currently have 13 chickens, but had around 20 when we moved them in there. It was fine. They also have access to the goat's area as well as a 24' by 34' outside area. We have two communal nest boxes which are each 4' long and we have about 20' or so of roosts. Everyone seems to have plenty of room.

We are getting out of goats and have decided to build a new coop as the shed they now occupy could be put to much better use by my husband. We are restoring a 1946 mountain cabin, so a large workshop would be ideal. This summer we will start work on a new coop and it will be 8' x 8'. Their covered run will be 27' by 7' with a side area of about 4' x 8'. Around a dozen chickens works for us and our budget, so I will keep it at that. Since the run will be covered, they will have access to outside every day of the year. I could probably get away with a smaller coop, but I want to be able to clean it out easily and so we decided 8 x 8 was a decent size and would allow me to go in and out easily. HTH.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
32,970
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1,077
St. Louis, MO
And it is always possible to do additions to a building. I think that's how we ended up with a 2 room hen house forever ago.
Extra mini coops have their purpose though. And when you need one, it's nice not having to build anew on the spur of the moment.
 
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Tomhusker

Songster
10 Years
May 28, 2010
601
66
201
Carson, Iowa
Our coop will be a 10x16 shed. It should arrive next week, about the same time as our 45 chicks. There will be a 30'x50' run attached to it, plus free ranging, pending ground predator study.
 

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