How Big Should A Chicken PEN For 4 Be?

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,549
26,957
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
That 4 square ft per bird (0.37 Square Meters) you'll only read on this BYC site.

Actually, the numbers are very old and based in agricultural practice from before powered ventilation was available. This is a quote from an article I'm writing:
Where do these numbers come from?
Agricultural science has a very long history, though it wasn't necessarily applied to chickens until the early 20th century. The suggestion of 4-5 feet of floor space in the coop was made at least as far back as Poultry For the Farm and Home, a guide published by International Harvester's Agricultural Extension in 1921 with the goal of improving egg productivity by getting at least 100 eggs per hen per year from flocks of Leghorns. (Link to download .pdf here).​
We can say that these numbers represent time-tested guidelines developed over at least a century by both scientific study and the practical experience of millions of chicken owners. They are, however, guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules. I suggest that you read this article to help understand why these numbers are only a starting point. Additionally, we need to keep in mind that these numbers generally represent minimums and that some situations might call for significantly more space.​

Here in the Steamy Southeast, I find that I need at least double or possibly triple the ventilation to keep my coop under 100F when the temperatures are over 90F unless I can provide deep shade.
 

-Flash-

Crowing
Sep 15, 2021
1,334
3,397
326
NSW, Australia
I must admit, I feel it's down to how happy you want your chickens to be. Mine has a big run and I'm going to make it even bigger and my chickens get the zoomies they are so happy. The happier they are the happier I am and the more pleasure I get from having them. :)
Yeah, I would turn my whole yard in a big chicken pen... but I can't :(
So I'll just have to settle for as big as I can!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,843
35,723
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
So would 5 meters long and 1.5 wide be a good size? For the pen, not the coop.
If you have space for it, go wider. 1.5 meters is just about 5', which is about the minimum space 2 chickens that don't get along need to pass by one another without sparking conflict/a chase.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
16,027
32,634
861
South-Eastern Montana
Depends on the size of the chickens and their temperaments. I keep my groups in all sorts of sized pens, but also am always checking them for any signs someone is starting to get cranky with their space.

The general rules are just that. General, not specific. Unfortunately not every bird will react to the same space as each other.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,549
26,957
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
So would 5 meters long and 1.5 wide be a good size? For the pen, not the coop.

If you have space for it, go wider. 1.5 meters is just about 5', which is about the minimum space 2 chickens that don't get along need to pass by one another without sparking conflict/a chase.

That is exactly what I was going to recommend. If you can make the run more square it's better than a long, narrow run where a bully can dominate a chokepoint.

Also, take into account the standard dimensions of building products.

Here in the US we build in multiples of 4 feet because that's the way lumber comes -- 8 feet, 12 feet, etc. -- with sheet goods always 4x8.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom