How big should my coop be?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Scooter&Suzie, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2011
    I hope I put this in the right spot. I want to have a bigger chicken coop, as I have a 3'X3', with a run, but I think that is too small, for when my chickens grow older. I ordered 6 female chicks in the mail. I have two Red Stars(red sex link, cinnamon queen, golden buff... what ever you call them), two Rhode Island Red, one Barred Plymouth Rock, and one Partrige Plymouth rock. How big a coop should they have, they would have a large run, so the coop would just be to sleep in. Can you also tell me how big the run should be? I want the min, for a covered run, and then add to the min, and make a open run that I can go in, and play with the chickens. In the minimum run, I would use a tarp, and strap it to the coop, so they can be outside, but have shealtler from rain, snow, wind, and sun. I would only do that to part of the minimum though.

    Please give me your thoughts. I would like as small as I can for the coop, as I don't wish to spend $1000 on a coop. I might have to wait till Christmas, but I am hoping that we can squeeze by. I will try to make to coop bigger, if I can. The main things I am looking into for the coop is protection from raccons (had a problem with my one coop, a raccoon got my 2 bantams), so I won't get a cheep one with poor protection. I also want one with enough space. I was thinking maybe a 4' by 5' coop, but give me your thoughts.


    p.s. If you need more info, just ask!

    EDIT: I live in East South PA. The winters aren't too bad. Some times we don't even get good enough snow to play in!
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  2. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    Hi there,

    the general rule of thumb is between 4 sq ft in the coop and 10 sq ft per bird in the run. You can probably get by with 2 or 3 sq ft in the coop if you don't leave them in there all the time- but unless you are free ranging you will want a big run for them- 6'x10'. Depending where you live you may want to insulate the coop- I have a very simple coop because it never gets very cold here in SD- you can see my coop on my BYC page. There are lots and lots of great coops in the BYC coop section too if you are looking for ideas. [​IMG]
  3. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    3x3? I was told mine was to small and it's 5x6 and I have now 5 chickens ( male went to a new home) 6 chickens in a 3x3 would be way to small. Next year I'm building a new one, they deserve room to grow and move and yours sounds
    Like they would not have enough room to do anything but crowd on a roost if you have enough room for a roost for 6 . Now winter, they will be penned up more, colder days, really, I would say at least 6x 6
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  4. swmalone

    swmalone Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    Northern Utah
    My understanding was a minimum of 2-4 square feet of coop space per bird and about double that in run space. Of course the more space you can have the better, especially in the run area. I have a tiny yard so I have a total of about 16 square feet of coop space for 3 birds, that includes two egg boxes. I have about 32 square feet of run space, but I try to let them out and run in the yard for a bit each day.
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It depends what your climate is like. They will do better with a good deal more than 4 sq ft in the coop if your are far enough north for them to be snowed in and inside the coop all day for days or weeks at a time. If you are in the south, 2 sq ft could be enough if it is well arranged and the run is large enough -- and a three sided coop with attached run would really be more suitable down here.
  6. billfields

    billfields Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2009
    East Tennessee

    You need at least 3 sq ft per chicken so if you have 6 chickens, at least 18 sg feet so 4x5 coop is 20 sq ft so just about right. You don't have to spend a lot of money on a coop, do a search on here for pallet coops (made from wooden shipping pallets which you can often get free) or get your hands on a copy of Building Chicken Coops for Dummies which will give you lots of plans and ideas. Also look at the coop section here. literally hundreds of pictures of different coops

    As for your run it should really have about 10 ft outside space per chicken so 60 sq ft. That's not as big as it sounds , about 6x10. If you use 4 ft welded wire a roll will probably cost you about $30.

    And I think it's great that you're willing to work and save your money for your coop!! I be if you're look around you can find a way to build it for under $15....Habitat for Humanity stores are a great place to look for really low cost building materials. I got the windows for my coop there fro $2.50 each and the door for $4.00.

    Good Luck! [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  7. indiandy

    indiandy New Egg

    Oct 21, 2013
    I have 13 chickens(it is my first flock and they are about 6-7 weeks old). I built a 9x5 addition onto my shed out of scrap lumber that I literally got free and steel barn siding from menards that was about $125. It has a window on one side (free) and the door is an old storm door that came from a garage sale for $2. If you've got a good imagination and a watchful eye you can build a pretty good coop for a fraction of the $1000 you don't want to spend. My coop is 9' long by 5' wide by 6' high.
  8. VanCs

    VanCs New Egg

    Apr 22, 2014
    When figuring square footage for a coop, does that include extra shelf space?

    What I mean is I have a 6x6 coop. I have 6 roosting boxes up off the floor, a "ladder" with 6 roosting spots, There is a 1' ledge all the way around the edge which they use to access the 6 nesting boxes. Do the roosting spots, nesting, boxes, shelf and roosting boxes count as extra square footage?

    I have 8- 4 week old chicks. I have been keeping them in a large wire dog crate with cardboard lining. They seems to enjoy each others company, but today I came home from work to find the largest one missing all the down and feathers off the back of his neck. It is not bloody but is very pink. I am afraid they are getting too crowded. So I set up a second smaller crate and put the 4 bantams in it and kept the 4 pullets in the larger crate.

    I live in Nebraska and my chickens will experience winter days or weeks when they wont get much outdoor time. I want to make sure they have extra space. Would you count my coop as 36 square feet or would you add in the 37 extra feet in the ledge and roosts etc?

    Also, I have a neighborhood cat that roams free. If I cover the run with shade cloth, do you think that will be enough to keep the cat out?

  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    No the shelves don't count from my experience. They will stand on them some, but there are times when they are all standing on the floor, especially when there is snow on the ground. You will want them to have plenty of space when that happens so they don't start getting pecky and bored with each other.

    Shade cloth should keep the cat out.

    Your coop will be plenty big for your 8 chickens, but you may want to give them a little outdoor space protected from the snow as well, to give them an out to alleviate boredom. You can provide a roofed area where you can put up some sheet plastic or tarp on the sides to keep the snow out (a sunroom). Just a thought...we don't get much snow here but I have seen what others have done in pics on BYC where they get a lot of snow.

    In other words, the more space the better!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  10. kacklinghen

    kacklinghen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2014
    [​IMG] 20 pullets and 3 hens (not 30, first one was typo)
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014

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