How many can I get?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tiffanyh, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    OKay- I have a coop question. I think I know the answer to it but I wanted to get all of your respected opinions.

    My coop is a large converted dog house, ~5'x3'. I have an attached dog run that is 6'x8'. Right now I have 4 standards in it. So I have ~50ish sq ft of space (with coop and run) with roosts and ladders for upward movement. They go into the coop at night and to lay but spend the rest of the day in the run--no matter what the weather, so they are NEVER left in the coop more than overnight. They also free range in the evenings after I am home and weekend. If I do the math, a 50ish sq foot space allows me to have 12+ chickens in this space???? Really??? Assuming of course I allow 4sq ft/chicken.

    Now, I have bantam chickens coming and I am building a second run attached to this one that will be 12'X3', giving me about 36 sq ft. I will also attach a house for them. I have read that bantams only need 2sq ft/chicken. Does this mean I could put 18 chickens in here??? Of course, assuming the same conditions: free ranging and no coop confinement.

    I ask not because I am rushing off to do this, but because I want to know my limit. Do you have these kind of numbers for your chicks and are they happy? I want to be able to "feed my addiction" in the future so I want to know what I have to work with. As I said, they do free range at least a couple hours a day. I have had 6 in original pen at one time, and everyone seems happy.

    If I can figure out how, I will attach a picture....

    Thanks everyone. [​IMG]
  2. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    [​IMG] Ok, you crack me up... it looks like you're a lot like me. Once I make a post, I'm checking it every 5 minutes and can't wait for a reply.

    That said, I'm certainly no expert on this, but I'll try and pass along what I've learned from everyone else. Unless I'm mistaken, I think that the 4 sq ft applies to the coop space, not the run. And if your hens are bound to be outside even in inclement weather, then you might be able to get away with less than the 4 sq ft per bird.

    As far as the run, the "ideal" that I've heard about is 10 sq feet per standard chicken. Now, since yours are free ranging it a bit, then you could probably reduce that some, but I'm not sure how much.

    With regard to the banties, I've got no idea.

    After watching your flock, you've obviously got an idea about what is working for you. But perhaps be prepared to grow the coop and/or run if necessary when you add more chickens; others have recommended watching for signs of stress, including pecking each other, pulling out feathers, etc. It might be worthwhile to have an "emergency" plan in mind if you were to notice these signs: where could you put some of the chickens until your new/added coop or run is built?

    Hope this helps it bit. If nothing else, at least you now have one reply!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007
  3. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    The 4 sq ft is for the coop only. However, with a run and having them free-range some, you can get away with 3 sq ft per bird in the coop. So your dog house is 15 sq ft so you can handle 5 hens. The run should provide the birds with 10 sq ft so you would need 50 sq ft of run space so you are OK.
  4. livestock101

    livestock101 In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2007
    You want to have as much space as possible in the run. Your main concerns with space need to be addressed in the hen house itself. That's where your 4 square foot per heavy breed and 2 square foot per bantam breed are. The square footage recommendation is based on when a chicken can't or won't go outside for whatever reason. Does that make sense? The square footage does not include the run. It's based ONLY on the coop.

    What kind of climate are you in? If if it's year round great weather and your birds ONLY go into the coop to roost and lay eggs, you can get away with less space in the coop, assuming you can provide enough space for each chicken to roost and you provide enough nest boxes. However, if your in an area that gets bad weather, it's recommended at the bare minimum that you allow 4 sq feet (heavy) and 2 sq feet (bantam) in the coop itself.
  5. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Okay--we are in CT and although it gets cold, they happily go out all winter long. So, I cant have to many more standards in that run and only a few bantams in the other....I do have a back up space, they could stay with my goats, I have plenty of room for a coop up with my goats on a hill that overlooks the house, but I wont be able to watch them from my house where the goats are...and that is half the fun of having them. Therefore, I am limited on space due to where in the yard I want to house them.

    Thanks for the feedback. Ill watch close and keep thinning out as I need to, so far they are extremely happy and spoiled chickens--just how I want it!

    EDIT: You know, despite having plenty of room in the coop--they all huddle in one spot together everynight!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007

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