How many chickens in my run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by comitdust, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. comitdust

    comitdust Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 7 1/2 wide by 12 1/2 long coop it's 12 feet hight, the hen house is in there also it's three feet off the ground and is a 4x4 with 3 nesting boxes. How many chickens can I keep in this space?
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    The run is big enough for about 9. The coop is only big enough for 4 though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  3. worms7

    worms7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Will a 5 ft x 4 ft coop be ok for
    10 birds if i free range
    Cheers
     
  4. Husker Hens

    Husker Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    The MINIMUM sq ft/bird number you typically see thrown around is 4 in the coop and 10 in the run. If you're free ranging then no worries on the second, but your 5X4 coop would limit you to 5 birds. Now there's tons of articles and forums on BYC as to where these numbers come from and different opinions. I free range my chickens as well, but I don't all day everyday. Sometimes I sleep in, sometimes I have plans at night, when they first starting laying I locked them in the coop in order to teach them that the nesting boxes are where eggs go. My coop is about 8X10 and I only have 5 chickens, but it works out good when I need to keep them in there longer than ideal. The more birds you have the more you can work on that ratio... for example one chicken in 4sq ft is obviously tight, but 30 in 120sqft is plenty of room. Chickens tend to slam themselves together especially on roosts and things but they need the space to run if they need to. I think 20sgft is really pushing it for 10 chickens, but possibly doable if they truly have access to free range from sun up to sun down every single day and the only thing in their coop is roosts and 3 or 4 nesting boxes.
     
  5. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That will be kinda cramped ... what breed of birds?

    They give off quite a bit of heat too, where abouts do you live?
     
  6. Husker Hens

    Husker Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good point... obviously bantams and smaller breeds take less room.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    When planning how big a coop to build, you need to take into consideration your region's weather. Is the coop going to be their only shelter? Do you get heavy rains or lots of snow? Is the run going to be covered? How often are you planning to free range? What will you do if a predator decides to stake out your property and take birds during the day? Will you end up having to confine them to the run?
    Overcrowding stress needs to be taken seriously. Once behaviors caused by overcrowding start, they can be extremely difficult to stop. It's always best to avoid the problem entirely.
    Generally, you need at least 4 sq ft per medium sized breed, like Leghorns, in the coop. Larger, dual purpose breeds are bigger, and therefore, require more room. You need a minimum of 10 sq ft per medium sized bird in the run. Again, larger breeds need more.
     
  8. worms7

    worms7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So the coops they sell and they say 10 bird at 5ftx4ft are no good
    Then
    Cheers
     
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Ugh lol... They make these ridiculously small coops and runs and market them saying that the 2 sq ft per bird is OK.... It NOT.


    I'm probably just grumpy from getting up too early lol but seriously I get kinda irked at the companies that sell that stuff and make a person think that 4 birds could possibly be HAPPY in 8 sq ft of space!

    :p

    2 sq ft per bird works great if you have 100 broilers or layers crammed in a barn for production. For actual LIVING birds, ones that WE like to coddle and gather eggs from, 4 sq ft us much better.

    I like to think if it like city vs country. Let's cram 50 people in an apartment building, then take those same 50 people and put them in the 'burbs, with yards and gardens and see how they thrive lol ;) ya dig? :D

    Summer, sure, less space isn't an issue because everybody us out and about, but just a week into cold weather, rain, snow, etc. Spending a week or more crammed in a coop with a stinky broodmate starts to get in the nerves and they start picking on each other and all sorts of problems can crop up with pests and odors etc.

    As much space as possible is always best.

    Assume that whatever prebuilt coop purchased us actually going to house HALF the amount of birds the manufacturer suggests :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  10. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Correct.

    Unless ... Sometimes ... Maybe ... IF ... They are the smallest of bantams, AND the water, food and nesting boxes are NOT in this space ... AND they have a run of at least 20 square feet per chicken, AND you get up EVERY MORNING at the crack of dawn, rain, shine or WORSE and let them out of their tiny coop, EVEN ON YOUR DAY OFF, and if you go on vacation ... AND even if your looking at a predator in your back yard ... Even then ... You may still have grumpy chickens that pick on each other, sometimes to their death!

    Four feet is considered a MINIMUM (I prefer 5-6) for a medium sized chicken, but if they are in their for long periods of time they can get nasty mean with each other, AND stop laying eggs too!

    Also just so you know "Chicken/hen wire mesh", is only designed to keep chickens in ... Not predators OUT!

    Too many times we see people come here AFTER they have their tiny coop, and too many chickens, asking why they have problems ... It is good that you are asking in advance!

    Here is a good explaination of needed space ... https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
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