How many chickens in this space?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Welshies, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. Welshies

    Welshies Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    So I have a 4' tall coop (formerly a duck coop, in the process of changing to a chicken coop). It is divided in 2 right now, I am modifying it to make:

    6'3'' by 8'6'' floor space, 4' tall in the lowest part, 4'6'' tall in the highest part.

    They will be locked in at night, and have access to a 400sqft run during the day made of grass, and partially shaded/wind protected.

    How many chickens can I fit MAXIMUM?
    I am asking simply to figure out what my maximum is, NOT what I actually will be raising in this space...
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Well, it depends on your take on good husbandry -- commercial standards would dictate allowing a space approximately the size of a piece of paper per bird while the more commonly accepted minimum for backyard flocks is 4 square feet per bird inside and 10 square feet outside. You also have to deduct the space occupied by any feed/water dispensers that will be in the area -- so placing them outside the coop is a way to save space inside. Further, the use of poop boards to prevent waste from falling down to the floor under any roosting areas can help to further maximize the occupiable floor space. Given your location it is likely there will be considerable number of days where the birds opt to stay in more than out and this will make having enough interior space that much more of an issue - in areas where the reverse is true of the climate you can get away with less space per bird inside. If the run is covered, or at least partially covered, or configured in a way to provide additional shelter space the birds will make use of this can stretch the useable space inside.

    Your coop has about 53.125 square feet of floor space - if you allow 4 square feet per bird and have no space occupied by other items you re looking at a 13 bird capacity. If you choose to use a different formula of space per bird that will change the totals.

    There is no one magic right/wrong answer to this -- Ridgerunner has a great post about it, though
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
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  3. minihorse927

    minihorse927 Whipper snapper

    Nov 3, 2010
    Chickens need 10 sq ft per bird if they are going to be locked up all the time. If they have access to the outside then you can go 2 to 4 sqft per bird for sleeping/laying only. Your limiting factor here will be your coop. I personally use 4sqft for roosting and 10 for outside runs. So technically your run is big enough for 40 birds while your coop would hold 14 at 4 sq ft per bird. (I did round up coop size a few inches for quick figuring)
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  4. Welshies

    Welshies Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    Thank you. The run is part of a horse (3-sided) shelter so it is about 50% covered, and wind-protected.

    I wasn't planning on locking them up all the time. However, sometimes we are away for a couple days, so occasionally they would have to be locked up for more than overnight. During winter i'd have less, to maximize space efficiency, when they'll be locked up more, and during summer, I'd have more chickens, because I wouldn't need as much space, most likely.

    I did have 6 ducks in it before, and it was divided, so an outdoor area of 4'x6' and an indoor area of 4'x6', and they were very happy- these were 7-9lb ducks. I've heard chickens cope better with confinement or close quarters, though, so I wasn't entirely sure.
    ALSO- I only plan on keeping 1 rooster for my flock, if this makes a difference.

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