How many chickens would be an appropriate maximum amount in a 8x12' coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Blueeyez, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Blueeyez

    Blueeyez Just Hatched

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    Nov 19, 2016
    Like the title says, I am curious the maximum amount of chickens to comfortably live in a 8x12' coop with a large run and free range on a couple Acres during the day when I can keep an eye on them. But, they will be locked up in the coop at night. Also, how many nesting boxes would be appropriate? Thanks!
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Twenty-four. But there's a lot more to it than just counting up square footage.

    Perches must be long enough to accommodate a chicken every sixteen inches or so. Some say as little as one foot of roosting space, but chickens use more than that to flap their wings in getting up there.

    More important is run space. Where chickens are to spend active daytime hours, they need 10 square feet each or ideally, more. If you are in a climate zone where you free range during the summer but the winters are so harsh the chickens need to be cooped up, then your coop needs to be much larger than four square feet per chicken.

    I have five nest boxes for twenty-three hens. But they use mostly two or three at the most. Numerous nest boxes are as useless as all those check-outs in a super market that never seem ever to all get used.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I would choose to run my coop on the lean side of 4 s.f./bird, meaning, that in that coop, I'd rather keep the flock size at 12 - 16 instead of the 24 birds that would max the coop out. This allows extra room for "behavioral" issues, allows room for a roo. IMO, when you add a roo to the mix, you automatically need more room. This also allows you to partition off part of the coop to allow for integration, raising chicks in the coop, management of a broody. In the summer, your stocking density can be a bit higher. Most people thin the herd as winter approaches, and have a higher density in the spring/summer b/c they are raising the next generation of chicks, while maximizing the productivity of the older layers before they shut down in late fall. In my 12 x 10, I keep 16 - 25 birds through the winter. Spring and summer, I have about 25 birds, but have the benefit of having an other coop that meets all of my chick and grow out needs. Big coop has built in raised broody box, 6 nest boxes, 20 l.f. of perch.

    People often overlook vertical space. By allowing lots of ceiling height, that allows you to increase your floor space by incorporating a platform, or a raised broody/chick cage. It also allows plenty of deep litter.

    Standard recommendation is 1 nest box/4-5 hens, though, no matter how many boxes you have, they will choose a favorite, and fight over it, all pile into the box at the same time, and stand outside the favorite box yelling until the occupant vacates it. Nest boxes should be placed lower than the perches. Perches should be placed 2' or more below the ceiling.
     
  4. Blueeyez

    Blueeyez Just Hatched

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    Nov 19, 2016
    We're in Texas, so the winners are mild and they will be able to go outside every day year round. We haven't actually built the run yet, but have plenty of room so that will be no problem. But we are planning on letting them roam all of our couple Acres during the day when we can keep an eye on them, the whole property is already fenced. But of course we want a large run also for when we can keep an eye on them!
     

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