How many compartments are needed for 20 hens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RuidosoBill, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. RuidosoBill

    RuidosoBill New Egg

    Feb 26, 2012
    We are new and are going to build our first hen house. We are starting with 20 chicks. We were thinking a 2 unit device. One: the hen house for nights and bad weather, where they could stay inside and be protected. This would be more permanent. then - Two: a tractor yard, we could move it with the polaris. with one end covered to keep out the elements.

    How many laying spaces do you need for 20 hens? How big does each space need to be for big chickens, like Rhode Island Reds. Would stacking plastic storage containers inverted work, cut some holes for ventilation, easy to clean, etc. ??? 12 x 12 x 12 ??? or 15x15x15 or bigger??

    How wide are the perches, 2x2 or smaller? Let me say, Thank you. We are still researching but time is drawing near for some decisions.
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Full sized birds, and I"ve some larger hens, absolutely need 16x16. Some of the smaller breeds don't mind, but the larger hens like BR, BA, BO, etc really need the space. With 20 hens, 4 or 5 nesting boxes will be plenty and even then, they'll have a few they never use.

    Roosts can simply be natural tree branches of 3" diameter. I often use a 2x3, flat side up. I do "knock the edges" off the lumber to make it more comfortable.. Have a foot per bird and you'll have plenty of length.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  3. mtnhens4

    mtnhens4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2011
    Western NC
    For roosts we use 2x4's with the edges rounded that way the chickens sit on their feet and don't have to balance on a smaller roost. 2x3 or 2x4's work great to avoid frostbite when it's cold. I also agree with Fred's Hens about the # of boxes you need, we have 4 large breed hens and we have 2 14x14x16 boxes and they seem fine with that but I've never seen them sharing a box[​IMG] but there is plenty of loud bauking when someone is taking their time in the box and it's needed by the next hen.
  4. RuidosoBill

    RuidosoBill New Egg

    Feb 26, 2012
    Thank you so much for the fast responses. So 20 hens need 4-5 boxes. 16 x16 x16. We were thinking of Rhode Island reds. Would that still be big enough?

    So the roosting bars, up off the ground 4 feet (?) 2x3 or 2 x4's with the edges rounded. one foot per bird.

    We live high in the mountains at 7500 feet. so cold winters and warm intense summer sun.

    So I believe that shade is essential for both the yard/run and for the main chicken house areas, as well as protection from the wind and cold (snow) .

    OK. Only one Rooster? for 20 hens or more.?
  5. Joe.G

    Joe.G Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2011
    Eastern NY
    My Boxes are 12X12X12 Mine seem to fit fine in them, I have 8 nesting boxes, I have more then I need But it was just easier for me to build and design it this way.

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