How many hens can I house?


7 Years
Apr 26, 2012
My husband recently completed my coop which is 10ft wide by 6ft long and 8ft high. We have a roost that runs 4ft along one wall, he built 4 nesting boxes along the south wall but directly on the floor, and 4 more along the west wall with 4 more built directly on top of them that are not closed on the top so they just use them as extra roosts. I'm not that pleased that he put them on the floor and wonder if I should have him change that? I'm also wondering about flock size. In March we purchased a straight run of Barred Rocks that turned out 4 pullets and 5 cockerels as well as 4 silkies (straight run not sure of sex), this month we added 6 Norwegian/RIR pullets, making my total flock 19. I would be interested in adding more hens and just trying to decide if I should keep all the roo's because they have all been raised together, or get rid of a few, and whether or not I really have enough space in the coop itself. Also, our flock free ranges all day on 3 acres so there is access to tons of outdoor space all day long. So then the question would be how to pick the one or two roo's to keep if I don't have enough space for more hens or how many more hens could I add to this flock with my coop size?
Any advice as to flock size and coop construction or alteration is much appreciated!!
Thanks, Newbie chicken lover!!!
I found that two roosters with four hens resulted in over mating the hens. The extra rooster is chilling in another city now. Much quieter, now. The hens seem less tense.

I certainly wouldn't worry about nest boxes on the floor, or nest boxes without tops. Both are common ways of addressing the issue. Chickens seem to prefer to be able to switch around -- or one may prefer with top, without top, up high, down low, etc.

If you ever have a chicken with a sore leg, you'll be glad there's a low nest available. They're also great for mama hens raising chicks, the one time I let them sleep in nest boxes. I wouldn't let them sleep in those top boxes -- can you close them off at night? Or -- 8 nests is plenty for 15 or 16 hens; you figure one nest to four hens, and even then, they won't use them all.

Post #8 in this thread is a wonderful writeup on space. There are so many things to take into consideration -- climate, shade, outdoor space, snow days, and lots more.
Over crowding can result in decreased production; smellier coops, etc. Too many roosters is a real problem. I am experiencing it first hand. The Hens are over mated, and now bare backed, and egg production is down. THere is a general rule of thumb 4 sq ft per bird in the coop; less than this has problems different than when it is more than this.

Having several acres is nice to have, but unless you move their coop around they will limit themselves to an area around their coop by about 100 feet. Only a few chickens wander beyond that. My marans go 250 feet and my SS and BO travel 150' Most stay close even if they are hungry and chase me looking for food when there are 15 acres of woods and grass to search for food. Of course I give in and put out a few pounds of feed. Is a mobile coop possible even if only 6 months of the year? To free range and then lock them up for safety.

I do overload my coop because mine do get to free range all day. THe floor needs constant attention to keep the odors to a minimum.

I am working at reducing the number of roosters.

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