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How many hens for a 4x6 coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lynseystone, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. lynseystone

    lynseystone Hatching

    Aug 19, 2013
    Just wondering how many hens could fit comfortably in a coop that is 4x6 with a much larger outside run IF they will mostly be free ranging and just going inside at night? This is something I am confused about since I have seen some 4x4 pre-fabricated coops that claim to house 4-5 hens? (And 4x4 was the entire thing - coop and run.)

    How big is your coop and how many birds do you have?

    Thanks for any input!

  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    4 X 6= 24 / 4 = 6
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  3. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    The general rule of thumb is 4 square feet of space per bird INSIDE the coop, so Bear Foot Farm's post above would reflect that rule of thumb that a 4X6 run will comfortably house 6 chickens. That said, I do believe that this, like any rule of thumb, is an estimate or general rule rather than something carved in stone. There are variables that may make your coop comfortable for more and there are variables that might make it suitable for less.

    Some of those variables are because of the size of the run and the amount of time the hens are confined to the coop. An environment where there is harsh weather or deep snow that might confine the hens to the coop for a long period of time in the winter should be more generously sized per hen. A milder climate and/or generous, covered run where the hens have lots of room to move might let you have less coop space per hen. While floor space is the usual measurement used to estimate space, I have got to believe that a coop that is only 3 feet high offers less space than one six feet high with multiple roosts.

    The type, size and temperament of your hens plays a role on how many hens you can comfortably house in a 4X6 run as well. My little Easter Egger hen is about half the size of my Jersey Giant. If I had only one or the other, I'd probably have to adjust my coop capacity accordingly. Also, some breeds accept confinement better than others. Some breeds are more aggressive than others and probably need more space per bird.

    I have a 4X8' coop. It is about 5.5' high and has a very generous run. Plus my hens get to free range for about an hour a day. I started with 8 hens of 4 different "heavy breed" varieties. They were raised together and did just fine in the coop...no feather pulling or obvious hen-pecking. I lost one to a predator and added two Easter Eggers when the original birds were about 9 months old bringing the total to 9. The following year I lost another to an unknown illness and a third to sour crop.

    This spring I purchased 5 new chicks because my hens had almost entirely stopped laying. I had to cull one of my adult hens because she was an egg eater and once she was gone, my egg production seemed to go back up again. So now I have 11 adult hens in a coop that really should house 8. I have started to see some bullying of the two new Austrolorps to the two new Speckled Sussex. Is this because I have too many chickens in the coop for everyone's comfort or because Austrolorps are mean chickens? I don't know, but either way, I think I'm going to find a new home for the Austrolorps, because I think it could be a combination of both factors.

    I'm guessing that when I've dropped the number from 11 to 9, harmony will be restored.

    My advice to you is to limit yourself to 6 chickens and see how it goes.

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