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How many hens should I use for my coop???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WVBassFan, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. WVBassFan

    WVBassFan Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello all...I'm new to this so please bear with me :) ... I am in the process of building my coop...My limitations is my yard so this is as big as I can build it... the coop will be 48" x 76" and 48" tall with a sloped roof ... I have it off the ground and I plan to put the feed and water under it and a 2 foot high run 48" wide by 12 foot long... Hopefully explaining it well.... How many birds could this coop have? I don't want them crammed in but I would like as many eggs as I can... I plan to have all hens orphs,RIR, Americanas...etc...etc... The reason I am asking now is I will be building the nesting boxes and would like to know how many I should build... Thanks in advance for any information....
     
  2. Sounds like 4 or 5 with at set up.
     
  3. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't need as many nest boxes as you have hens. I have five hens, and they lay in a maximum of two nest boxes. (I actually have more than that, but they are ignored - the same two boxes are always used by all the hens).
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You are talking about a 4x6 coop that has a 4x12 ft. run. You can keep one chicken for that amount of coop space and it still have a comfortable life~if you can call that level of confinement comfortable. Unless you live where it never gets cold, you really can't count your run as "space" for chickens because when the cold or snow keeps them confined to the coop, you'll only having walking around room for 2-3 full size chickens~and they won't be able to do much walkin'~ and that's if they really get along.

    No more than 3 full size birds, max...if that...and 4-5 bantam size birds.

    Imagine you have to live, sleep, and poop in the smallest bathroom in your house...it may have room for two people to pass one another without touching. Then you can venture out into the small bedroom beside that bathroom during the day, but if it's really cold or raining hard or the snow is deep, you can't come out of the bathroom except for that small area right inside the door of it to eat and drink.

    Now, imagine how many people you could comfortably fit into that space with you and how many years you could live in that space with those people and still be comfortable, content and healthy.

    That's how you determine how much space your chickens should have to live. They need exercise, lots of air in their home and light...lots of light. Keep that in mind if you want them to be calm, not stressed and productive.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  5. [​IMG]

    I fit 8 healthy and happy hens in this 4X4 coop with a run attached. So I think you would be fine with 4 or 5 full sized chickens.

    I see your coop dimensions are 6' X 4. With the addition of your 48 sf run you should be ok.
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    How many years have they lived there?
     
  7. Irishhenman

    Irishhenman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What you are talking about is a 4x6 coop right? How many hens can fit into that depends on your climate. If you have a mild climate ie less than a week of snow a year you could fit 10-15 hens in that house. If you get a lot of snow you will need around 4sq/f of room per bird so 6-7 hens. However your runs is limiting you a lot. Each bird needs a minimum 8-10 sq/f of space in the run. If you are completely limited to that amount of run space you could keep around 5 birds.

    I have a 4x4 house that houses 14 birds but my climate is very mild and their runs is about 1850 s/f

    [/quote]

    Are you serious? 16 sq/f per bird is madness! You are saying the 6x8 shed I have in my yard will only hold 3 chickens!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  8. [​IMG]
    I used this set up for 4 years.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Are you serious? 16 sq/f per bird is madness! You are saying the 6x8 shed I have in my yard will only hold 3 chickens![/QUOTE]

    No one is arguing how many it will HOLD...you could stuff any number of birds in that space. One is weighing the merits of quality of life in that space. It's basically a jail with nowhere to go and the birds are active and social. It's all in whether you want a jail or a habitat. Sure, you can get by with stuffing any coop and many of the threads I read on here about picking, bullying, CRD, coccidiosis, etc. are the direct result of overstocking in small coops and runs.

    The OP asked how many "should" she put in it, not how many she "could" put in it. You can stuff 15 clowns in a small car but it's not living. Everyone has their own perspective and advice on the topic and I gave mine. Not everyone thinks that keeping birds jammed into small spaces is humane, productive or healthy for the livestock in the long term.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  10. Irishhenman

    Irishhenman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens are very happy, I have had no health problems, they are very productive. I would agree that stuffing birds in a house in some climates is bad but what you are talking about is just impractical. My hens only sleep and lay in the coop, they have around 1850sq/f of grass run space that they can access whenever they want and they free range at weekends on 20 acres. I would hardly call that a jail and I don't really like my coop and runs being compared to a jail. I believe that my hens can show a lot more natural behaviour than many on here in small sand covered runs. I would go for a big run and small house over a large house and a small run any day.
     

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