How many is too many? Help me figure this out!!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 6, 2009
My chicken pen is 16 feet by 8 feet (128 sq ft) with an 8 foot by 6 foot (48 sq ft) house attached. In the hen house is a roost and 3 nesting boxes. Also a barrel that I keep the bags of feed in. I have read that you should have 4 sq ft per chicken and have also been told it only has to be 2 sq ft, or 3 sq ft!! Can somebody please tell me how many chickens is OK? I have 11 right now. 10 hens and 1 rooster! Thanks, I'd like to get a couple more hens for Rooster Cogburn...but don't want to crowd them or traumatize anyone.
I thought it was 4sq ft of coop space and 10sq feet of run space to avoid overcrowding in which case I'd say you're pretty close to capacity already....
Right! You can go smaller for bantams, but LF do better with the above dimensions. FYI--If they're going to be stuck in the coop for days on end when the weather is bad you should go even bigger.
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The coop space is the house? And the run is what I'm calling the attached pen? Then yea I guess I'm reaching the max! I just wasn't sure what the right figure was. I let them all out every day to run around in the yard for at least 2 or 3 hours, unless it's snowing or too much snow on the ground but even then they still like to be out!
For a shortish time I had six birds in 60 sq ft of run, 24 sq feet of house. I, also, let them out during the day for a couple of hours to run around. But this wasn't enough, I didn't think. I added an additional 100 sq ft to the run and they are much happier and healthier.

Ten sq. feet of run is the absolute minimum and most chickens do better with more space.

If you can cover the run they'll get more year round use out of it and be happier, it also helps if you can't easily provide more coop space since with the covered run they won't use the coop for much besides laying and sleeping. As far as bantams go the rule of thumb is half the space as for LF. Like everybody says though, bigger is better. Besides, you'll probably want to add more chooks eventually (we all do
) and it's easier to go big from the beginning.
So with 128 sq ft of run I could have at a max 12 chickens? I forgot to mention that 2 of my hens are banties. And the entire run is covered. They are out most of the day, not in their house even when its snowing.
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That sounds about right. It does vary somewhat so keep an eye on things. If you start to see a lot of feather pecking and aggresive behaviour you'll want to give them more room or reduce your flock. You can also hang some cabbages up a foot or so off the ground once in awhile to give them something fun to do.
Thanks so much. I do keep an eye on them, probly spend way too much time out there!!! They seem fine and Rooster steps in and takes charge if one is pecking at another. I have a very agressive little black dutch bantam, but he keeps her in line!

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