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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by worms7, Nov 17, 2016.
I have a 8 x6 shed with a 15 x 8 run how many chickens can i keep if i can't free range
I had one building and run almost that exact size and kept 10 hens in there nicely. It could have held a few more possibly but cramming too many birds creates problems from needing to clean more often to more opportunities for stress, fighting and disease.
There are too many factors unanswered for anyone to hesitate a guess. You'll hear 4 sqft per bird in coop and that's not accurate at all but often repeated.
If you get snow and lock your birds in the coop for weeks or months at a time then they should have far more than 4 sqft as it's literally their run for an extended period of time. If your birds are let out every day and never cooped then far less space is needed in the coop. If no feed or water are put in coop and it's only purpose is roosting at night and passing through to lay in nests it's amazing how little space they require. My management is to let birds outside everyday and use a covered area and tarps as wind shields during cold months. Housing 15 birds in a 4X7 coop; nesting boxes are external mounted, accessed by birds from inside coop.
I agree with sentiments expressed above. I'd say your run size is the main determinant, not your coop. If the run is protected from the elements, i.e. the flock will make use of it, regardless of the weather then I would personally not keep more than 10 chickens. I'd also make plans / provisions for the introduction of new chickens (or at least keep that in the back of your mind).
I agree not more than ten chickens in the space you have allotted as things appear to stand at present.
There are ways to increase the livable space, though, without adding to it linearly. With modifications, you can increase the functionality of coop and run. The idea is to make both run and coop interesting and functional for daytime activity.
I have extremely small coops. One is four feet by twelve. The other is five feet by eight. I have twenty four chickens total. This seems like much too little space for two dozen chickens, but they mostly use the coops to sleep and to lay eggs. My run is where they spend most of their time, and they're quite content.
The run is twenty feet by twenty plus a wing that's eight feet by twenty, but it's completely covered with corrugated panels, and the sides have rigid, double walled plastic panels secured to the sides in winter which, in effect, creates a "coop" effect, protecting against winter weather.
In addition, there are perches galore. Partitions break up the spaces so bullying is almost non-existent. I've also added tree stumps for added interest. An "interesting" run will help cut down on conflict.
The larger coop has a floor to ceiling window that lets is sunlight so the chickens can sunbathe and hang out, further increasing space for them to avoid conflict.
Many people simply put a perch in a shed and hang nest boxes off the back, and throw up a rectangular "exercise yard", and feel it's fine. But you'll have a much happier flock if careful thought is given to making coop and run interesting, and complexity is a good way to accomplish that.
Is there a breed that is more suited to a run than free range
I wouldn't say so. Whilst humans have domesticated chickens, their innate behaviour remains the same, regardless of breed.
Well, let's see...I currently have Easter Eggers, White Cochins, Silkies, a Red Sex Link, Buckeyes, a White Orpington, Blue Andelusians, Wellsummers, a Cuckoo Marans, an Olive Egger, and a Light Brahma. In the past I've also had Golden Laced Wyandottes, Speckled Sussex, Buff Orpingtons, and Buff Brahmas. All of them did very well as long as they had abundant space in the run. Aside from a few gamebirds and some of the flighty breeds, most will do just as well with a good run. As has been said, more space per bird equates to less crowding problems and cleaning issues, but mine never spend the daylight hours in the coop anyway. I keep some distractions in the run, plenty of roosts, and never ever close their pop door, so they are never locked up during the winter months - they go freely between coop and run.
Of course, many of mine also happen to like the winter weather.....when I open the door to the run they'll go out in the snow and wander around in the yard quite happily, so I do have that advantage. While a good coop with good ventilation and plenty of roosting space is important, I sometimes think people put too much emphasis on that and not enough on setting up a quality run. To me a run isn't an accessory, it's a necessity. All they really do in the coop is lay eggs and sleep. The rest of their day is taken up finding things to do and wanting to be out in the sunshine, even if it is in a covered run.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
Several are adaptable, and several others that are completely stressed by confinement.
The following 2 breed charts will give the information you seek.
Check the behavior columns.