How many?

MKandtheforce

Chirping
8 Years
Jan 2, 2012
105
1
81
Maine
My coop is going to be 8x8, and I plan on starting off with 10 Delaware chickens and a rooster. My question: How many nesting boxes should I have? I'd love to have more chickens in the future, but since I've never had chickens before, I'm playing it safe for now. How many chickens would be able to comfortably live in my 8x8 coop? And how many nesting boxes would I need? Or, if I decide to have meat chickens, would they have to live in a separate coop entirely? I haven't researched meat chickens as much as the eggies, but I don't want to make too many nesting boxes... I don't know, I'm just really confused on this bit. Sorry for sounding vague and newb-ish! I'll try to clarify more if you have any questions about my general questions, heh.
 

citychickx6

Songster
8 Years
May 14, 2011
1,044
28
151
Loveland

A lot depends on the size of the chickens and individual personalities of them. The run size and where you are located also come into play. I have an 8x8 in Colorado and 10 hens are happy enough with it. My run is about 200 sq ft and they go out even if it has snowed.
i have 3 nest boxes and only 2 get used.
I have a mixed flock of 2 Black Austrolorps, 2 California Whites, 3 Easter eggers, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Gold Laced Wyandotte, and 1 Splash Hamburg. The last one is small and gets picked on a bit. Mostly she just runs from the others. (She does not lay well.)
I believe you should build bigger than you think you will need. The birds will like it better.
Around here folks go with 4 sq ft per bird in the coop and 10 in the run.
I have not had meat birds but think they would need more space.
 

MKandtheforce

Chirping
8 Years
Jan 2, 2012
105
1
81
Maine
You're from Loveland?? My cousin used to live there, and I think one of my friends still does... I lived in Boulder for a couple years. What I wouldn't give to move back to Colorado! I'm torn between settling down either in Maine or Colorado... oh well.

Anyway, I plan on free-ranging during the day. I also have another dumb question: Do chickens go out in the rain? You said yours go out in the snow... I wasn't sure whether or not to make a run just for the hell of it, or to use in bad weather (I can always shovel the snow in the run during the winter). Thoughts?
 

2hot2chicken

Songster
8 Years
Jul 15, 2011
542
6
111
Beaverton
Inside the coop for standard (LF or Large flock) type birds is 4 sq ft for inside the coop per bird so 16 would be recommended but there are many things that can change this. For example if you have a predator proof run and your birds have access to this 24/7 or if you free range all day, etc.... I have 6 nest boxes for my girls because that is how we built them to fill the wall but they only use 2-3 boxes to lay in and the rest they almost never use. For 10 to 15 birds I would say 4-6 should be fine in my opinion. I frequently catch multiple birds using 1 nest box and I still have 5 empty ones! My silkies like to sleep in my nest boxes and I have caught 6 silkies piled into my 10"x10"x10" box!!! LOL Birds are so piculiar!!! (spelling?)
 
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2hot2chicken

Songster
8 Years
Jul 15, 2011
542
6
111
Beaverton
Mine go out in the rain all the time! They don't care to much if its really windy though. It is nice to have even just a smaller sized run if you need to confine them temporarily! I have silkies so having covered run is really nice cause wet silkies suck! I do not let my silkies out in the rain cause its like a wet dog!
 
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