How much does chicken size matter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PtldChick, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I know the standard 3-4 and 10 sq ft per chicken coop and run. However, how much does chicken size come into it? Obviously bantys need less room as they are 1/3 to 1/4 the size of a standard chicken. Do you cut the size down to 1/3 to 1/4 the amount of space?

    What about if you have lighter breeds, like lakenvelders or campines? Could I estimate by weight? Could I fit 2 lakenvelders, a campine and an andalusian hen in the same space as two Orpingtons or two Brahmas? 16 pounds vs. 16 pounds.

    What size chicken is the space estimate based on - 6-7 pounds?

    I have three inter-nested coops/runs - the first is a set of wooden cages that the birds sleep/roost in (two banks of open front cages 8 feet long and two feet deep and high for a total of 32sq ft floor space. set up it's 8 ft L, 2 ft D and 4ft H. It sits on 8" cinder blocks. Each of the 2x8 banks has two 2x4 cages. Each cage has a 4 ft roost pole, raised one gallon waterer and hanging 3 lb feeder. These two banks are stacked on top of each other inside a 6x12 kennel fenced/covered run/coop that is attached to a side of a 450 sq ft fenced ranging area. In the 6x12 coop/run, there is additional horizontal square footage of about 32-48 sq ft due to stacking the cages, the space underneath for the smaller birds to hide and scratch and the cage roof which several like to perch/sleep on. So let's say that coop has 100 sq ft. total. That should be enough for up to 25 chickens - as long as they have regular access to the ranging area, right?

    I only plan on confing them in the fenced coop at night or if I'm going to be gone overnight somewhere and I can provide enough food and water for their needs while I'm gone. They have a 5 gallon waterer and a 22 pound feeder avialable, too. On longer trips I have someone let them out and in each day, check water, food, etc.

    Could I safely confine my 20 birds in the 6x12 kennel run (with the various cage levels giving extra sq feet for roosting and perching) for a day or two without causing undue stress like fighting or feather picking? I'd put something in like a flock block to divert attention. There are no issues right now as their night time sleeping place - in fact they all go into only a few of cages and a few onto the top of the cages, and leave one of the cages empty (farthest from the door). The most popular cage typically has six or seven hens bundled in their together with no issue. Right now they're not fully grown so they take up less room.

    My flock sizes range from light, white egg layers such as lakenvelder, campine, polish and andalusian, to medium layers like EEs, Marans, Welsummer, Blue Wyandotte, Barnevelder, to some heavies...a couple of Lavender Orpingtons and Brahmas.

    I'd hate to come home and find my flock beat up from space or boredom issues.

    Thoughts appreciated.
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Size does matter to an extent, IF you combine it with personality/activity level of the breed. For example, a flighty 1.5 lb bantam might actually need MORE space than an 8lb laid back brahma - at least in the run. And of course size definitely matters with roost space. That's why it's so difficult to give a set answer when people ask "how much space do I need." Of course region probably plays the largest role - whether an area has snowy/icy winters or not. And even then a roofed run or not will factor into the equation. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  3. Chemguy

    Chemguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 30, 2011
    Springfield, Ohio
    I don't have lots of experience, but I do know that bantams can fly. So maybe this means that although they have a smaller footprint, it will be necessary to allow for greater range within a run. I would imagine that if all they were to do in a coop is come home to roost, you could scale down the size. If they would spend long periods of time in the coop, like in the winter, then you might want to stick with a full-size scale.
     
  4. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    That's a good point about activity level. My run/ranging area is plenty big, I'm just wondering if being cooped up in the smaller fenced area for a day or so will cause them to peck or if it's a short enough time period that they'll be OK.

    I guess I'll find out tonight/tomorrow. [​IMG]
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    In your case your smaller bodied birds will have the hardest time being confined tightly, as they're flightier type birds (well...not the polish so much). I doubt a day or two of confinement will do any serious damage, especially if you have multiple feeders/waterers spaced quite a bit apart. Multiple roosts in the run will help as well, especially with your flightier birds. But I'd say two days would be your birds limits, as that's not even half the of minimum run space recommended. Irritated birds are ugly birds.
     
  6. wava1vaughn

    wava1vaughn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2011
    Cairo Ga.
    Hi from Ga. The recommended 4 sq. ft. is just an average. You should be able to tell if your birds are crowded. Also if you let them out all day they don't need as much space to just bed down at night. [​IMG] My main coop for my eating egg layers is 8x8 but I have 10 hens and 1 rooster ( Australian Light Sussex ) The hens are 8-9 #s ea. and the Rooster is about 12#s. Its a tight fit. But we let them out at 7am then put them in at 8pm. So its no problem.

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    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011

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