How much space do they need?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by IAmAChicken, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. IAmAChicken

    IAmAChicken New Egg

    Oct 29, 2010
    I am interested in getting 100 white leghorn chicks from a hatchery in the Spring so that way I can sell eggs at a local farmer's market--there is a big demand for locally grown eggs. However, I was curious as to how much space they'd need (coop size, pen size, etc).

    Thanks! :)

    P.S. There are lots of hatcheries--which ones would you recommend for the best stock?
  2. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    [​IMG] You'd need about 4 sq ft per bird inside and the more the better outside. You can look up a lot of info at the top of the page, click on the learning center. Most beginners questions will be answered here or enter your ? in the search area to the top right. Good Luck!
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens


    from Washington State!

    Also, be sure to look at the coop designs section at the top. Use hardware cloth to keep predators out (chicken wire won't) and make sure you bury your wire or apron it out (search here for hardware cloth apron) above ground to keep digging predators out.

    This is for a predator proof run. If you are only interested in predator-proofing your coop, then that's different. Some people have a not-so-predator proof run and close them up tight each night. That's cheaper.

    But sometimes dogs and raccoons can come around during the day. And hawks from above. Netting overhead is great but take care to build it for a snow load if you'll have it. Netting is sold heavyweight if you need it.

    Minimum run size is 10 square feet per chicken, and 4 square feet in the coop, as stated above. But I agree with the above poster- they are definitely happier with more run space if you can do it.

    Remember that when you order female chicks, it is only 90% accurate. So if you order 100 chicks, it would not be unusual to get 10 roosters.

    I have ordered from McMurray Hatchery and, and been pleased. But I don't have Leghorns. Some people like Ideal Hatchery and can do a search for "favorite hatchery" or something like that - I have seen threads on that.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  4. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    Most BYC members will recommend a minimum of 4 sf inside plus 10sf outside. Many use more, and some use less.
    I am at 6sf inside and about 50sf in the run and let them out into the back yard most of the day.

    One thing every one of us agrees on is that you should always build bigger!
    Chickens are addictive.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If you're new to chickens, taking on 100 is a lot. If you're in it to sell eggs, timing will be key, as many chickens stop or seriously decline in egg production in the fall (molting after 1st year) and through the winter months unless you're using timed lighting to keep them laying through the short days....
    That would be a huge coop...about 20 x 20 ft. If you freerange, you wouldn't need a run. But if you are penning them, then you'd want around 2,000 sq. ft. of "yard" space.
  6. IAmAChicken

    IAmAChicken New Egg

    Oct 29, 2010
    Thanks for all the replies.

    I am also curious as to which hatcheries are involved in the NPIP.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Um, AFAIK pretty much any established commercial hatchery that does mail-order is enrolled in NPIP.

    Your best bet in terms of health and survivability of the chicks you order is generally to order from a NEARBY hatchery. Ideally one you can drive to and pick up directly, rather than having to use the post office; but if you DO have to mail-order chicks, get them from somewhere that's a short postal distance from you (note that this is not always the same as *geographic* distance. Once you have a few hatcheries in mind, you might want to chat with your local post office folks sometime when business is slow)

    If you haven't had significant numbers of chickens before, add me to the list of people suggesting you maybe start with fewer chickens. And, you are aware, yes, that 100 commercial leghorns will give you something on the order of 55 dozen eggs per week (660 eggs per week), yes, and you're utterly positively totally CERTAIN you can sell all of those all the time? And can absorb a potentially-very-large financial loss if the learning curve should turn out to involve losing half your chickens, or something like that? Just a thought anyhow.

    Good luck, you will need it [​IMG], and have fun,


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