how much space per chicken

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ninny, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. ninny

    ninny Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    IL side of the QCA
    hi we have a large barn that will have runs in it for the birds . i can't free range, we have way to many predators around here. i lost 40 birds in a week last time i tried. so my question is most of these are bantams but some are not, so how many feet per bird in the runs ? ive heard 2ft per bird but wanted to make sure. im breeding so some coops will have mixed sexes but some won't they will be male coops and female coops. then for those groups ill use breeding pens. (don't worry there will be some outside time under our watchful eyes) im thinking that the roo pens will need extra space so that they don't kill each other. any suggestions?
  2. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Songster

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    coop 4 square
    run 8 square

    coop 2 square
    run 6 square

    Breeding I would say give them as much space as you can!
    1 person likes this.
  3. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    My opinion is:
    Per chicken

    coop: minimum of 4 sq. ft.
    run: 10 sq. ft.

    coop: 3 sq. ft.
    run: 8 sq. ft.

    As RChicks said, if you are breeding, give them as much space as you can.
    You can never get too large when it comes to the run.

  4. ninny

    ninny Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    IL side of the QCA
    thanks ill have to measure my barn (we just bought the place so it will be a while before anything gets going)[​IMG], but say for ten chickens what would be the dimensions of the run. im thinking maybe 8 hens 2 roos for genetic diversity per run. plus if one dies i have a spare till i can find another one. was thinking 10x10 but maybe thats too small?
  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    If you are going tohave 8 hens, you will not want 2 roos. They will ride those poor girls featherless! And then fighting between the roos for mateing rites. Now....if you have 10 standard chickens.....10 x 10 would be minimal outside space. Larger is always better, if possible.
    Oh, and congrats on the new home and soon to be chicken owner!
  6. ninny

    ninny Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    IL side of the QCA
    Thanks! these are inside runs. humm... i never had a problem with my roos before. i had several of them and only few hens. heres the weird part though. i had 2 silkies 1 girl 1 boy with everyone else and even though he was at the bottom of the pecking order i only got pure silkies. should i keep all my males apart? i can do it but how much room per roo if they are all together to keep them form killing each other? that may work better cause i can plan my breeding when i want and not the other way around. i will have some tractors so they can be outside for at least awhile each day if that helps. most of my birds will be bantams.
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Ah the old "how much space" question. I didn't even look and I'll bet there is at least one answer that says 4 sq ft. in the coop.

    It's better to ask "How much space you got?"

    Here's what you do: Decide how may you can keep in your space by following the rules - and then cut that number by at least a third.

    The "Rules" as we have come to know them, are an amalgam of practices, mostly influenced by the commercial poultry business.

    Chickens are active creatures and need room. In days gone by (before the advent of intensive management practices), 10-20 sq ft/bird was considered just adequate. Inside, In the areas where they will roost, lay and then get back outside where they belong - that can be minimal: 4-5 sq ft or so. But if they are to spend any time inside, then that will not do.

    Outdoors, it was always considered that 500/acre was tops. That means a minimum of 87.5 sq ft/bird. To give them less is tempting fate and will ensure that they turn whatever outdoor area you provide them into a moonscape.

    Most of this has to do with waste, otherwise known as filth. The more you crowd them, the more you must become a waste managnement specialist - never on anyone's fun list. They also get testy with one another when ovecrowded and begin doing heathenlike things to one another.

    Bottom line, give them as much as you can... more, in fact, than you think they need, since you'll be under the influence of "chicken want-itis" in the beginning. Overcrowding is the number one cause of disease and other maladies. All preventable, mind you, if you but refrain from cramming as many chickens as possible into the available space.

    My $.02 worth? Consider the 4 Sq Ft Rule as one to throw out.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2007
    7 people like this.
  8. LisaJean

    LisaJean Songster

    I have similar questions. I am a novice, I haven't even bought my first bird yet. I'm not much of a designer, so I am looking at this.

    Which is a kit, I guess. It says it is a good coop for up to 10 "free range" chickens.

    When they say "free range" do they mean all day long? See, I'm in Raleigh, and our chickens must be penned.

    My plan is to let them out into my fenced-in back yard at least once a day, under my supervision.

    Would this coop and run I've listed above by suitable for 4-6 full-size hens (egg layers, no breeding), if they will only get to be out and about for limited time?

    Boy, this is also
    sooooo tempting.

    It's adorable, isn't it? Sigh.
  9. ninny

    ninny Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    IL side of the QCA
    how about this my last bunch was a mix of sexs but ive never had a problem with anyone beating anyone up. so im been thinking that maybe two giant runs one for the girls one for the boys. would that be a problem for the boys? or would they be okay? i may end up doing this. the "nice" people who had the farm before us left maybe 100 or more lose straw bales:rolleyes: in one side of the barn so until i can more that im not sure how much space i really have. could that work for the boys?
  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    I need to be more sensitive here to the newcomers. I tend to get a little harsh when this subject comes up. Please forgive me.

    It says it is a good coop for up to 10 "free range" chickens.

    My guess is its for ten birds that use the outside run and go the coop to roost and lay. There isnt room for much else by the look of it!

    When they say "free range" do they mean all day long? See, I'm in Raleigh, and our chickens must be penned.

    Well sorta. What I think is intended there is that they aren't in the COOP anytime but at night. Freerange is SUCH a misused term. Penned, even if in a large yard, is not freeranged. Sorry.

    Would this coop and run I've listed above be suitable for 4-6 full-size hens (egg layers, no breeding), if they will only get to be out and about for a limited time?

    With the run, barely. Without it, I'd say no. I wouldn't want half a dozen heavies all day in something that comes to me via UPS. Chickens belong OUTSIDE during the day - not "cooped up" (thus the term).

    Look at it like this. Go out to the garage, or wherever, and find a floor tile. Or go into the kitchen or somewhere that is tiled. Each common floor tile is one square foot.
    Now, measure off 4 of them together on two sides, which equals 16 total in a square. That is 4 square feet. If you dont have chickens right now, find a five gallon bucket and put it in the middle of the tiles. The bucket simulates a large laying chicken, like a Rock or Australorp.
    This experiment graphically illustrates what I have been saying. It's not much room for a large, active animal like an adult hen, let alone a grown cock.

    But, wait, we're not done. [​IMG]
    Now, cram those big layers and their boys into your coop - into which you also shoehorn feeders, waterers, roosts, nests, grit feeders and whatever faddish things you think the chickens will like.
    Getting kinda cramped, aint it?

    Truth is, chickens belong outside. The exceptions are roosting (sleeping at night) and laying. For the most part they should eat and drink outside, breed outside and just generally be, well... outside. But there is still a problem you have top face.

    Chickens tear up whatever landscape they are on. Most people who have them take this for granted - most newbies don't know about it 'til it happens!
    Soon, all grass is gone and the entire area is devoid of life. While all this is going on, the birds never stop pooping everywhere. Did you know that about 70% of the food that goes in the front end of a chicken goes right back out the rearas droppings? And then the rain comes...

    Remember when I talked about waste control. Well, you probably get the picture. Unless the earth can absorb them and there "wasteful" habits, then you have to manage it. You'll want to move that pretty little coop once every few days to new ground to do that.

    I started out like everyone else and learned alot, the hard way. Currently I have a 40 by 40 pen, with NO birds. The earth in there is resting and sweetening for the next crop. When I get them, I wont have many more than 8 in there, maybe 10. That's it. If I do it this way, I find I have no problems with flies, muck, disease, whining neighbors and so on.

    I don't want to scare you; remember what I said about being sensitive earlier. But this is chicken reality. I believe it's better you hear it now, than later.​
    9 people like this.

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