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How much time do chickens spend in their coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by homeycow, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. homeycow

    homeycow In the Brooder

    Jun 23, 2010
    North Texas
    I hope this is the right place for this question. I am designing a coop/run for 2 silkies and three unknown breed of bantams who are 4 weeks old right now. We have always had larger breed chickens that free range during the day, so I don't know how much time birds that don't free range actually spend in their coop during the day, versus how much time they spend in their run. My new babies are not going to free range, so I want their coop and run to be as perfect as possible.

    I have found guidelines that tell me how much actual floor space they need. I want to use an existing small shed as their coop, which is roughly 7' by 4'. Can I scrimp on the coop size, since I plan to make their run extra large? Will they just be using their coop mostly to roost at night and lay their eggs? I just am guessing that they will spend most of their time in their run during the day, so I want to put most of my efforts there. (We are in north Texas, so not much cold in the winter, but very hot and humid in the summer.)

    Oh, my, I hope this makes sense to someone! Thanks for any advice.


  2. consdrs

    consdrs Songster

    Apr 4, 2008
    Vancouver, WA
    I have a covered run. mine spend as little time as possible in the coop. they are there long enough to eat and lay an egg. (how ever long that takes...) I don't have food out side so they have to go in to eat. so they are in and out all day but they don't "hang out" there just for kicks.
  3. stowellka

    stowellka In the Brooder

    May 16, 2010
    i'm in southern cal. so no freezing weather out here [​IMG] but it does get in the 100's in summer
    my peeps stay in the run all day and just go in there "sleeping area" @ night, i assumed that would be the case so i concentrated on there run being the main area.
    i have three peeps and went by the guidline of at least 10 sq.ft per bird in the run,
    but everyone will tell you "bigger is better" you might need room for expansion [​IMG]
  4. cterbizan

    cterbizan Songster

    Jun 14, 2010
    Most will stay in the run area during the day and go in just to eat, lay eggs, roost, etc. A standard chicken needs at least 4 sq. ft. in the coop so I if you scrimp on about one or two sq. ft. for the bantams I think it will be ok.
  5. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Mine are in from 9pm to 6am now, and they spend the rest of the day outside, for the most part.
  6. homeycow

    homeycow In the Brooder

    Jun 23, 2010
    North Texas
    Thanks, everyone. This is what I was hoping to hear. I think I'm gonna go for it!

    I should have mentioned also that there is a 7' by 3' covered porch on the front of this shed, so they can get out of the rain without having to go into the coop.

    Aren't chickens just the most fun?!
  7. 92Pony

    92Pony Songster

    Mar 1, 2010
    South Carolina
    I call mine lazy. [​IMG] They spend more time than I would have thought inside the coop. Their run is 12x12 (for 5 birds), and mostly shaded. From time to time I'll look out and notice that noone is out - they're often inside taking a dirt bath (dirt-floored coop), or just hanging out. I guess they like their coop. [​IMG]


  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The larger the outdoor area of shade they have, the less time they generally spend indoors. So if you have a very generous-sized run and as much as possible of it is shaded (esp. the W side, so they have afternoon shade when it is hottest), the better they'll deal with scrimping on coop space.

    A 4x7 coop seems pretty comfortably big (compared to what many people give 'em) for 5 small-and-bantam breed chickens *anyhow* [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  9. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sacramento CA
    I have two girls in a coop that is 2 x 4, so just enough room for two standards. Their run is 12 x 9, PLENTY huge for the two of them and the few others I am getting Thursday. I am getting a bigger coop to accomadate 4 laying hens though, but then their run will be a 5 x 5 run connected to the 12 x 9 run. Aside from that they spend from 8am(ish) to 8pm(ish) free in our yard which isn't huge, but big enough for them to enjoy [​IMG]

    The coop I am getting from a friend is 15 or so square feet, so I will be skimping on 1 foot, BUT I will still have my 2 x 4 coop available in case anybody decided to sleep in there. They will have a choice between the bigger or smaller coop. I will have a max total of 4 hens (I think! LOL).

    Even when my two pullets are free in the yard, they go back to their small coop and take naps. It's so funny I will go out to visit and not see them and FREAK out, turns out they are sleeping soundly in their coop lol. Both coops/runs will be in mostly shade, I am lucky to have a lot of shade in my backyard.
  10. cposz

    cposz Songster

    May 5, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    Year round, ours only go in the coop to sleep and lay.

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