I have 34sq ft under my deck: enough for 3 chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bikemandan, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. bikemandan

    bikemandan Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 6, 2010
    Oakland, CA
    Hi all

    I'm very short on space in my urban backyard so I'd like to build a coop and run under my deck. There is 34 sq ft of space under the deck and 5ft in height. I would like to occasionally free range the chickens but only under watch since we have an extensive garden that we'd rather not be scratched to death

    Is this enough space for 3 chickens? (Sorry, I don't know what breed yet).
    I thought perhaps making a 10sq ft coop and 24sq ft run.

    Side questions: Are the coop and the run supposed to be covered in pine shavings or just the coop? I'm assuming a "dropping pan" is a pan to collect droppings but how do they get collected in this pan?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    Oakland, CA
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I assume the deck is attached to your house. In that climate I'd just wire in the area and put a roost and a nest box in a corner that is away from the weather, maybe wall up one side adjacent to the house for the same reason. You could use something like paving stones around it to prevent critters from digging in. Personally I'd skip the floor, put pine shavings on the dirt, which is what I have. The poop just dries and becomes dirt. In that kind of setup, a scrap of linoleum fastened to nothing would be ideal for a poop board -- just pull it out to dump or hose it.

    I've had dirt floor coops for years, never anything else, never wanted anything else. Rake the pine shavings if there is an odor, but most of the time there won't be, especially with a poop board. My shavings must be 8" thick. Haven't added any for months. I just rake them once in a while and sprinkle pelletized lime (no dust) around.

    That should be enough space, a little small for the run but you will let them loose some. No reason, really, to separate the coop from the run in your situation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2010
  3. Tdub4chiks

    Tdub4chiks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2010
    Constantia, NY
    A droppings board/pan is put under the roost where they sleep at night. They seem to do most of their pooing when they sleep. You just take it out everyonce in a while to clean it off.
  4. doubleostud

    doubleostud Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 10, 2008
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    While not unheard of that is a small space for chickens. Don't get me wrong that is plenty of room but when you think about it a 34 sq ft space is only shy of 6x6. Personally I would not split the coop and run up so you don't loose what space you have I would elevate the coop that way the chickens have the full ground space as a run.
  5. animalover

    animalover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA
    The recommended space requirements are 4 sq ft of coop space and 10 sq ft of run space per full sized chicken (perhaps half that for bantams).
  6. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2009
    Maryville, Tennessee
    Go for it! If you let them out to free range, there will be plenty of room. And I agree, no coop needed. Just be sure they can get out of the wind if it gets cold.
  7. bikemandan

    bikemandan Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 6, 2010
    Oakland, CA
    Thanks everyone for your replies!

    The deck does extend from the house and is against a corner (two walls).

    In regards to the suggestion of not splitting the space up into a coop and run: Is the suggestion then to close in all sides with chicken wire and put a roof over the whole space? No enclosed structure? In the winter the lowest it gets at night is around 40F
    If it's one big "run" what should the floor be like? Seems like most peoples coop is pine shavings and most peoples run is sand
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  8. ScotH

    ScotH Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    I can't remember where I saw it, but some people just have a fenced area with protection from strong wind, rain and predators (which you already have most of that covered, if it's under a deck), then just have:
    Their food and water, a couple of roosts (boards or branches) they can get up on and a couple of cat litter boxes they can get in for nest boxes. No Coop needed, but you might give them an area with sand and another with some shaving. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  9. midd2005

    midd2005 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    i agree with the first reply. in your climate, you really don't need a standard coop. given all the rain you get, i'd probably roof the whole thing though. you could do three solid walls in one part as a pseudo coop for extra protection on an abnormally wet, cool day. your biggest concern is going to be predators as you'll have dogs and coons to deal with, and they won't be sleeping in a solid box at night like most americans' chickens.

    i realize that you have a different starting place than i did, but here is a picture of mine to give you an idea of alternatives to the more traditional route and to illustrate what i am talking about. my space is 5x15 feet. i keep 7 large chickens in that space. in the most protected end i have 2 five foot long roosts on top of a slick board that catches the night poop.


    here is the "coop" portion, before the roof, poop board, and roosts went in. sorry i don't have a more current picture.


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