I know the 2 square feet rule, but how small is REALLY too small?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by amgreen1980, May 3, 2011.

  1. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    Well, I put my cart before the horse and bought chicks without having a coop. After looking at tons and tons and tons of coops here on BYC, I think I would rather wait until we can afford to build a larger coop than spend 3-400 dollars on something that will have to be upgraded if I want to get more chickens than I have now (6). SO, can we build a smallish tractor or even a pretty small coop to house them until next spring? They will free range 99% of the time and we do have materials to make them an appropriate sized run for when they cant go out. But is 12 square feet, a 3x4 little building really big enough? I just feel like that is such a tiny space for 6 chickens.

    EDITED: Ok, so change that to 4 square feet! LOL I didn't want to change the subject...
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  2. trilyn

    trilyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    The rule of thumb is 4 square feet per bird...IMO even larger is better! Good luck!!
     
  3. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    Quote:Ok, I thought I read 2 sf for the coop. So, we are going to need a minimum of 24 sf. I would like to build something closer to 8x8, but I think that will have to wait until next year. I would like to build it so it could be added on to, without looking like a chop job. Anyone ever done that?
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    There is no "the" "2" square feet rule. Different groups of people have different rules of thumb. Personally, having seen how they act at 4 sq ft apiece (plus ample run) and at up to 15+ sq ft apiece (plus ample run), my own rule of thumb for happy natural relaxed behavior is 10-15 sq ft per chicken indoors. And no, that has nothing to do with my climate, that is from their *summertime* behavior.

    You can do what you want; it's just that you and the chickens have to live with the consequences.

    Given the particulars of your situation, you might look for some existing thing that can be scrounged or bought for real cheap that would be maybe-marginally-ok for your 6 pullets "for now", and then spend the summer and fall looking for a good deal on a good-condition shed or materials to build same.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. pitbulls and chickens

    pitbulls and chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2011
    We have 13 chickens and our 7x7 coop was definitely too small a space for our large birds. Alot of picking was going on when they were inside throughout the long Northeast Kingdom winter. We added on another 7x8 section to open it up and it helped immensely! We have 13 happy birds in a 7x15 coop. Hens get bored easily and peck at everything, so imagine having too many in a small space?! I personally dont agree with the space requirement standard or rule of thumb. Really want more hens but wont until we have added on again before we bring them home.
    When we first started out with 18 hens and too small a coop, we learned quickly and will def not make that mistake again...We located used lumber from old buildings locally and bought rough sawn where necessary so we would have enough $ to insulate entire coop and it was a huge success on short money. Ive seen old busses, van, truck caps and some interesting makeshift coops! You may have something you havent thought of as a temp or in your town cheap to acquire...a little creativity can save a bundle to house your girls. For me personally, I wouldnt house them with less than 8 sq feet each for large breeds if they are to spend a great deal of time in it. If your climate is milder year round and theyre out daily, I would still recommend a little more than 2 ft each..just my opinion, some may disagree. Keep in mind we work hard to keep our animals in the lifestyle theyre accustomed to!LOL!
    Best of luck!
     
  6. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    Thanks, I hate the thought of them being in something so small. I think we will just bite the bullet and build something the right way. I was looking at metal/tin sheds on craigslist. Is that something that could be adapted? The coop will be under shade, and we would put good ventilation in it. I found a few 10x12 buildings for $200 a piece. That sounds reasonable.
     
  7. cptbahama

    cptbahama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2011
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    I have 11 standard hens in a 6 x 12 coop with a 6 x 5 henhouse in the coop. That's a total of 30 + 72 square feet. I let them out every single day and they appear to me to be as happy as can be. Keeping them out of the garden has been a real challenge though. And sometimes there's poo on the patio...
     
  8. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    Thanks, We are going to look around and get creative! So for 6 pullets, 3 barred rocks and 3 reds that we don't know yet LOL, a 6x8 or 8x8 would be enough room?



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  9. Ms.Frizzle

    Ms.Frizzle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Wisconsin
    The nice thing about a small coop is that when you do upgrade, you can sell it, or keep it to seperate new chickens, house chicks, or keep breeds seperate. Do you have a link for what you plan on purchasing?
     
  10. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    The garden is definitely a concern of mine. I would rather fence the garden in than keep them fenced though...I think! LOL Thanks for your input! [​IMG] Here I am going through all this worry, and I wouldn't doubt if my husband has plans for a big fancy coop in mind. He is one of those that tends to go a bit overboard with things. Hopefully I will have some pictures of whatever we do to share later!


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