Is my coop big enough for our growing chicken family?

cmelancon

In the Brooder
Nov 6, 2021
25
36
41
Louisiana
So currently we have 7 happy chickens in this coop. We open the door every morning to let them out in a large run area every day so they’re not cooped up all day (pun intended). We have 6 chicks growing very fast and I’m wondering if I need to upgrade the coop to fit the newbies when they ready to join the big girls. I know the rule is 4 sq ft/bird but is that the case if they only really in there to sleep?

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/p...construction-chicken-coop-70401d?cm_vc=-10005
 

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DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Jul 23, 2018
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So currently we have 7 happy chickens in this coop. We open the door every morning to let them out in a large run area every day so they’re not cooped up all day (pun intended). We have 6 chicks growing very fast and I’m wondering if I need to upgrade the coop to fit the newbies when they ready to join the big girls. I know the rule is 4 sq ft/bird but is that the case if they only really in there to sleep?

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/p...construction-chicken-coop-70401d?cm_vc=-10005
I'm sorry but if you try to stuff 6 NEW birds into that tiny coop with the existing 7 you are going to have major issues. I'm shocked the 7 that are in there haven't really gone after each other.
Integration requires far more than the minimum amount of space.
You are already well over the recommended housing density for a coop. Adding even more is going to cause air quality issues and issues keeping the coop dry and clean during the winter.
 

cmelancon

In the Brooder
Nov 6, 2021
25
36
41
Louisiana
I'm sorry but if you try to stuff 6 NEW birds into that tiny coop with the existing 7 you are going to have major issues. I'm shocked the 7 that are in there haven't really gone after each other.
Integration requires far more than the minimum amount of space.
You are already well over the recommended housing density for a coop. Adding even more is going to cause air quality issues and issues keeping the coop dry and clean during the winter.
Oh wow okay upgrade it is! We were given these chickens and coop. That’s what they were in at their last home and they were never let out of it there maybe that’s why they don’t mind it now. Poor girls I’ll get them set up right. If I’m looking at that many chickens do you think an 8x8 metal shed type would be big enough?
 

Crankkt

Chirping
Oct 8, 2021
27
70
54
Newfoundland, Canada
I used the numbers on the website and it appears that the run is 21 square feet. I didn't see measurements for the coop but it would be quite a bit smaller than the run.

4 square feet of coop space with about 8 square feet of run space per bird may be better ratios to go by.

I would recommend researching integrating flocks. I like the see no touch method for 3 to 4 weeks before making introductions.

I think you need to expand your coop for the existing hens you have and would discourage you from anymore into the pictured coop.
 

cmelancon

In the Brooder
Nov 6, 2021
25
36
41
Louisiana
I used the numbers on the website and it appears that the run is 21 square feet. I didn't see measurements for the coop but it would be quite a bit smaller than the run.

4 square feet of coop space with about 8 square feet of run space per bird may be better ratios to go by.

I would recommend researching integrating flocks. I like the see no touch method for 3 to 4 weeks before making introductions.

I think you need to expand your coop for the existing hens you have and would discourage you from anymore into the pictured coop.
Thank you! We have a pretty big run area so I fenced portion of it off with chicken wire so they can meet and great without all the drama lol
 
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A chicken needs 12 inches of roosting space per bird, one square foot of ventilation every day (this is best located over the birds' head while roosting), 4 square feet in the coop and 10 in the run. The more space they have the more productive and happier they will be.

If you had the required amount of ventilation and roosting space, the run was secure so you could leave the door of the coop open over night (then they wouldn't be waiting around for you to let them out in the morning), it still wouldn't work. The chickens would be too close together while getting used to each other, in much too small of a space.
 

3KillerBs

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Welcome to BYC. Where, in general, are you located? Climate matters, especially in housing. If you put it into your profile we can give better advice.

The Usual Guidelines

For each adult, standard-sized hen you need:
  • 4 square feet in the coop (.37 square meters)
  • 10 square feet in the run (.93 square meters),
  • 1 linear foot of roost (.3 meters),
  • 1/4 of a nest box,
  • And 1 square foot (.09 square meters) of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation, preferably located over the birds' heads when they're sitting on the roost.
12 hens
  • 48 square feet in the coop. 6'x8' is more practical than 4'x12' since a long, skinny coop like that would be difficult to work inside.
  • 12 feet of roost
  • 120 square feet in the run. 10'x12' or 8'x15' -- 8'x16' means fewer odd cuts than either of those. 6'x20' is possible, especially if your run is an open-topped, fenced area instead of fully-enclosed with a solid and/or wire roof but risks social problems because subordinate hens need to be able to pass the dominant hens at a respectful distance.
  • 12 square feet of ventilation.
  • 3 nest boxes.
I know the rule is 4 sq ft/bird but is that the case if they only really in there to sleep?

Here's a quote from an article I'm writing:​
But I free range/have a huge run and my chickens only use the coop to sleep and lay eggs! Why do I need all that space inside?
You might not. As I've said, these are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.​
If you never close the pop door so that your coop and run function together as a fully integrated system that is the equivalent of a huge, open-air coop, then your flock might be just fine for years, even decades.​
If you are always out there to open the pop door at the crack of dawn or you have an ultra-reliable automatic door so that your chickens never lack access to their free range territory during the daylight hours, then your flock might be just fine for years, even decades.​
If you live in a mild climate where chickens can always go out into their run/range and are never kept in by snow or storms, then your flock might be just fine for years, even decades. People who keep chickens in places with tropical and subtropical climates do successfully go without a coop at all, just offering a covered roost and some nestboxes.​
But when something happens ...​
When a determined predator moves in and breaks through the fencing so that you have to confine the flock to the coop itself so that you can fix the run,​
When an extreme weather event prevents your chickens from leaving shelter for days,​
When an emergency calls you out of town and you can't find someone willing to be there at the crack of dawn to open the pop door,​
Then you could have a mess on your hands.​
Which brings us back to the issue of flexibility and options. Any time you push a system hard against it's limits you have to count on everything remaining stable -- exactly as it is without any changes. How well that's likely to work depends on your specific circumstances. You may never encounter an unfortunate circumstance -- some people DO hit the lottery, after all.​
The plural of anecdote is not data, but over years of reading these forums I have seen that the vast majority of health, behavioral, and sanitation problems that people seek help for are linked to overcrowding and/or poor ventilation.

do you think an 8x8 metal shed type would be big enough?

8x8 is an excellent size for that flock -- giving you a little extra space for storage and contingencies.

Metal animal housing is very common where I live -- the Steamy Southeast of the USA. It's necessary to provide very generous ventilation, especially at roof height, to prevent condensation from forming on the underside of the roof and dripping onto the birds but it has the great advantage of being rot-proof and termite proof.

Do you have a specific shed in mind? Link/photos?
 

cmelancon

In the Brooder
Nov 6, 2021
25
36
41
Louisiana
Welcome to BYC. Where, in general, are you located? Climate matters, especially in housing. If you put it into your profile we can give better advice.

The Usual Guidelines

For each adult, standard-sized hen you need:
  • 4 square feet in the coop (.37 square meters)
  • 10 square feet in the run (.93 square meters),
  • 1 linear foot of roost (.3 meters),
  • 1/4 of a nest box,
  • And 1 square foot (.09 square meters) of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation, preferably located over the birds' heads when they're sitting on the roost.
12 hens
  • 48 square feet in the coop. 6'x8' is more practical than 4'x12' since a long, skinny coop like that would be difficult to work inside.
  • 12 feet of roost
  • 120 square feet in the run. 10'x12' or 8'x15' -- 8'x16' means fewer odd cuts than either of those. 6'x20' is possible, especially if your run is an open-topped, fenced area instead of fully-enclosed with a solid and/or wire roof but risks social problems because subordinate hens need to be able to pass the dominant hens at a respectful distance.
  • 12 square feet of ventilation.
  • 3 nest boxes.


Here's a quote from an article I'm writing:​
But I free range/have a huge run and my chickens only use the coop to sleep and lay eggs! Why do I need all that space inside?
You might not. As I've said, these are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.​
If you never close the pop door so that your coop and run function together as a fully integrated system that is the equivalent of a huge, open-air coop, then your flock might be just fine for years, even decades.​
If you are always out there to open the pop door at the crack of dawn or you have an ultra-reliable automatic door so that your chickens never lack access to their free range territory during the daylight hours, then your flock might be just fine for years, even decades.​
If you live in a mild climate where chickens can always go out into their run/range and are never kept in by snow or storms, then your flock might be just fine for years, even decades. People who keep chickens in places with tropical and subtropical climates do successfully go without a coop at all, just offering a covered roost and some nestboxes.​
But when something happens ...​
When a determined predator moves in and breaks through the fencing so that you have to confine the flock to the coop itself so that you can fix the run,​
When an extreme weather event prevents your chickens from leaving shelter for days,​
When an emergency calls you out of town and you can't find someone willing to be there at the crack of dawn to open the pop door,​
Then you could have a mess on your hands.​
Which brings us back to the issue of flexibility and options. Any time you push a system hard against it's limits you have to count on everything remaining stable -- exactly as it is without any changes. How well that's likely to work depends on your specific circumstances. You may never encounter an unfortunate circumstance -- some people DO hit the lottery, after all.​
The plural of anecdote is not data, but over years of reading these forums I have seen that the vast majority of health, behavioral, and sanitation problems that people seek help for are linked to overcrowding and/or poor ventilation.



8x8 is an excellent size for that flock -- giving you a little extra space for storage and contingencies.

Metal animal housing is very common where I live -- the Steamy Southeast of the USA. It's necessary to provide very generous ventilation, especially at roof height, to prevent condensation from forming on the underside of the roof and dripping onto the birds but it has the great advantage of being rot-proof and termite proof.

Do you have a specific shed in mind? Link/photos?
I’m in Louisiana! My husband actually went out and bought this one yesterday. We are currently planning the ventilation possibilities
 

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3KillerBs

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I’m in Louisiana! My husband actually went out and bought this one yesterday. We are currently planning the ventilation possibilities

This will sound radical, but I'd say to pull the entire wall off where the doors are and replace it with wire. Then replace the gable triangle on the other end with wire and use some of the siding you pulled off to make a "porch" to shelter the wire wall and an awning over the other vent. :)

I personally find that here in central NC I have to have double or triple the recommended minimum of 1 square foot per bird of 24/7/365 ventilation or deep shade to keep a coop under 100F on a 90+ day.

The Steamy South is perfectly suited to the Open Air coop concept.
 

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