is this too small

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Brianm97, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Brianm97

    Brianm97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    our coop is roughly 5 by 4 probably closer to 4 and a half is that too samll for 6 hens? the first section before the addition i had four in there and they were all happy. i really hope i can becasue i assumed we could of because the other 4 were so happy and there was still room because they are only in there at night they dont like to be in there during the day. in the pic of the run we are extending the run to the end of the fence


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  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You've asked a complicated question. There is no one right answer for everyone. Part depends on the personality of your hens and a lot depends on your management style and how available that run is all year long. There is a popular rule of thumb that you need 4 square feet per chicken in the coop along with 10 square feet per chicken in the run. There are so many assumptions built into that that it really is not a law of nature. It is just a general suggestion that works for most people.

    I'll mention that I personally favor having more space for them than the minimum. I find that the more space they have, the less work I have to do. If you go toward the minimum, you have to work harder to manage them and you are more likely to have behavioral problems. That said, if you only use your coop as a safe place for them to roost and lay, and they have plenty of available outside space all the time they are awake, you can get by with less than the 4 square feet in the coop.

    So, is it big enough? I don't know. It's tighter than I would build, but it depends on your climate and how you manage them.
     
  3. Brianm97

    Brianm97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    were from ct. they free range all day everyday. it gets cold well i consider it cold for them so we porpasly built it tight. it can get -10 or so
     
  4. Brianm97

    Brianm97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    we clean the coop every 3 days or so. and we are getting all birds that are tagged as very docile
     
  5. Brianm97

    Brianm97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i just dont want them to feel like battery hens they will have a pretty big run and they have that big pen in the back and they also go all over the yard. i dont know how well you can see the pen in the back but is there any way to keep them in there with out them getting out?
     
  6. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Relax, two square feet per bird is international norm.
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I'm assuming that is for the coop only, and it probably wouldn't be enough for feeders and nests that take up floor space. 2 sf might be OK in a warm enough climate where they won't be snowed in, if they have a good amount of outdoor space. If they feel crowded they will start pecking each other, and worse.
     
  8. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bigger is better. Birds need their space. There will be times when they will be confined in their coop due to weather. If they are cramped during this period the birds can develop some very bad habits. By adding more space to the coop can help deter bad habits such as feather pecking. Its still no guarantee. I personally don't think 2 sq ft is adequate. You could get lucky & the birds will do fine in a smaller space you just never know. Again, I now use the bigger is better rule.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Relax, two square feet per bird is international norm.

    But I don't treat them like battery hens. I don't automatically trim their upper beak to keep them from eating each other. I don't control the light and feed like commercial operations. I don't have automatic equipment set up to assure ventilation and worry about the temperature, nor do I have automatic poop handling machinery. I don't practice the biosecurity measures needed due to the crowding. My chickens have not been specially bred to better tolerate the crowded conditions and produce so well they wear themselves out in a year or two. I don't spend all my time managing the chickens since they are recreational, not commercial. I let them out in the morning, sometimes after sleeping in a bit, and pretty much let them manage themselves all day.

    Two square feet per chicken may be "international norms", but normal for what. Commercial operations, yes. My backyard flock, no. If you are going to use the norms for commercial operations, use all the norms for commercial operations. You can't cherry pick a few and ignore the rest. You have to understand what else is associated with the "international norms".

    There are circumstances where 2 square feet per chicken is enough. That is in a climate and under conditions they have a lot of space outside where they can spend practically all the time they are not roosting or laying. But overcrowded chickens in a coop can easily resort to cannibalism unless you control that.
     
  10. Heathero617

    Heathero617 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have my temp coop set up, I highly doubt there is 2 or even 3 sq ft per bird in there but its triangular, 8 ft across the front and i think 4 ft deep to the point. It's about 3 ft high inside. I have 4 birds in there, 3 nesting boxes stacked in a pyramid and all 4 of them sleep crunched together on top of the top box. They have pleanty of room and choose to roost this way at night. They are out in a pen that is 12x 12x 10 from dawn to dusk. None of them have complained so far...heck if any more I get roost the same way, i should be able to fit 50 or 60 chickens in that little coop!!!! >kidding<
     

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