Just a Few Questions about Coops


11 Years
Mar 14, 2008
Now i have heard that the 4sq feet rule is for outside and 1.5sq ft inside but i have also heard that the 4sq ft inside and out. Another one is would it be ok to use vinyl flooring on the inside. So if you could help me that would be nice thanks. I also i was thinking about using cement blocks to keep the coop of the ground how high should it be???
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Where Chickens Ride Horses
14 Years
Jul 9, 2007
always changing
I think you can have vinyl flooring inside to help with making clean up easier. If you can, I would go with the bigger size for indoor and out, chickens really like to move around.

Rafter 7 Paint Horses

13 Years
Jan 13, 2007
East Texas
We use the rule of thumb as 4 sq. ft. in the coop and 10 sq. ft. in the run.
This is not used when chickens are to be locked up 24/7 in a coop. If that is the situation, we use 10 sq. ft. per chicken.



Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Now i have heard that the 4sq feet rule is for outside and 1.5sq ft inside but i have also heard that the 4sq ft inside and out.

The numbers you suggest for coop size are *really tight*, getting towards what they use in industrial chicken-farming operations. Where, please note, disease, stress and hostile interactions among chickens (e.g. feather-picking, and pecking holes in each other) are pretty common.

While chickens can of course be kept alive in that sort of setup, it seems to me that we ought to give them enough space to be happier and healthier, which on the whole means more rather than less.

There is no single magic number but something on the order of at least 10 sq ft per chicken, with at least 3 sq ft per chicken of that being indoor space, is probably a good minimum starting point. It will depend a bit on what breeds you have and whether they are ever let out to free-range.

Vinyl flooring is great, just make sure it's attached down really well so stuff can't get in under the edges and so it can't ripple and crack.

Up on blocks is fine but you want it to be high enough that vermin will not tend to set up an apartment complex under there. In a cold-winter area, you may need to insulate under a raised floor.

Good luck,

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12 Years
Dec 24, 2007
Southern Indiana/Henryville
On the flooring, I too was going to use vinyl as well. But more that I think of it I saw someone (cant remember who) used a tarp and had it pinned up against the walls. For example if the coop is 12x16, put in a 15x20 tarp. This would help with the cracks in the flooring issue plus I think its a bit cheaper that route as well. IMO


In the Brooder
12 Years
Mar 13, 2007
Tarp may make clean out easier. That's an idea.

We built our first coop raised about 12" off the ground and found that skunks enjoyed it as well. They were setting up house as fast as they could! Skunks we're cleared out and we ended up running chicken wire (held down with bricks and rocks) around the entire base to keep them out and it worked just fine......skunks simply relocated themselves to the barn.

Depending on where you live, if your chickens will need to stay inside the coop for months on end (harsh winters, etc) then you will need much more than 1.5 sq feet per bird. Due to our bad winters, our chickens spend less than 10 minutes a day outside during the winter months. I tried going with 3 sq ft and the coop was nasty. With 4 sq foot per bird it still wasn't good. I kept getting rid of chickens until I found the right sq footage for my setup. I have 5 sq ft per bird right now and I'd say that's my (personal) minimum sq footage, based on our climate.


12 Years
Sep 30, 2007
Jacksonville, ORegon
On the subject of square footage:

Firstly, that 4ft and 1.5 ft formula is way to tight. The chickens will be stepping in their own poop constantly, and the whole coop will be one disgusting smelly mess!

The problem with the formulas is this: weather! If you have cold winters, the hens will be spending a lot of time inside the coop. That's the problem I have with these little coops that are effectively just covered roosts attached to a run. If you are in a cold climate, consider a min of 4 sq ft indoors, and 10 sq ft outside (pen).

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