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looking for advice on chicken coop size for run and fencing height question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by EngleAcres, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. EngleAcres

    EngleAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi,
    I am going to be building a coop for approximately 20 english orpingtons. They will have a 25'x25' run (625 sq ft = 30 sq ft per bird) that will be available to them at all times. Right now, I have 13 orpingtons in a 4'x4' coop with an attached run, and they all seem to do fine in it. That's only a little over 1 sq ft per bird (They're only nearing the point of lay so they're not full grown yet.) I've been researching the forums all afternoon, and everyone has different opinions. They may get to free range a few times a week as I rotate the birds through to get their turn in the yard.

    I guess what I want to know is, approximately how big does my coop need to be for approximately 20 english orpingtons that get a 25x25 run. I plan to elevate the coop off the ground so they can go under it to get out of the elements if they don't want to go inside the coop. Also, how many nesting boxes are recommended for 20 hens? I will build the coop so it is easy for me to clean out as well.

    On a sidenote, Is a 4' tall fence tall enough to contain english orpingtons. I'm just starting with this breed, but they look pretty hefty and appear to be mostly ground dwellers. I prefer to not cover the whole run so I can walk in it without squatting the whole time.

    Also, I live in Iowa. We can have all four seasons in one week, but we do go through the four seasons in a year. The chickens will use this coop year round.

    I appreciate any opinions. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Coop space is really only pertinent if the breed is prone to picking or if they will be locked up during daylight hours. I've found roost space is a better rule than coop space. 10-12" of roost per bird (maybe 14" for Orps, those guys are big!). How many you can fit also depends on size. For example, it would be a bad idea to try to for 4 birds in a coop that should only house 2, or 6 in a coop that only fits 4, but I wouldn't see an issue putting 12 birds in a coop that many people would say only fits 10, or 50 in one that supposedly is designed for 40. Basically the bigger the coop, the more leeway. Of course the more crowded they are, the faster they will dirty the area, and there is more potential for aggression if they are crowded too far.

    So, if they have daily access to the run and you are willing to clean frequently, something around a 6x8 would be the minimum adequate coop, though an 8x8 would really be better. There should be 1 nest box per 5 hens.
     
  3. EngleAcres

    EngleAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply. 8x8 would be easier to build since most lumber is available in 8' lengths. I wouldn't think height would be of great importance. Just tall enough to put roosts in there correct? And to walk in for cleaning.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Build as large as possible! How about 8'x 12'? In California, there's not the weather you will have in Iowa. Chickens don't like snow! Your run won't be predator proof, and at 4' high, covering it with netting to protect against hawks won't be comfortable for you (are you that short?). Your birds will need to be locked in their coop every night at least, so larger is best. Mary
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    I have six nest boxes for my thirty hens, and it's fine. Mary
     
  6. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Yep, height doesn't matter so much. Just build it a half foot or more taller than whoever will be caring for them most often and you'll be fine.

    And @folly's place is right. Build as big as you reasonably can; the figures I gave you would be minimum suggestions.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Height can matter......the higher and more ventilation, the better for both hot and freezing climates.

    Here's my theory on the 'stack up' aspect to coop design:
    Bottom of pop door should be about 8" above floor so bedding doesn't get dragged out of coop.
    Nice to have bottom of nests about 18" above bedding to allow use of that floor space under them(doesn't count if your nests are mounted on outside of coop).
    Roosts should be about 12" higher than nests so birds won't roost(sleep) in nests and poop in them.
    Upper venting should be as high as possible above roosts so no strong drafts hit roosts in winter...and hot/moist air and ammonia can rise and exit coop.
     
  8. Klay

    Klay Out Of The Brooder

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    Do you guys think that a run that is about 15x20 is big enough for 12 or 13 chickens. And a coop that is 4x4 with two roosting poles.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Run, yes....coop, no way....more like 8x8 for 12 birds.
     
  10. Klay

    Klay Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok I figured I would need to make the coop bigger or make a second one. But the coop isn't going to be permanent. We are moving so when we do find a house I plan on making a coop out of a shed. The chickens have to stay at my dad company.
     

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