My first post: coop size question


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 16, 2014
Petaluma (Northern California)
Okay, my girlfriend and I are going to become back yard chicken'ers.
We're excited. My 8 year old son will get to enjoy the process too.

We have an alley between our house and the neighbors, it's completely wasted space. We thought that might be a good place for the coop and run. It's about five feet wide and fifty feet long.
My neighbors wont likely complain, as they are the ones who turned us onto getting chickens, they have four.

Our local feed store gets chicks on Friday, and we are planning to get about six for eggs.
We put together some cardboard boxes on a table in the garage for brooding, till they are six weeks old or so. 250 watt red heat lamp suspended, temperature is 98 degrees directly beneath the bulb.

Here's my question: I'm planning out the coop for the six birds (full sized egg layers).
I was hoping the coop could be 24 inches by 40 inches (plus two external egg laying boxes).
We live in Petaluma, Northern California. The coldest we ever get in winter is about 25 degrees, in the summer it gets to 100 a few days a year.

What do you think? Is 24" x 40" big enough?

Photo of brooder

Photo of the alley (run)

Mama Kay W

8 Years
Jul 22, 2011
Northern Idaho
Depending on what breed of chicken you are getting, they need about 3-4 sq. ft. per hen. So 6 would need about 24 sq ft of space in the coop itself.


6 Years
Jul 2, 2013
That is a really tight push to be honest. You would get away with it without any problems I would say. Could you possibly stretch it to 3' x 3'. At 2' x3.3' with six hens you would have 1.1 sq feet per bird which is fine if you have a good climate and a big run which you do have. However you will probably end up getting more hens in the future and you will also have some bad days when hens will want to spend the day inside the coop so I would up the sq foot to at least 1.5 per bird (3' x 3' house) or even better 2 sq feet per bird (3' x 4' house
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9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
I've housed up to 9 standard sized layers in 16 sqft coop, external nesting boxes. That I can say we as tight. It worked but would not recommend it. I've come to the conclusion that 2.25-2.5 sqft per standard bird is a good number. It depends on your management style. I don't heat the coop in winter and the birds are only locked in at night, have the run all day, everyday. So the coop is really only used to roost and walk through to lay eggs in the nest box. 4x4 coop is a good size for 6 or 7 full size chickens.

Run size is more important and as much as you can give them the happier they will be.
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