need advice on coop design please


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
Hi everyone I'm new to the suite. My wife and I have been talking about raising chickens for eggs and I've put together a coop design that I need opinions on.

Ok first we want to house 12 chickens, we figure that would be sufficient for us. My plans are for a 4x8 coop, I have read that the required space is 4sqft per chicken, I would like to know if 4x8 would be sufficient for 12. Keeping in mind we will have a 10x10 run attached to the side of the coop with the door

I have plans to make gravity feeders for the feed and oyster shells using 4 inch pvc (got the idea from this forum, thanks guys!) And also for the water (using the nipples) there comes my second question, how many nipples would be sufficient for 12 hens?

On to the nest boxes, I plan on building them attached to the back wall as to not use up any floor space, third question now.. Is 3 nesting boxes 12" tall 24" wide 12" deep a good size? Also I plan on having them raised of the floor a little, what's a good height, would 8" do it? I also plan on making the opening smaller than the boxes itself like having a 12" opening so that 12" of the box is private.

Then onto the roost. I plan on putting a 2x4 roost across the 8ft wall opposite of the nesting boxes, (2" side up, rounded a little) 2 ft off the floor with a poop board under it. next question, is that 8ft roost sufficient for 12 birds? And will they be able to get up there good with no ramp?

Please let me know if you see any problem with my design as I'm open to any and all suggestions! And thanks in advance for the answers :)
Last edited:
I have 9 standard sized chickens right now, am getting 4 more next week..My existing coop area for the chicks is 12 x 4+...I am rebuilding and the size will be 12 x 8/9 ' My husband made me a roost/poop board/nesting box combo that is 8 feet long..We tested it out with the girls when I had them all in the house during a winter storm, and the size seemed more than ample for them, if it doesn't end up working for the added chicks, I can always add on to what I've got.

I also have an attached run that is 12 x 20+ , mine are ok with the size of both right now, but I want bigger especially inside.

My nesting boxes are probably 12 wide by 15 deep, I have 3, and don't have problems with them picking out a box to lay eggs.

I think your roost/poop board height sounds good, as well as your nesting box don't want your boxes higher than the roost, (they roost at the highest point)

I have found that my now roost, may be a tad high for mine, they are heavy birds and don't have much room to jump down, so I made a lower level roost/poop board they use to jump up and get down.

My new roost/poop board/nest box, is approx 2 feet a little more maybe, off the ground this worked out great for them (when we gave it a trial run)..

So many wonderful ideas here on the forum, look at posts that show insides of coops/coop section..I got lots of ideas here
What do you think about the 4x8 size for 12 hens? I'm concerned with it being to small, but that's as big as I want to go. Its roughly 3sqft pet bird. I've seen suggestions of anywhere from 2-5 sqft pet bird. Like I said it will have a 10x10 run and the best boxes won't take up floor space, which I assume will help
I would like for it to only be 4 ft tall because sheets of composite board is 4x8. And I'll be using a 4x8 pallet as the base for construction... this way my building costs will be minimal...

But I've had many people tell me now that 4sqft per bird is absolute minimal. So I'm actually rethinking my plan. Considering using two pallets, making it 8x8 instead.

Of I did go with 8x8 I would put in 4 nesting boxes instead of 3. This way the dimensions of the coop, and amount of boxes allows for 16 birds if I decided to expand the 10x10 run to 20x20 using an additional dog kennel.
You should not have any problem with 4' x 8' coop for 12 chickens. Just forget about the math! I would suggest go with raised 20-24" off floor coop and have access to egg from outside. It is much cleaner and your wife and your kids would love you for it. I personally do not want to get myself dirty with poop and mud on my shoes & cloth. You do need a large run (150-300sq) for 12 chickens. If you want to see my simple coop, waterer, automatic feeder, and sand run search my user name. Good Luck!
Last edited:
Just a suggestion.. The roosting bar should be turned the 4" side up. This way they have stability to nestle down over their feet during the winter. I am sure the feet get fatigued 'clinging' onto to something all night, rather than just standing on it.

Only downside to the 4" side up is the fact there is more room to be pooped on :D

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom