Need some advice on enclosed Coop and Run.


9 Years
Oct 12, 2010
I have 56 hens. their Coop and Run are completely closed in to keep 2 9 yr old Dobermans and any foxes out. the Coop is 12ft by 10ft and the run is 10ft by 20 ft with a height of 20 ft. I have an acre but can't let them out in the grass. we give them grass when we cut the lawn. My question is are they ok being penned up in the area 24/7 and what do i need to do to keep it clean for them? ( i have let them out late in the day with the dogs inside but not all came back in to sleep. before this I had 58 hens....
The rule of Thumb is 4sf per bird inside the coop and 10sf per bird in the run.
Your coop is 12x10= 120sf /4 = 30 birds recommended. This assumes they will need to spend a fair amount of time in the coop when it is cold. If you don't get much of a winter and have plenty of ventilation in the coop they will probably be ok though.

Your Run is 10x20= 200sf /10 = 20 birds recommended. 20ft high is probably a bit excessive for most chickens. Any chance you can re purpose the top half to expand the run to 20x20x10ft high?

I would imagine your space will be overloaded with 56 birds.
Keep a close eye out to see if they are picking on each other.
Keeping up with the waste will be an everyday job. I would recommend poop boards and DE in the coop. I don't think that deep litter would function as well.
In the run I would probably go with sand/small gravel so you could do daily poop collection with a kitty litter scoop.

Teaching your dogs to protect them so they could free range would be awesome.
the run and the coop are connected with a small door so if the coop can hold 30 hens and the run can hold 20 then I think I'm good with 56 hens. the roof of the run is a tent. that's why its 20ft high, can't change that. and the dogs are 9 years old and have already had a taste of killing my hens so they can not be retrained. thanks so much for the input. it really helped alot. I also have lots of roost in both places too and I'm in South Carolina with not too cold winters. they did well last year. I will welcome any comments or input to help my hens be safe and healthy.
Sorry, that's not what people mean -- the idea being promoted is that each chicken needs a certain amount of indoor AND outdoor space, BOTH. Another way of expressing it would be to say you want to have 10-15 (or more!!!) square feet per chicken, with maybe 2/3rds of it being outdoor space.

Your space is really tight for 56 chickens. It's only 320 sq ft total (indoors plus outdoors), which is about 5.7 square feet per chicken. That's still better than battery or broiler-farm conditions but a lot of people would want to have fewer chickens and give them more space. They really do act DIFFERENTLY with more space available; also your risk of serious social problems (development of cannibalism etc) drops with more space, and keeping the setup reasonably hygeinic and free of excessive stink and flies is ever so much easier with a lower stocking density. Also summer overheating is more of a problem with more chickens in a smaller space.

If you feel that this is working okay for you and you are aware of the downsides/risks and feel they're acceptable for your chickens, that's fine; just be aware that with fewer chickens (or more space) they really *would* be better off.

I would not trust raccoons not to rip through a tent, btw, unless there is some heavy wire mesh also involved.

Good luck, have fun,


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