need some fairly quick answers...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Dancing, May 13, 2009.

  1. Dancing

    Dancing Out Of The Brooder

    May 5, 2009
    Prescott, KS
    Ok, so hubby and I are having an argument/discussion about the coop we are working on.
    I've not had chickens before unless you want to count the one's on my grandma's farm when I was a kid (they were 100% free range and had half a barn as a coop.

    Main question...

    Right now we have 12 hens and MY idea of what size the coop should be is MUCH different than his idea. His father raised chickens way back when and so he believes he knows all chickens need.

    I tend to spoil all my animals whether they live inside or out.

    Please...what is the minimum size coop for 12 and how large should the run be? Don't worry, I always go much larger than minimum size.

    He has already started cutting lumber to frame the walls and I want to make sure that we are building large enough.

    Also, how large for 24?

    Oh, and "space" isn't an issue, we have 80 acres.

    Secondary question...what is the most important features of inside the coop? What should there be that we are likely to either forget or not think of?
  2. mygor

    mygor Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 2, 2009
    Mount Perry , Ohio
    From what I've learned here it 4 square Ft.per bird in the coop. And 10 square Ft. per bird in the run. If you free range you won't need to worry about the last one.

    So for 12 it would be 48 sq. ft. or roughly 6'x8'. Double that for 24.

    Ventilation, Roost's. and nest boxes would be the most important features.
  3. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    The rule of thumb is 4 sq feet per bird inside the coop with more area outside for a run. More inside area would be better if you are in an area that snow and cold would prevent the birds from going out in the winter for several days in a row. KS you will need to have enough ventilation for the summer heat and enough insulation for winter cold. Personally I would try to run electricity to the coop. Much safer for a heat lamp in the winter and fans during the summer than trying to run extension cords. Some windows would be good. A people sized door is good if you are constructing a building vs a small coop / tractor. Laying cheap vinyl flooring over whatever the sub-floor will be really helps with clean up. Roosts over a poop collection box is a nice thing. That way they aren't pooping from the roosts into the bedding, then walking through the poopy bedding to get to the door and food / water.

    Water, food, roosts higher than nest boxes, 1 nest box for every 3-4 chickens.

    I would do a search here on the forum for coops. There are a ton of good photos of how people have uniquely set up coops inside to provide the necessary elements.
  4. Dancing

    Dancing Out Of The Brooder

    May 5, 2009
    Prescott, KS
    Thanks for the reply. We are going to go with 8x8 to start on the coop and 15x24 (possibly larger) on the run. Both we can add on to if needed. (he wanted to do the coop 4x6 geezz)

    the poop collectors under the roosts is a GREAT idea!

    We have a pretty good "plan" for the coop and running electricty is already figured into it. I'm having a little bit of trouble convincing him of the need for insulation but I always win in the end...
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    This thread gives some lessons learned by others from building coops. Just pick the ones that fit your needs. We are all different.

    The rule of thunb is 4 sq ft per full-sized chicken in the coop and 10 sq ft per bird in the run. This assumes you aee feeding and watering in the coop and that the birds can spend most days in the run or free-ranging.

    Commercial operations get by with a lot less as they debeak the chickens and automatically remove the poop. The 4 sq ft has as components room so the chickens don't cannibalize each other, room so the chickens can get to the feeder and waterer, room to put the feeder and waterer somewhere other than under the roost. It also has a component to handle poop load based on standard management practices.

    If you never lock your chickens in the coop during daylight hours and they have the weather to go outside, the coop size can drop a little. If you feed and water outside, the area in the coop can drop some both because they do not need room to access them and it encourages them to poop outside.

    Chickens are ground dwelling birds. Space higher up does not count. If yuor nesting boxes are high enough that the chickens can get under them, they do not take up any usable space in this calculation.

    If all you use your coop for is for roosting, you can get away with as little as two sq ft per bird.

    This may cause more discussion than it stops. Sorry.
  6. Dancing

    Dancing Out Of The Brooder

    May 5, 2009
    Prescott, KS
    No, it really does help, thank you.

    I'm taking photos every step of the way with the coop and some other "out buildings" we are going to be making. I'm going to keep the "finished design" a secret though until I can post pics.
  7. Kesha

    Kesha Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 4, 2009
    Stafford, VA
    We have an 8x8 coop and a 8x16 foot run. We had 25 chickens, now just 24 [​IMG]
    They love it. We let them out of the run during the day and they go back in at night and we close the door behind them. There run has turned into just a hallway from the yard to the coop.

    They need plenty of ventalation. We have two windows, the main door, the hatch to the run and a bathroom ventalation fan. Food and water and you are good to go.

    Ours is also insulated for the winter. we spoil ours as well. We painted the inside a pretty pink and a matching pink and while floor and then they poo'd all over everything so you can leave out the pretties.
  8. Dancing

    Dancing Out Of The Brooder

    May 5, 2009
    Prescott, KS
    I'm working on convincing him to do the insulation and melamine (shower surround) on the walls. Drywall is just such a pain to finish out.

    Our plan is to have two windows, the human sized door and the chicken door, situating it so that it picks up the breezes we have here on our little hill top.

    I also have a 12x12 canopy that we used at our old house on the deck and I'm going to shade part of the yard with that. It will help keep atleast part of the yard dry during rain too. Atleast I hope so.

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