Nervous about coop size...help?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChickNewbies, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. ChickNewbies

    ChickNewbies New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Mar 28, 2012
    Northeastern Utah
    We are very new to the whole chicken raising thing and though we are very excited and enthusiastic about the whole process, we have no idea what we're doing! So, here is what we have so far...
    Our coop (which does not have nesting boxes yet as we are still building it!) is 4'x4'. Our run is 4'x9'. We plan on having the chickens only in the coop at night or to lay and will let them out of the run by propping open the door during the day so they can enjoy the plentiful amounts of grasshoppers in our yard (yay!). How many chickens would you say that a coop of this size is appropriate for? How many nesting boxes should we have? How much roosting space do we need? We have already gotten 8 chicks (only one of which is a Bantam). Hoping that this is not too many...
    Also, how much ventilation does the coop need? Mind you, we live in Utah where winters can often get quite cold. Would ventilation like a window that is able to be propped open be most appropriate or would screened cutouts be better?

    Sorry for all the questions! As I said, we're super new at this (hence the name, chick newbies :))

    Thanks all, in advance!
     
  2. dulcimer lady

    dulcimer lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    154
    1
    111
    Apr 22, 2010
    I didn't understand if their yard time will be in the run or free range on the property? The general rule of thumb is that each chickens needs 3 square feet of space so you either base the size of your run off of how many chickens you have or base how many chickens to get based off the size of your run. Nesting boxes...I've had 10 share 3 boxes quite easily. If they are free ranging in the yard, your concerns about how much room they need won't be as serious as it would be if they are confined to the run 24/7.
     
  3. ChickNewbies

    ChickNewbies New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Mar 28, 2012
    Northeastern Utah
    Sorry about the confusion. They will be free ranging in the yard for the most part but we have built a run as well that is 9x4 for the occasional times when they won't be out and about. Thank you for answering!
     
  4. dabomb

    dabomb New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Mar 29, 2012
    I would say that for the run the chickens need about 3-4 feet per bird for the run
     
  5. WI FarmChick

    WI FarmChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    380
    18
    103
    Feb 22, 2012
    Wisconsin
    There are lots of different opinions on this topic.

    I have read here on BYC from some old timers that more is better.

    easier for poop management.

    More the "elbow" room less problems with most chicken behaviors.

    You will get lots of different opinions.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Lisa
     
  6. tyjaco

    tyjaco Chillin' With My Peeps

    180
    6
    113
    May 4, 2010
    Cloverdale, CA
    Hi chickNewbie!
    Welcome to the world of chickens!! I think "chicken math" may be in your future :)

    In my opinion, 8 hens will need more room insde the coop. The problem with not having enough space is that they may get irritated with each other being SO close and when that happens, they really can get mean. They may start pecking each other - then some of your fun goes away - but please - DON'T give up!! The chicken world wants you!!

    before I moved last summer, my coop was 4' x 8'. I felt comfortable that it was big enough for 6 hens. I think it would be ok for 8 hens, too. I realize one of yours is bantam, but I would plan bigger anyway. One of my chicks turned out to be a cockerel so I had to get rid of him, and one of the hens died, so I ended up with only 4 hens, but having the extra space made ALL of us happy. I didn't stress if they were locked in longer than usual, and the poop management was easier.

    Is there any way you can easily increase the size of the coop?
     
  7. WI FarmChick

    WI FarmChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    380
    18
    103
    Feb 22, 2012
    Wisconsin
    I have 40 chickens 4 are roosters (will be keeping them in a separate coop later) 7 weeks old.

    When we planed our coop we planed for 4 sqft per bird inside the coop and 10 sqft per bird in the outside run.

    we also built our coop up off the ground 21/2 ft. so in winter they will be able to go under the coop for a snow free area.

    will block off 3 sides for this.

    More ventilation it has the better. But no drafts...that will make for cold birds in the winter time. how much ventilation does the coop need? Mind you, we live in Utah where winters can often get quite cold. Would ventilation like a window that is able to be propped open be most appropriate or would screened cutouts be better?

    3-4 birds generally speaking. We have already gotten 8 chicks (only one of which is a Bantam). Hoping that this is not too many...

    10" - 12" per bird. How much roosting space do we need?

    2-3 per bird but they will mostly use there favorite 2 or 3. How many nesting boxes should we have?
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  8. la dee da

    la dee da Chillin' With My Peeps

    610
    12
    144
    Dec 18, 2008
    Virginia
    The general rule is 4 square feet of inside space and 10 square feet of run space per standard sized bird, half that for bantams. I've seen some people give their birds 2 square feet per bird inside the coop, but those birds are almost never in the coop. Your coop and run sound about right for 4 hens, though if it snows a lot in your area (I don't know what Utah is like) you may want to build bigger as the hens will be stuck inside a lot. The general rule for nest boxes is 1 for every 3-4 hens in the coop and for roosts 8-12 inches per standard bird and half that for bantams.

    Ventilation is about letting out the bad air, and letting in the good air without letting in a draft. The more crowded your coop is, the more ventilation you'll need. You need plenty of ventilation, even in winter, so try to put the ventilation where it won't chill your hens while they sleep when winter hits. Ventilation will be harder if your coop is small, but people manage to do it all the time so don't be scared! Look at other small coops and see how they did ventilation, that'll give you a few ideas. To better understand ventilation I'd recommend you read this:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop

    You already got 8 chicks so if you feel your coop isn't big enough, make a second (you can connect them through the run) or add on to your current one.

    Most importantly, don't panic! Use what you have and if it's not good enough, change it. Relax and enjoy your chicken adventure [​IMG]
     
  9. vjbakke

    vjbakke Chillin' With My Peeps

    529
    0
    129
    Mar 21, 2011
    MN
    We have 2.5 -3 ft per bird in the coop and over 15 ft per bird in the run.
     
  10. ChickNewbies

    ChickNewbies New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Mar 28, 2012
    Northeastern Utah
    Thanks for your help everyone! Sounds like we'll be making some modifications this wknd!
    Have a great day :)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by