new to raising chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hollyberryix, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. hollyberryix

    hollyberryix New Egg

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    Feb 16, 2012
    my boyfriend is going to build a coop how large should it be for 15 hens and 1 rooster????
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    :frow Welcome to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us! :frow

    There is not one size that is right for everybody. How much space chickens need depends on a lot of different things, such as the individual chicken’s personality, the breed and size (bantam or large fowl), your climate, your management practices and many other things. There is a rough rule of thumb on this forum that calls for 4 square feet per chicken in the coop along with 10 square feet in the run. This is more than the absolute minimum many of us actually need and will keep almost everybody out of trouble almost all the time. Chickens do need some space. It really does not matter if that space is in the coop, coop plus run, or some other way. Space does need to be available so that is where your management practices come in. With certain climates and management practices, 2 square feet in the coop is enough, but they need constant access to other space if you try that. Plan for your worst weather days, not your best. Things that work fine during the balmy days of summer don’t work real well when you have to get up before daylight to shovel snow so they can get outside before you leave for work.

    A few things I’ll mention. Much building materials come in 4’ and 8’ dimensions. If you watch your dimensions and use out-to-out instead of centerline, you can usually build a 8’ x 12’ for the same basic cost with less cutting and wasted material you have to dispose of than a 7’ x 11’. You might want to consider the roof material and bracing in this before you get too hooked on it. The wider the coop (or run if you cover it) the larger the lumber needs to be to span that distance. You might need 2x6’s instead of 2x4’s and they might need to be 10 feet long instead of 8 feet. So there can be tradeoffs with this. Design your roof for wind, snow, and ice loads.

    I find the bigger I make the run or coop, the less I have to work. I firmly believe the less often I have to shovel out my coop, the better, for example. More space also gives me more flexibility in how I manage my chickens. I have enough space that I can let a broody raise her chicks with the flock and I can integrate brooder raised chicks with the flock. If you have the minimum space, those get a lot harder. Other than the cost of building a bigger coop, I don’t know of anybody that has ever complained about having too big a coop or run.

    Since you will have a rooster with your hens, you might want to hatch chicks. If you do, plan for them.

    I don’t know enough about your specific situation, your goals, your climate, or how you plan to manage them to give hard and fast numbers as to how much space you really need. In my situation, I would not dream of going less than 8’ x 8’ for 16 chickens and would probably go with an 8’ x 12', but I have lots of outside space and a pretty mild climate where they can get outside practically every day. I also don't like to work harder than I have to.

    I’ll include a few links to articles about coops that I think everyone should read before designing one. Hope they help you, good luck, and once again :frow


    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run
     
  3. hollyberryix

    hollyberryix New Egg

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    Feb 16, 2012
    we live in meridian ms and on plenty of land[​IMG]
    this is ut our back door
     

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