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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by marianne907, Apr 16, 2011.
I have a chicken coop that is 10x12 hip roof design. Will it be big enough for 25 chickens?
At 4 sq ft per chicken, if i did my math right you should be fine.
10x12=120sqft/4sqft per chicken =30 chickens. Less if they are going to spend a lot of time in there for weather reasons.
All the post i see say 3 to 4 square feet per chkn
Welcome to the forum! Glad you joined us!
Will a 10' x 12' coop be big enough for 25 hens? That depends.
The usual rule of thumb on this forum is that you need a minimum of 4 square feet of coop space plus 10 square feet of run space for each chicken. Note that this is a minimum, not an absolute, this is exactly what you have to have, type of rule of thumb. Whether 4 + 10 is sufficient depends on the breed of chicken, how you manage them, your climate, and many other things. Commercial operations usually provide a lot less space, not because thjey are mean and cruel people that just like to torture animals but because they are in a business to feed their families and their profit margin is important. Space is costly. But to keep chickens in tighter spaces they trim the upper beak so the chickens cannot eat each other, carefully control the air quality, and have automatic means of handling the poop. Most of us don't do that. And not only are your chickens happier if they have extra space, they are usually less work for you to manage.
There are certain assumptions in this minimum rule of thumb. A critical one is that they may have to spend a lot of time in the coop without going outside, but that they usually have access to the outside. One usual reason for this is that the winter weather is so bad they can't get out, but this could also be for many other reasons. For example, if I have a hen that does not lay in the coop, I may leave them all locked up for several days while she breaks her bad habit of laying outside and learns to lay in the coop. Or it may be something as simple as you wanting to sleep in on a Saturday and you don't want to get up with the sun to let them out of the coop. Having more space gives you a lot more flexibility.
Another issue to consider is poop management. They poop a lot. They really do. The smaller the space you provide, they more you have to manage the poop to keep down health and smell problems.
Does this mean you cannot get by with less room? Of course you can. If you only provide a coop for sleeping and nest boxes and they have continuous access to a large outside space (much larger than the 10 square feet per chicken) from sunup to sunset 365 days a year, they can do fine. But this means you never sleep in, you have decent weather every day, and that you have someone very dependable to let them out very early if you ever decide to spend a night away from home. I like having more flexibility.
I'll include a write-up I did on space requirements for chickens, which might help you. But to answer your basic question, if you provide sufficient outside space, 25 hens can do quite well in that sized coop. I have an 8' x 12' coop, 12' x 32' run, and I usually free range (no fences) mine. My current flock is one rooster and six hens, but I have kept as many as 34 chickens (mostly young ones in the summer) at one time with this set-up.
Here is the write-up I mentioned. Good luck and again,
As long as you have enough height for the roosts to be noticeably higher than the nest boxes, height does not matter to chickens. They are basically ground dwelling birds, so the ground area is all that really matters space wise. I said it does not matter to the chickens. It does matter to me if I have to work in there. It matters quite a bit.
If the nest boxes are high enough off the ground that the chickens can easily get under them, then nest boxes do not take away from the space available. The tops of the nesting boxes does not add to the living space either although they may occasionally be up there. Ground level is what counts.
Some of the things that make up the space requirement are, in my opinion:
1. Personal space for the birds. They have different personalities and different individual requirements. Some are very possessive of personal space and some can share.
2. Access to feeder and waterer. The general recommendation is that they all be able to eat at one time, but access to the waterer is also important. Part of this is that they seem to like to all eat at once but not necessarily drink at the same time. Part of it is that a dominant bird may keep others from eating or drinking, especially with limited access.
3. Being able to put the feeder and waterer where they will not poop in it when they roost.
4. Roost space. They not only need to have enough room to roost, they need to have enough room for them to sort out who gets to sleep next to whom and who gets the prime spots. They also need enough room to get on the roosts and get off them. When they get on, they may jump from some midway support or fly directly to the roost, but either way, they like to spread their wings. And some chickens seem to enjoy blocking the entry points if there are limits. And when they get off, mine tend to want to fly down, not jump to a halfway point. They need room to fly down without bumping into feeders, waterers, nesting boxes, or a wall.
5. Poop load. The larger area they have the less often you have to actively manage the poop. They poop a lot while on the roost so you may have to give that area special consideration, but mucking out the entire coop can be backbreaking work plus you have to have some place to put all that bedding and poop. In my opinion, totally cleaning out the coop is something that needs to happen as seldom as possible.
6. How often are they able to get out of the coop. The more they are confined to the coop, the larger the personal space needs to be. The normal recommendation on this forum is 4 square feet per full sized chicken with a minimum of 10 square feet of run per bird. This additional requirement outside is sometimes not mentioned. How often they are allowed out of the coop may depend on a lot more than just weather. Your work schedule, when you are able to turn them loose, what time of day you open the pop door to let them out or lock them up at night, all this and more enters into the equation. The 4 square feet recommendation assumes they will spend extended time in the coop and not be able to get in the run. What that extended time can safely be depends on a lot of different factor so there is no one correct length of time for everyone.
7. Do you feed and water in the coop or outside. The more they are outside, the less pressure on the size of the coop.
8. The size of the chicken. Bantams require less room than full sized chickens. This has to be tempered by breed and the individual personalities. Some bantams can be more protective of personal space than others, but this is also true of full sized breeds.
9. The breed of the chicken. Some handle confinement better than others.
10. The number of chickens. The greater the number of chickens, the more personal space they can have if the square foot per chicken stays constant. Let me explain. Assume each chicken occupies 1 square foot of space. If you have two chickens and 4 square feet per chicken, the two chickens occupy 2 square feet, which leaves 6 square feet for them to explore. If you have ten chickens with 4 square feet per chicken, each chicken has 30 unoccupied square feet to explore. A greater number also can give more space to position the feeders and waterers properly in relation to the roosts and provide access. Im not encouraging you to crowd your birds if you have a large number of them. Im trying to say you are more likely to get in trouble with 4 square feet per chicken if you have very few chickens.
11. What is your flock make-up. A flock with more than one rooster may be more peaceful if it has more space. I don't want to start the argument about number or roosters here as I know more than one rooster can often peacefully coexist with a flock, but I firmly believe more space helps.
12. What is the maximum number of chickens you will have. Consider hatching chicks or bringing in replacements. Look down the road a bit.
13. Do you want a broody to raise chicks with the flock? A broody needs sufficient room to work with or you risk problems from other chickens.
I'm sure I am missing several components, but the point I'm trying to make is that we all have different conditions. There is no magic number that suits us all. The 4 square feet in a coop with 10 square feet in the run is a good rule of thumb for a minimum that most of the time will keep us out of trouble, but not always. I do believe that more is better both in the coop and in the run.
that should be enough
Thank you so much. We live in Alaska and it should be no problem during the summer, but we will have to put them in the coop during the late evening to give them some darkness.
My husband was raise on a very large chicken farm and he said that we would have to build a bigger coop if I didn't want to do a lot of clean up. But I figured What does he know. Thanks again for all of your help. I guess I'll have to tell him he is right. I hate to do that.lol
Quote:How many of these chickens will you be carrying over the winter? If you are in a warm part of Alaska they may go out some reasonable amount in the winter if you can make sure the run isn't windy, but in some parts of the state they may be indoors for long chunks of time and if you do that then you would want *a lot* more than 4 sq ft per overwintered chicken.
Good luck, have fun,
We plan to keep most of them for the winter. Due to no daylight during most of the winter months, they will have to remain inside so that we can regulate the lighting so the will lay.