opinions about space

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ebonykawai, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. I'm wondering if this would be OK for the girls. I have a 4x4 coop, 6 ft tall, and am planning an 8x10 run, probably 5 ft high. I want to have the coop door open all the time (yes, I plan to be very strict with construction to ensure that nothing can get inside), with plastic strips over the chicken door so that they can come and go freely, even in winter. With 2 roosts inside, the nest boxes outside, and food/water under a sheltered space just outside the chicken door, would this be enough space for 6 RIRs? Thanks for your input!

    ETA: I'm going to do a 8x12 run instead. Seems to make more sense if I'm using 2x2x8s anyway, plus it will give more space.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2008
  2. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    That should be fine by my opinion if they arnt locked in all winter.

  3. No, I don't plan to lock them in at all. I want them to have free access to come and go as they please. Plus....I don't wanna get out of bed early every morning, lol. [​IMG]
  4. brooster

    brooster Songster

    Jun 14, 2007
    northwest Ohio
    as long as they are not locked p they will be fine.
  5. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    Well, you will get lots of opinions on this. I'd have to say I wouldn't put more than 4 hens in there, but then I see people advertize coops that size and say they will hold tons more. I think they are a little crazy. I sell 4x4's and I tell my customers, 4 heavy breeds, 5 standards, and 8 bantams, but I'm going to fudge a little on my own. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2008
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It should be reasonably okay as long as the run is well-sheltered so they do in fact feel comfortable going out there most times, even in the winter. Also, while you will probably need your waterer indoors at least for winter, such a small space may need the feeder outdoors, which will make it even more important to ensure that outdoors is always a comfy place for them to go.

    But recognize that with such a small coop you will be running greater risks of developing problems such as the chickens pecking each other apart. There is no way to guarantee whether it will or won't happen in any particular case, but the less space they have, the higher the chances. Depends on whether you'd rather minimize the chances while you're still in the design stage, or try to deal with it when and if it occurs.

    Good luck,

  7. Well, I already have the coop built, so now it's just a matter of making the run as large and comfy as possible. And I may only keep 5 birds instead of 6.

    What I've almost certainly decided on is a chain link fence/dog kennel. I can get a 7-1/2'X13' cheaper than what it would cost me to build with wood from scratch. I plan to have a canvas cover for shade and snow/rain protection. I'll also wrap 2 sides with a tarp in the winter so as to keep as much snow out as humanly possible.

    Yeah, I think maybe 5 birds would be better. I don't have them yet. I think I'd be more comfortable with 5. Thanks everyone!
  8. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    It also depends on your weather. Even though they can freely go in and out, they will roost inside the coop at night. In the winter, huddled all together is fine for warmth. In the summer, huddled all together can be extremely hot.

    If you put roosts outside, the birds will probably roost out there in the summer (be sure to put hardware cloth on the sides and roof of your pen if anything can reach the birds). However, if they get used to roosting outside, it is hard to get them to come inside in the winter. My solution was to take down the outside roosts...
  9. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Hi ebonykawai-

    (edited top remove what I wrote about exterior nest boxes..I see you are already doing that.) If you're considering a poop-catcher under the roost (highly recommended IMO!) make it a droppings BOARD rather than pit, mounted high enough so they can freely walk under it.

    I think patandchickens is totally right on: you're probably more likely to have pecking problems in a littler coop. We were aiming for 4 sq feet interior space per standard hen when designing ours. We have about 5.5 sq feet per girl now, with a 6 x 11 run for 6 hens, and even that feels a little tight in winter. But that's just our experience. I know others have kept birds more crowded than than with no issues.

    Have fun and post pics for us!

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  10. foamspoon

    foamspoon Songster

    Apr 17, 2007
    My coop is 4x4(Dog house) my girls only go inside for roosting and laying. Even in the rain and snow they wont go inside. The food and water stay outside and I put the food inside at night. my hens do not seem to mind the tight quarters.



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