overcrowding and winter?


Oct 20, 2013
Southeast, IA
Hello fellow avian enthusiasts!

So this is my 3rd winter with chickens and previously I was unconcerned. Now I am starting to question myself. I built a new coop this spring and I am very proud of it. Especially since I am not experienced in construction. However when I did the design it was meant for 4-5 hens, now with winter approaching I find myself with 11 ( chicken math strikes again!). Below I am posting some pics of the coop in hopes of gaining some insight and advice from everyone or a kick in the rear if I am way outta line in my preparations. LOL

A few things to mention about my coop are:
- that it is not insulated, ( we are in SE Iowa, so I don't see this as a problem),
-the coops exterior measurements are 6'x8' (the max allowed by my town, this includes the run space).
-The coop sits 30 inches off the ground and the enclosed run extends entirely under the coop.
- north and south walls have a 4" vent at the top extending the entire length of the wall. ( 5' & 8') Okay I KNOW I said it was 6'x8' but its kind of a hexagon shape, the pics should explain this better.
-East and west walls have a 1" vent
-The coop itself is only 6' tall at its tallest and 5" at the shortest (minus the 30" of run underneath so there isn't much height above the hens
-8' of interior roosts
- Oh and only 2 nest boxes

My girls are 2 blk sex link, 2 red SL, 1 salmon favorelle, 2 americaunas, 4 silkies

What I plan to do:

-I have heavy weight plastic to wrap the run and south,north and western wall of the coop and run. Including the north vents? As they are at roost height in some spots? The south vent will remain open (its 8' long). I access the eggs and run from the east side
-I have heated trays for the water which will remain outside in the run as will the food
- I am debating adding sand to the floor of my coop and run. I have never had a problem with either staying dry but we are in the midst of a heavy 3 day rain and I just started to notice some puddles in the run.
- adding a 2x4x6' roost under the coop so they can get up out of the snow as well as 2 more nest boxes in the run ( I don't know where I could put them in the coop).
-I won't be adding any heat source as we don't get cold enough to justify it and the coop is too small to do it safely, plus I think the problem I will face is more with the excess warmth and hens creating too much moisture than it being cold.

Any other suggestions?

The Coop:

Northwest view

northeast view

East side, run access and hatch for nest boxes. The people door has plexiglass over the hardware cloth.

South Side, this side has the pop door.

Ladder style roosts ( am open to changing this)

sorry it is kinda blurry, show nest boxes below, poop tray and above roost

shows the vent between coop wall and roof.

The existing windows have hardware cloth and plexi glass panes that I add and remove depending on the season.

I hope the explanations are clear enough and not too confusing. Do you think I will have enought ventilation or should I leave part of the north vent open? There is about 2' that arent near a roost.

Thank you for any input you have. I am usually pretty confident in my setup but I did get myself a bit worked up about the overcrowding this year. Typically the girls free range our yard throughout the summer so the smaller run isn't an issue. I am hoping some toys will help with any boredom we come across.


Oct 20, 2013
Southeast, IA
the coop is 3' deep and measures 8' along the south wall and 5' along the north. It ends up being about 20 sg ft if I'm not mistaken and then the run is an additional 44sq ft'. Considerably below the recommended space requirements for 11 hens.


6 Years
Apr 3, 2014
I think you'll be OK. All the books I've read say that about 2 sq ft is good and with the run I think you'll be fine. (others might disagree)
You're just one chicken over the limit then. If you aren't having any bullying problems now then I think your fine.

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