Please advise

horsesNchicks

Chirping
Jun 9, 2017
55
44
61
High Desert of California
I have one 4x6 coop and my BF is building me a 8x8 coop with a 8x36 run in between the coops..... how many large chickens would be suitable for that size set up? They will have about a 1/2 acre to free range when I let them out but will be in the chicken run when I am not home. Thanks in advance
 

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,491
5,540
502
NW Oregon
Generally 4 sq feet per bird coop space (although if just night roosting can be 2 sq feet)
Coop run should be 10 sq feet per bird.

So with your math: one coop is 24 sq feet, so 6 to 8 birds (possibly 10 if just roosting at night) and the other is 64 sq feet, so possibly 18 in the other....maybe more if just roosting.

Your run is 288 square feet, so 28 birds (which would be crowded in my opinion...okay for a short holding pen but not for long term)....which means you've got adequate room in that run for your small flock to stay in comfortably.

Your numbers look spot on.

I have two coops in which I can hold 10 birds night time roost on one coop and about 6 at most on the other. They will hold happily in the inner courtyard (which I euphemistically call the prison yard) for a day if need be. They too free range on 1/3 acre during the day.

LofMc
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jan 30, 2015
56,997
228,879
1,687
A great link from JaeG.

The space requirements given are not written in stone as there are a number of variables that influence space requirements. They are a good starting point however. Your climate, how many weeks / months of the year your flock will prefer to remain in the coops, whether part of your run is protected from the elements and winter daylight hours are examples of the variables to consider.

An issue that you may run into is that it's likely that all of the flock will end up in one of the coops (assuming they share the run) - they are social animals, and thrive in the comfort of numbers. Unless you can find a way of joining the two coops together, then you could run into overcrowding issues if you keep more than smallest coop can comfortably house (i.e. 6 chickens). Alternatively, you may wish to consider dividing the run proportionally in relation to each coop (i.e. number of chickens in each coop).

Whatever you decide, I'd suggest starting with fewer than you think the coops / run can hold and see how they go for at least a year (or certainly, the winter) and then decide from there if expanding the flock is feasible.
 

horsesNchicks

Chirping
Jun 9, 2017
55
44
61
High Desert of California
If they all reach maturity I will have 18 laying hens so sounds like I should be good. They will be free ranging with my 2 horses but they are sweet and tolerate a lot. I will have my BF divide the run so I can separate the hens if need be so no overcrowding in coop. I live in the high desert of Southern California so our winters are mild but we do get in the teens some days. Summer mostly between 90-105. I am having a sprinkler installed to cool them off if they do choose and shade of course also protection from the wind which we get a lot of......I am so glad I found this group so much knowledge in one place Thank you for your responses and input.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,517
20,802
907
Southeast Louisiana
I'd be OK with 18 hens in that set-up. They should all be able to sleep in the bigger coop without a problem, just don't leave them locked in the coop only for long periods of time.

I don't know what you plan for the future as far as replacing hens and integration, but that small coop on the far end of the run will make a great grow-out coop, a place to isolate one or more chickens if you need to, or maybe a placed for a broody if you go that route. A separate coop often comes in very handy. With that in mind I'd put a fence across the run to create a separate small run for that coop, 6' to 8' wide would be great. Put in a human door so you can get through. Just leave that door open unless you have isolated chickens using it.
 

horsesNchicks

Chirping
Jun 9, 2017
55
44
61
High Desert of California
I'd be OK with 18 hens in that set-up. They should all be able to sleep in the bigger coop without a problem, just don't leave them locked in the coop only for long periods of time.

I don't know what you plan for the future as far as replacing hens and integration, but that small coop on the far end of the run will make a great grow-out coop, a place to isolate one or more chickens if you need to, or maybe a placed for a broody if you go that route. A separate coop often comes in very handy. With that in mind I'd put a fence across the run to create a separate small run for that coop, 6' to 8' wide would be great. Put in a human door so you can get through. Just leave that door open unless you have isolated chickens using it.
That is a fabulous idea thank you.
 

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