Please let me know How much space do you have for your chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Nslangton, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Nslangton

    Nslangton Chillin' With My Peeps

    201
    9
    91
    Jan 19, 2012
    I have done a lot of research and everyone seems to have a different opinion. So I hope to get several responses and see how closely everyone follows the 4 square feet of coop 10 square feet of run rule of thumb. What size is your coop, your run, and how many chickens do you have? Does ceiling height make a difference? Any problems with the number of birds, etc.
     
  2. Kay56

    Kay56 Chillin' With My Peeps

    134
    2
    81
    Jan 11, 2012
    Hi...I am new here and have 8 chicks coming in May. Anyways, the plans we bought to build a coop said it would easily house 9 chickens. It is going to be a big stretch to have more than 6 comfortably without crowding. It is 4x5 with the nest boxes included inside. I really wish i had spent more time looking and asking about this. I would love to have more chickens but unless we build another coop it will just not happen. So with that said, please go bigger than you think you might need. We really love the plans and it is almost finished but we feel it is just not big enough to house more. I have spent so much time taking notes, reading books,and spending time on this site I feel I am getting chicken overload.....Unfortunately we will have to give away at least 3 of the chicks. The run is going to be 4x12 so that should help some. Good luck!
    I went to Tractor Supply to check out the chicks today and I wanted to bring them all home.....
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  3. CSWolffe

    CSWolffe Chillin' With My Peeps

    259
    23
    111
    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    I had four hens; my coop is 6' by 4', giving me 24 sq ft; my run was 8' by 4', giving me 36 sq ft. That was pretty close to the 4/10 rule. But that was not enough. They got bored, and the dominant hen began plucking, pecking, and finally trying to kill and eat my sweet little RIR. She now lives on a free range egg farm. Three hens in that space was not enough, so I expanded into my strawberry patch, which was conveniently covered, giving me another 40 sq ft of run for a total of almost 80 sq ft. Still not enough. I have to let them out for a few hours every evening to ravage my yard.
    If you are going to keep your girls locked up in a pen, then I think 100 sq ft per bird is the minimum. That's not really that much when you think about it, only 10' by 10'. That is not a lot of space to run around in.
     
  4. Nslangton

    Nslangton Chillin' With My Peeps

    201
    9
    91
    Jan 19, 2012
    Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately my coop is already built and can't be expanded. It is inside another building that we use as a tack/supply room for the barn animals. It is heated, tile floors, several large windows. The coop is only 4x6 with an 8 foot ceiling. I was hoping height would help. There is also a large window in the coop. I already have 7 chicks. We ordered 6, but they threw in an extra. I already love them all, so I don't think I could get rid of any. My run is 8x10 and 10' high. Hope I can make them all happy with the limited space.
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    My coop is 5 x 13 feet. So 65 square feet of floor space, and about 8 feet high. The head space serves no purpose other then my own comfort when working in the coop. The birds do not use that space as their roosts are only about 3 1/2 foot high. I have 7 standard chickens in there and I wouldn't want it any smaller or any more chickens in there. That's about 9.28 square feet per bird and they are comfortable enough to spend the day in there when the weather is bad without anybody getting nasty and pecking. If somebody does get stinky there's room to get away.

    My run is 13 x 23 feet. I could get away with a smaller run but my chickens are happy so I wouldn't want it any smaller. They also are let out about noon every day to roam in my pasture. On days when I need to keep them in the coop/run they have plenty of space to be comfortable.

    I personally would never cram as many chickens into the amount of space that is the supposed rule of thumb. Just for their own comfort and well being. If you are lucky it will work out. If you are not lucky you may get a pecking problem started and then good luck getting that stopped.

    With 7 chickens you are already below the minimum square footage as far as coop space. Keep a close eye on them as they mature. You might also want to consider a roof for the run so that in bad weather they don't have to choose between being out in the rain/snow or crowding into a packed coop, especially if you get a bossy hen who wants her space!
     
  6. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    661
    7
    131
    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    I had 10 birds at 5.5 sq ft and I lost three. I ordered 10 which means I ordered 12, ;) so I'm at 3.5 ish sq ft. per bird. They have a free range yard. Huge yard, woods, ect. I mean, factory shoves four into the space of a shoebox. My girls get access to good quality food and water 24/7. I dont think it's a huge issue. Just keep them happy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  7. Nslangton

    Nslangton Chillin' With My Peeps

    201
    9
    91
    Jan 19, 2012
    Any Suggestions on keeping them happy? They seem great now, but they are only 2 weeks old. 1/2 of the run will be covered. They will get to free range when we are home. I don't know how that will work out, I live in the middle of a state park that is home to every predator known to man. I live on Mink Road and Mink Run Creek runs through our back yard so needless to say, we have a lot of minks. My dogs have always been allowed to get anything they can catch so we are spending lots of time teaching them that the chicks are not little snacks. I also have jerks for neighbors who will flip out if my chickens go on there property. I'll have to have my husband make a few portable runs I can move around. I am sure he will love that. I'm already way over budget and he has a list of about 100 other animal maintenance projects he has to do. [​IMG]
     
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    How about just fencing in an area for them with some easy, moveable, electric poultry netting? That will keep them from roaming to far and will help keep dogs and predators away from them.
    Can also toss flakes of alfalfa in the run for them to scratch apart, a flock block, anything to give them something to do and keep them busy for a while.

    As far as how much space factories cram their birds into, keep in mind they also clip their beaks to keep them from pecking each other.
     
  9. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    661
    7
    131
    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    How close are your neighbors to the coop? They will travel a bit when free ranging. And you will lose some when free ranging. But they enjoy it. So I let them.
     
  10. Nslangton

    Nslangton Chillin' With My Peeps

    201
    9
    91
    Jan 19, 2012
    Thanks for the advice, I will work something out. Do you think I could let them wander around the barn when the weather is bad? That would give them at least another 500 square feet when the animals are in and 1000 square feet when they are out, but its mostly concrete floor and we feed the horses timothy hay, so lots of that will be around. Would digging around a horse or goat stall make them sick. We much out daily, but there are always pieces left behind. As far as electric poultry netting, can it have a top on it? I have leghorns and hear they are pretty flighty.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by