Question on coop (new to this)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by maiday206, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. maiday206

    maiday206 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2009
    Hi everybody,

    I was fortunate enough to get a coop for free from a lady who is making her coop bigger. The coop is really small though, I have pics below. There is a top, I just didn't have it on for the pic. She said she had 2 hens in there, I was hoping for 4, but I'm thinking I'll have to have 2 or 3 at most. The coop is about 31'' by 31". I do however plan on letting them free range as much as they want all over the back yard. I've heard they don't need as much room if they free range. I'm thinking about just taking off the chicken wire completely so the chickens can come and go as they please and putting the food and water outside the coop. We are in a tract home so the entire backyard is fenced in and I'm not too worried about predators. We also live in Southern Ca so the weather is pretty warm.


    1. Any suggestions would be appreciated!! I know, not a question, but I'm new to this, so I would love anything you have to say.

    2. How many hens do you think I could have? Regular sized breeds, RIR, Barred rock, etc.

    3. Do you think having the coop open is okay?

    4. How many, if any being it's a small coop nest boxes do you think I need? And what size?

    Thanks in advance!!


  2. Chicky Tocks

    Chicky Tocks [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2666.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Ru

    Oct 20, 2008
    Benton, Arkansas
    In that I wouldn't put more than two standard hens. One nest box.

    I would definately cover the roost box.

    Congrats on your lucky find!
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    You might be able to fit three... a roo and two hens... breeding pen?
  4. Chicken03

    Chicken03 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2009
    Western Pa
    Yeah 2 is all I would put in it. Looks nice. [​IMG]
  5. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    By "open" do you mean roof free? You can't do that, but when you put the roof on, you might want to consider putting a hinge at/near the top so that you can reach in easily.

    You're going to need better wire on your run. That looks like plastic? Landscape netting maybe? Hardware wire is more sturdy if you have predator problems.

    That tiny coop will be cute with a little love.
  6. mmtillman

    mmtillman Chillin' With My Peeps


    Welcome to BYC! You are gonna love it here!! [​IMG]
  7. agirly4chicks

    agirly4chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2009
    Hamilton, Georgia USA
    If you have considered taking down the wire why not cover that with wood to make the living space bigger? Just a thought.

    Good Luck!!!
  8. maiday206

    maiday206 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2009
    Yes, the coop has a roof, you can take it off or prop it up to reach inside for the eggs. I just didn't put it on for the pics.

    I didn't think of maybe just making the run into another coop area... that's not a bad idea...

    I meant open as far as just the door, I will definitely leave the roof on though.

    Thanks for all comments so far!! I have my feeder and waterer, I planned on putting it in the run area. I bought shavings at the feed store, but I asked for pine and they said yes, sold it to me and when I got home, I read it closer and it's cedar [​IMG]

    I have heard cedar is bad for chickens so I plan on seeing if I can return the cedar and see if they actually sell pine.

    I have found a few places that sell the types of chickens and ages I'm looking for, but they are all about an hour away. I'm hoping on having my chickens though within 2 weeks.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Coop size questions are not always easy to answer. You have about 6.6 square feet. The rule of thumb is that you need 4 square feet of coop for each chicken. That comes with certain assumptions however. It assumes you have at least 10 square feet of run area for each chicken. It allows space for the chickens to be able to get to food and water in the coop. It assumes that there will be times the chickens are locked in the coop, but not for long periods of time. It takes into account the poop load a coop can carry with "standard" poop management practices and adequate ventilation. It assumes you will not necessarily let them out of the coop at the crack of dawn every day, but that you don't leave them in the coop very much past the crack of dawn. It assumes you have enough chickens for averages to mean something. It is a good rule of thumb but not infallible.

    One of the risks of not having enough coop room are that tight spaces encourages cannibalism. Once it starts in a flock, it is very hard to stop. Chickens also do not handle ammonia and humidity very well. If the poop builds up, or especially if it gets wet, you can have problems. The amount of ventilation enters into this.

    With all that said, if you feed and water out of the coop, the 4 square feet shrinks. If the nest box is either off the floor where the chickens can get under it (they are ground-dwelling birds so the ground area is pretty much all that counts) all your coop area counts. Otherwise deduct the nest box area.

    If you have more than 10 square feet per chicken in the run, the chickens have access to the run all the time, and you feed and water in the run so the chickens have no real reason to go in the coop and you have a climate where the chickens can be outside all the time, the coop is just a roosting area and can be fairly small. Chickens need between 8" to 12" of roosting length each. The warmer and more humid the nights, the more room they need. But they also poop a lot at night, so you do need sufficient area to handle the poop load.

    In your climate they do not have to be in the coop an extraordinary length of time, so with a proper set-up your coop can be fairly small. If you really can let the chickens go outside all the time, you could probably get 3 chickens in that coop without too much problem, but be prepared to clean the poop out on a regular basis. Mainly go by smell or if it looks damp.

    Chickens do not like hot sun either. They handle cold better than heat. Make sure they have shade and plenty of water.

    I will add a caution. Be sure about the predator situation. I lived in suburbia with a totally enclosed back yard. My next door neightbor had a raccoon den in his attic. It was not unusual to see raccoons entering the storm drains early in the morning when I was driving to work. I caught a possum in a live trap in my back yard. I personally would not feel comfortable not locking the chickens up at night in a secure place. Chicken wire and plastic screening will not stop a raccoon.

    In my opinion, you could make that coop and run secure and lock the chickens in their from dusk to dawn and do OK with 2 or 3 chickens. You will still be at risk during the day, but the risk is much greater a night.

    As far as the nesting box, the rule of thumb is 1 individual nesting box for every 4 hens. You only need one nesting box. For your breeds the minimum size I'd go with is 12" x 12". I made mine 16" x 16" as I think if they have a little more room they are less likely to break an egg getting in and out. That is only my opinion and not a rule of thumb.
  10. maiday206

    maiday206 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2009
    Thank you Ridgerunner, that's a lot of good information to think about.

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