Question on size of run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TominWa, May 7, 2017.

  1. TominWa

    TominWa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read a bunch of threads on this and am still confused. I realize bigger is better, but space is getting in my way.

    I currently have 8 6 week old chicks living in a nice walk in coup approx 50 sq ft. I built an additional little run that they can access during the daytime that is an additional 32 sp ft.

    Now here is my question. Am I reading correctly that my main coup is plenty big....about 6 1/2 sq per chicken, however what I read is that if I do any type of outside run at all it has to be a good 80 sq feet in addition to the 50 sq ft coup? Or do the two of them count together. If so I am a good 10 sq ft per chicken.
     
  2. Dayrel

    Dayrel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chickens normally don't spend the day in the coop. That is basically for sleeping and laying eggs. The run space should ideally be separate.
     
  3. TominWa

    TominWa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Got it......going to carve out another 70sq ft.....hope they appreciate this!
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You might try following the link in my signature below for some of my thoughts on space. It won’t answer your question but might give you a little insight as to what I think is important.

    Chickens do not understand the concept of coop space versus run space. To them space is space, wherever it might be. It’s not a pure square feet per chicken thing either, the quality of the room is important. If they have access to that run when they are awake then you are in really good shape. If they are locked in that coop for a while when they are awake it’s still not bad.

    Just like most people, if another chicken is crowding into their personal space all the time, some chickens can get irritated. Some chickens can handle that a lot better than others, just like some people can. The tighter you pack them the more likely you are to have some behavioral problems. The longer they are packed tightly the more likely you are to have behavioral issues. A lot of chickens can handle being packed fairly tight, but some can’t.

    One way chickens have learned to live together in a flock is that if there is conflict the weaker runs away from the stronger. You may see some conflict as they mature and set up a pecking order, but once they mature conflict is pretty rare as long as they are all hens. It’s that adolescent transition phase where you have your risk and usually it’s not that bad. Another thing that can happen is if two chickens don’t get along, the weaker avoids the stronger. That’s where quality comes in as much as pure square feet. If the bully is in the run, the one doing the avoiding may be in the coop. If they are both in the coop, the weaker may be on the roost while the bully is on the floor. It doesn’t matter if the coop has 6 square feet and the run only has 4, it’s good quality because they can avoid when they have access to both.

    If you integrate chickens, especially if they are younger immature birds, your need for space goes up. Same if you let a broody hen raise chicks with the flock. But once they get the pecking order straightened out, the need for that extra space isn’t as critical. It’s not a magic number type of thing, it’s a lot how you manage them.

    For different reasons I’m always an advocate for providing as much space as you reasonable can, whether in the coop or the run. I don’t know how much snow you might get in winter. If you can keep the snow out of that run and that run is available to them pretty much whenever they are awake, your set-up isn’t all that bad. If you don’t keep the snow out of at least part of the run, a bigger run won’t help you there, assuming you get much snow. Of course I’d like to see more run space. I think that will help your work load in non-snow conditions. And it gives you a little more flexibility if for some reason you need to respond to a problem. I really like flexibility, it has a way of reducing your stress levels when you have to deal with something.

    That coop is a good size for that many birds. You’ll probably be OK with that set-up but with chicken behaviors I can’t offer you guarantees whether you expand it or not. Just don’t add any more chickens.
     
  5. TominWa

    TominWa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Thank you. No snow here to speak of just a lot of rain so I made the little extension with three open sides and a roof.....think patio.

    I see what you are saying. I probably have enough space, but not enough space to take into account the behavior problems that might occur. It is rather confusing at first. But I think I get it.

    8 birds

    A nice 50 Sq ft walkin coup

    A nice 100 sq ft run with 32 sq feet of it patio so they can somewhat get outside during rainy days.....even if just for a bit.

    I am really glad I didn't just buy that coups they sell at the feed store. Those things are way too small for what they claim they are good for. I was lucky and had an old green house that I was able to convert with a nice cement floor and foundation walls. They are living pretty good.
     
  6. Dayrel

    Dayrel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely. They seem to be using space numbers for factory farms, which are not what most of us would want. I ended up buying a coop/run at Tractor Supply that was rated for 8 chickens. Looking in the coop area, 8 full-sized chickens would barely have room to move around. It should work fine for my three, however.
     
  7. wynn4578

    wynn4578 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a tractor supply run for my grow out pen but I did add wheels and a 100sqft run off of the front. Works pretty good for small chicks and so far it 3 years in. Most only seem to get about 1 year out of them but I also don't use mine year around. I've been looking at a company that builds the smaller coops/tractors out of aluminum and pvc sheets for a comparable price. For my adult flocks 5 to 7 birds per flock. I have movable chicken houses that you pull with a truck and colapsable runs that give them 200sqft per flock. That being said. It depends on the breed. Some breeds do well with little room. More aggressive or flighty birds tend to need more room or they become agitated and start picking at each other.
     
    SueT likes this.
  8. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

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    I made my new run 100 sq ft per hen, and they still turned it into a desert after a few months. Moveable pens sound like a great alternative if you want the advantages of pasture raised eggs but can't free range.
     

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