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Room to move in winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by timetoroost, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. timetoroost

    timetoroost Just Hatched

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    Mar 27, 2017
    Sagle, Idaho
    Hi everyone. I've read many threads CLOSE to my question but none seem to exactly address it. Bear in mind we live in Northern Idaho and this winter brought us enough snow and cold that our 12 Australorp hens stayed in their 10x12 building (minus 30 sq ft storage space) almost four months. We have a 10x20 run attached to it, but again, they weren't able to use it for a long time due to tons of snow. They seemed ok in that amount of space. We are adding another 12 soon...... I understand the 4 sq feet per chicken, but my thought is I cannot add the run space since the winter is so long. Do you recommend we increase the hen house size? Doing the math, it is big enough for 22 when you account for the storage, but it seems like they barely had enough space for the 12 for that long. In short, are we being silly thinking we need more room? We certainly can't afford to build more if we don't have to!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    "but it seems like they barely had enough space for the 12 for that long. In short, are we being silly thinking we need more room? "

    I think you answered your own question there..... before you even asked it!

    The 4/10 rules is a minimum guideline, IMO.
    Think it originated by doubling a common 2sqft commercial req.
    Here's a great article on Space for chickens:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

    Regardless, the harsher the climate the more important space and ventilation become.
    I pushed my population load this winter and wish I hadn't..and our winter was milder than usual. Some birds like to walk on the snow, other do not.
    Having a covered run with windbreaks on walls in winter can greatly increase your winter space.
    Sounds like maybe you free range, but a secure run can help if you get a predator overload event too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  3. timetoroost

    timetoroost Just Hatched

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    0
    10
    Mar 27, 2017
    Sagle, Idaho
    Thank you! That helps a lot. Yes, we free range as much as possible, but have the 10x20 fenced run for times they need more security. I like your idea about making it more winter-proof. Thanks, again!
     

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