# Run expansion

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mpmb1227, Mar 7, 2015.

1. ### mpmb1227Chirping

Jan 28, 2015
Stanwood, Washington
I own four mature red sex link hens and I plan on getting a rooster in the future. Currently the four girls reside in a small roughly 10 foot by 10 foot pen with the added benefit of my free ranging them for a few hours every day. This free-ranging cycle is starting to be inconvenient and so I decided to upgrade their run so I don't need to do it everyday. So here's my question, their new run is measured out approximately 25 feet by 25 feet with some soft dirt ground, hard dirt ground, shrubs and immature trees, tall field grasses and shorter regular grasses. Now for five birds, is 625 square feet sufficient for outdoor space and access to bugs, plants, etc... That means there will be 120 square feet per bird. I've read that 10 square feet per bird is sufficient enough however I noticed that many people were mixing up ft squared by sq feet. If it's by ft squared there will be five ft squared per bird which equals 120 square feet. So when I see ten sq. ft per bird, does that mean the area should have a 10x10 perimeter or 10 square feet of area?

2. ### PapaChazCrowing

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May 25, 2010
NW Georgia
ok all your squared by square feet is confusing me, LOL but that's not hard to do.

General rule for run space is 10 square feet for each chicken. 625 square feet for 5 chickens is a huge area and there is NO need to be concerned it won't be big enough.

at 10x10 you're at double the space per bird (when you get your rooster) already, that's 100 square feet. length of side times length of side = square feet. Not sure what the rest of your post meant at all, but 10x10 will be 100 square feet every time

Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
3. ### RidgerunnerFree Ranging

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Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Don’t get bogged down looking for magic numbers. Chickens are living animals and we all have unique situations. One magic number per chicken that works for every one of us on the whole planet does not exist. We have different climates, different goals, different management techniques, different flock make-ups, and many other differences. You might follow the link in my signature for some of my thoughts of things to consider.

The 4 square feet per chicken in the coop with 10 square feet per chicken in the run is intended to cover people keeping four to six hens (no roosters) in their suburban back yard with all the hens the same age and with them doing a lot of poop management. The further you get from that model, the less those square feet numbers mean. In that situation, that is square feet, not feet squared.

I think what you are asking is if the 25’ x 25’ area will stay green and provide decent forage for 5 chickens. That’s going to depend on what your climate is like and how well the turf is established. It is likely to change per season. When the weather is warm and the soil is damp, if you have that, probably. If you live on the high desert, probably not the majority of the year. I believe you can see that the answer might depend some on whether you live in Miami, Denver, Fargo, Nashville, Santa Fe, or San Diego.

Chickens do not eat every plant. Some weeds or grasses will be ignored and you will probably have to mow them to keep the good plants from being shaded out, again depending on your climate and type of plants and turf. You may need to block it off to give it a chance to regrow at certain times of the year.

The only way to find out is to try it. They may strip it all bare and keep it that way. They may keep certain areas bare but some areas may continue to grow.

Good luck with it.

4. ### mpmb1227Chirping

Jan 28, 2015
Stanwood, Washington
I meant that some people were saying it's 10 square feet and some were saying 10 feet squared which equals 100 square feet. But nontheless, you answered the question perfectly. Thanks!

5. ### mpmb1227Chirping

Jan 28, 2015
Stanwood, Washington
Ok, I live in the Pacific Northwest, so generally have a moist, mild climate and obviously tons of plant life grow here like there's no tomorrow. Plus, I live in the rural countryside surrounding the suburbs of Seattle, and have about 10 to 15 sq. Acres. About 1/3 is dirt, the rest is various types of grasses and weeds. I have in fact changed my mind a bit to include an extra 20x25x30x5 space of the same grass they devoured in their temporary pen. Anyway you don't need to hear my entire plan, I just want to make sure they have sufficient enough space to give them the feeling of free ranging because that's what they've done every day for the past 2 months. So thanks for your answer, it was indeed helpful.