Run size for free-range chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by krankedyann, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. krankedyann

    krankedyann Hatching

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    We've got 25 chickens we plan on free-ranging. They'll be roaming from after breakfast to dusk daily once they're adults. They're currently 4 weeks. We've been advised to keep them fully confined into their coop and run until they are full grown adults, because there are other free-range hens and roosters in the neighborhood.

    We just finished the coop, and DH is going to get the fencing for the run tonight. The problem is that I don't know how big to make the run!

    The only time we plan to confine them is during the day in inclement weather. How many square feet should be allowed per bird in the run for that condition?
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    The general rule of thumb is 10 sq. ft. per standard size chicken for a run. However, since your chickens won't be locked in the run much of the time you could certainly go smaller.

    Personally, I'd try to go with the larger run just in case of several days of needing to be locked up but I wouldn't go smaller than 5 sq. ft. per chicken just because they'll be pretty upset when locked up due to inclement weather.
     
  3. Heather J

    Heather J Songster

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    Unless you live somewhere where it's rare to have inclement weather, I would push for *at least* 200 square feet. Anyone on here will say ten square feet per bird is best and more is preferable if they're going to use the run much at all. I use my run whenever I'm going to be out of town (easier for anyone I have checking on the birds), for several hours in the morning while most of the eggs are laid so they don't end up elsewhere on my property, and if you cover at least part of the run for bad weather, it gives them plenty of room when the conditions are less than favorable.

    This is also great if you think you might be away in the evening when it's time tp put the birds to bed. If they are in a secure run area at bedtime and you can't get there for a while to lock the coop, you don't have to worry about predators. I like to free range as much as possible, but if you end up using the run more than you planned on, having a large run will prevent feather picking and other behaviors in your birds.

    Good luck!
     
  4. krankedyann

    krankedyann Hatching

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    Thanks. We're talking about making it over 300 square feet, so we have the option of dividing it later and adding a second coop if we want to get a second breed.
     
  5. chicken rover

    chicken rover In the Brooder

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    five per hen is the minimum
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008

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