SAY WHAT??? Coop and run + how many chickens

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


8 Years
Apr 30, 2011
Beautiful Big Bear Mountains
Hi, Okay according to BYC 101 one chicken for every 2-3 Sq feet of floor space. I see so many different statements like 4-5 sq feet a bird
, so here is my question, I live in the mountains of California, average 350 days of sun shine, we do get snow, minimum average temp is 30 degrees can dip to 5 degrees on a rare occasion, my coop is a 3 x 5 15 sq feet of true floor space, (exterior nest boxes off the floor feed) the run is 300 sq feet. So I have 5 girls that will have 3ft each. Now I have a friend who wants to give me a wyandot so that will bring them all down to the BYC minimum of 2 SQ each. Is that acceptable, as they have a large run and will be out 90+% of the time?
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LOL you really wanna go by "the book" huh? You're a better "man" than I am since I didnt realize there was a "recomended space per" ....I honestly learn something new every single day on this forum!!! By the formula you showed here..i could have like 60 chickens with 120 sq ft of floor space...>ponders< now where did i see those cochins i liked so much??
I wouldn't push it that low. Mine have about 5sqft per chicken but still peck each other if they are stuck in the coop because GASP there is a flake of snow on the ground. The ladies won't touch snow. Good ol' southern belles you know
Hey hcppam,

Along with the others I appreciate that you are being very pro-active and responsible about the accomodations for your chickens. I also wonder if the idea of coop space applies to chickens that don't have a run... so they must remain ---pardon the expression 'cooped up'.

My chickens have access to the run and they are always out...except when it is dark or when they are in the coop to lay the egg.

I also wonder if I got extra mild docile chickens or why they are always close together cooing to each other and have no chicken fights.

It will be interesting to see what develops--- but I'm thinking that my chickens have about 2- square feet each of coop space...and around 30 square feet of run. They seem so purely happy.... I can't imagine that they would 'need' more. But they have lots of basics, food water, grass, shade etc. I wonder if chicken-tractor style houseing where they get a new piece of ground even more often that daily sometimes also makes a difference, versus a set up that is stationary and they have the same chicken yard daily. Then factor in the free ranging time...and see how that makes a difference. (I use free-range and pastured kind of interchangeably.)

I'm also wondering if the total size of the flock makes a difference in how much space makes sense. I wonder if the pet status versus the working girl status makes a difference in the need for chicken space as well. Meaning that the pet chicken gets much more attention and individual care versus the large large flock where they are more uninvolved with chicken keeper.
I know so many variables, mine will also get to run around the yard when I put my dogs in, the girls have been raised together, and are a little gang of buddies, the extra chicken might thought things into a mess but they are all 2 months old now. PS how is west Texas?
I have to say, until the other day, i had 10....yes 10 6-7 week olds "living" in a 55 gallon barrel as a "coop" and when i undivided the run and left them to access the big coop...they all wanted back in the barrel LOL all but 3 are roos. I meaqn i have NO intentions of crowding anyone, but unless they are mean to each other, i would THINK they would be ok with an averaged 2 ft of personal space, considering the average human needs 3 ft of personal space. Chickens are much smaller than humans!>and more tolerant<
I think you have to remember that guidelines are guidelines, and chickens can't read books. The temperament of your chickens, which is often a reflection of their breed will have a lot to do with how many can live together in a small space. You just have to watch your chickens and know whether they're happy. And always keep in mind, if some natural phenomenon were happening that kept all your chickens in the coop for several days, how would they be then?

I have pushed my capacity to the brink and then backed way off, and i will say that my biggest consideration now (since my birds free range all day during the day) is how quickly the coop gets very messy. The ammonia build up is a serious concern, especially when you have so many birds in that small space, and you'll want to consider how much time you have to spend keeping the odor down in there.

I'm sorry there isn't a clear cut answer; to me, the guidelines are a starting point, but i'm the one who has to decide what works best for my particular flock and my particular set-up.
Actually, 2 sq. Feet per chicken might be fine if_ they are outside a lot, and they are in a clean , sanitary area. I have 11 chickens and 4 ducks sharing a 12 sq. Ft. House, but I'm not allowed by my parents to make it bigger, so I added a balcony inside the coop to make them more comfortable: and they have two runs to play in. They are outside mostly all day, but when they come inside 5 chickens sleep on the balcony, 2 sleep on the boards above the balcony where they aren't supposed to but they like it up there, and the other 4 sleep OM the floor with the 4 ducks

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