Size of chicken coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Alex41, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Alex41

    Alex41 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2013
    Eastern PA
    I'm in the design stages of a chicken coop I'll be building in the next few months. I'm looking at a design for 12-15 chickens. Rhode Island Reds and Buff orpingtons.
    I'm shooting for 4sq ft per bird in the coop. 4x15=60. I need a coop with about 60 sq ft. To keep it easy for the sake of my question lets say I build a coop 8 x 8. 64sq ft.
    Some books have the roosts on the same level as the floor. Is the 4 sq ft per bird including roost space? I'm planning on having my roosts a few feet off the floor as most seem to do. Does this count as a second story and the elevated roost space go into the total sq footage? I know the space below a roost is pretty useless due to the large amounts of poop raining down.

    My guess is that the elevated roosts don't count toward sq footage, but wanted to run this by some of the experienced people here.

    This coop will have a secure run attached to it. What do chickens do in bad weather during the day? Say a thunderstorm, torrential rain, snow, sleet? Do they generally stay in the run or go into the coop to stay dry? Should part of my run have some cover for weather? Trees do provide shade, but don't help with driving rain.

  2. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    Old Lyme CT
    My feeling is, go for as big as you can afford:)

    My first inside area was 4.5 x 12 floor space for 9 chickens,,storm sandy smashed the rest of my barn, we did a rebuild, got some more chickens, I now have 12 chickens, the inside area is 12 x9+...Here are some pics

    The above is my first inside area "pre chickens",,

    Below is what they have now this was 'pre chickens' going into it
    above the chickens christening it..

    I am getting 4 more chickens this spring..I'm glad I went bigger on rainy/cold days the chickens love hanging out inside even tho their run is covered.

    Here is the new rebuild from the outside
  3. Alex41

    Alex41 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2013
    Eastern PA

    Nice coop and thanks for the info.

    I still have some unanswered questions in my original post.

    Anyone have some input?

  4. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2013
    The roost do not count as square feet, you should be fine, my entire run is covered with a roof and in the winter"now" it is covered on 3 sides and the front has a panel I made with a clear shower curtain, my girls stay clean and dry all winter, sand in the run for dusting and easy clean up with a cat litter scoop. Hope this helps.
  5. jonadue

    jonadue Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 6, 2013
    I have 6 hens in a 4x6 coop, with a 6x10 attached run. 4 feet of the run is covered by the coop (about 3feet above the ground) the other 6 feet of the run is caged but uncovered in the summer, but I have a 2x6 removable ridge beam that I add when the leaves start falling and bungee a tarp over to keep the weather out. This is our first year with chickens and it seems to be working for them. I do like the idea of covering the sides with clear plastic and plan on adding some to the bottom 3 feet or so of the coop to keep the snow from blowing in while allowing plenty of ventilation.

    As for what the girls do during bad weather.... all of the above. My girls will hunker in the coop during rain and they will sit out in the run getting soaked and not seem bothered by it. after our first heavy snow they refused to come out of the coop for two days, I got rid of most of the snow and just turned the rest to mix into their litter and they got over it, although they wont come out if theres snow on the ramp. Today was a slushy rainy mix and they were out in the run all day.

    As I said before, this is my first time raising chickens. We got them in May as chicks and now all of them are laying. Before we got them I read everything I could find on keeping chickens, there is a lot of contradicting info and differing opinions on everything! I think there are only a few hard fast rules for keeping them healthy, feeding, water, space requirements, shelter and ventilation being a few of the most important. Some of the other things, it seems to me, roost height, roost material, type of feeders or waterers, light or no light, heat or no heat, type and height of nest boxes, I dont think there is a right or wrong way, whatever you do the birds will adapt. I stressed about all this stuff during the planning stage and the birds jsut took to whatever I did.
    Sorry about the long winded post. I hope I helped.
  6. McKinneyMike

    McKinneyMike Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2013
    McKinney, TX
    Sq ft per bird is floor space. Roosts should be up off the floor, but the Buffs are large birds so I would not make your roosts too high off the floor, unless they have a ramp to get up to them easily. 2' off the floor is more than ample height. You could make a set of two roosts one at 24" and the other are 30'-36".

    A covered run is an excellent way to give them protection from the weather. Use sand as the base for your run floor as it is easy to clean, drains well and is not hard on the chickens feet. Don't use play sand though as it is too fine. Use construction sand.
  7. Alex41

    Alex41 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2013
    Eastern PA
    Thanks for all the help. It all helps me understand what they will do and help me to better plan to keep the chickens happy and healthy. Sand sounds like the way to go for the run.

  8. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2011
    Putting your roosts higher than your nesting boxes will discourage them from "roosting",sleeping in the nesting boxes. But as McMike said, with heavy birds you don't want the roosts too high or they may injure themselves getting down. Also if the top of your nesting boxes are flat, they may sleep (& poop) on them.
  9. vanita

    vanita New Egg

    Dec 28, 2013
    I am looking for a coop blueprint. Above ground.
  10. cknkids

    cknkids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2012
    Camarillo, CA
    1 person likes this.

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