Size of coop for only at night

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Cyara, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Cyara

    Cyara In the Brooder

    Nov 1, 2008
    Hello everyone,

    I was directed to this forum when asking a question about chickens. Recommended as helpful [​IMG]

    I want to find out what size I need per chicken for only sleeping quarters. I plan to put them out in tractors in the day but want them safely locked up at night. We have a lot of wildlife here.

    What would be the best size?.... comfy but snug
    How high must the roosting pole be off the floor?
    Can the roof above the roosting pole be low... I heard it stops them crowing because cannot stretch up high so can't crow. Is this true?
    How thick should this roosting pole be?
    Should they be housed individually or will they be happier together in a group? What number is best?
    Must food be available at night or only water?
    What is the best way to give water at night?

    I would appreciate any input.

  2. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    Hi welcome to Byc.
    I know that roost should be about 12 inches apart. Each hen needs different amts of room. It is acc. to breed. Some need 8 inches on the roost others 6 inches. So we need to know the type of hens and the area you live in.
    Do you have your hens? Jean
  3. Sissy

    Sissy Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    Welcome.. I have a 4x8 coop and its 6ft. high with
    wood shavings on the wood floor and its a snap to clean.
    which i change 3 times a year.and( toss into the compost pile)
    also sprinkle permectin into
    it to keep away lice etc..from my beeps
    it suits my
    6 ladies and one roo.. some perfer to sleep on the floor and others on their roosts. which is 18inches off the floor and also have 3
    nest boxes. I used a 1/2 inch round wood pole and have a hanging feeder also a hanging water inside.
    . and out side in their run I have a 5 gal. dog waterer.. I also use 1 tablespoon of
    ACV( apple Cider vinegar) in each gal of water and have since they hatched..
    hope this helps
  4. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    Heya -

    I have smallish framed large breed layers, who free range during the day and sleep in an 8x8 coop at night. I am keeping 9 (at the moment) chickens in this coop at night. I do need another roost, as there is usually one or two "odd chicken out" who don't get the perch to sleep on.

    I had originally built it for just 6 of them, then swapping coops and roos and such and two full time free rangers who decided it's getting too cold to sleep outside started going in there, too. Oh, two of the hens are larger framed, but most are smallish framed birds.

    They have a lot of room in there, aside from perch space, which I can remedy.

    They like to group up at night, for warmth in winter and safety. The perch I use is a 2x4 board.

    I think you can get by with just water at night, but I always have food outside as well as inside for them - just in case I oversleep or some such and dont get out there to let them out when they want to go out. Also, if the weather is SO bad I wouldn't want to be out in it, myself, I sometimes will leave them in for the day. If your tractor has protection from the weather added to it, then this wouldn't be a concern for sleeping quarters.

    I guess your space would be determined by how many chickens, what size the chicken is, etc...

  5. Cyara

    Cyara In the Brooder

    Nov 1, 2008
    Quote:Hi Jean,

    No I don't have them yet. I have been looking at all the types. I did have some once.... well....bought them at the side of the road.... were supposed to be hens... were really beautiful cockerels though! [​IMG] Won't be doing that again!!

    I live in South Africa in the bushveld. I am looking to find a dual purpose breed.

    So far:

    Australorp: very good egg-laying record and pretty [​IMG] I see them often around here.

    Boschveld: a very hardy crossbreed of 3 indigenous breeds. Low maintenance breed with excellent productivity. They are also known to go for ticks on other livestock... found that interesting. Very disease resistant.

    Ovambo: I love the colouring. Somewhat like the original jungle fowl. It is also smaller in size and with its darker colouring it is more easily camouflaged to protect it from raptors. The Ovambo is very aggressive and agile. It has been known to catch and eat mice and young rats. This chicken can fly and roosts in the top of trees to avoid predators. I would then not have to put them in a tractor, but do want them safely locked up at night... from 2-legged predators who like to "share". Not sure if this is really a very practical breed for me but they really interest me.

    I probably want to get all 3 but might start with the Boschveld. Where I live is pretty wild and so I need tough birds. There are jackals, leopard, snakes, eagles...

  6. Cyara

    Cyara In the Brooder

    Nov 1, 2008
    Quote:Hi Sissy,
    Thanks it does help.
    Why do you use apple cider? I know it is very healthy and put it in my own water bottle but never heard of it for hens. Interesting!
  7. Cyara

    Cyara In the Brooder

    Nov 1, 2008
    Quote:Hi Meri,

    Thanks for the info. I am assuming that you are working in feet. So would you say 1 foot squared per bird would be good? You are probably right about wanting to leave food for them overnight. Just hang it up as Sissy does to keep it clean. And also the water. I did hear about water nipples for hens.... anyone heard of this being successfully used? Is supposed to be very clean way of delivering water. I remember with my other birds that water cleaning was a major chore. They really knew how to foul it up.
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Cyara, this wildlife is what - - cheetahs! leopards!! lions!!! :eek:???

    Okay, I'm assuming that you know that chickens don't do much of anything when it is dark, other than sleep. Unless you can allow them to come out promptly every morning, they will need floor space thru the day. With an 8 foot by 8 foot coop, chiknmama has 64 square feet. For her 9 chickens, that is 7 square feet for each bird.

    Some of us get by with considerably less than that. I have an insulated part of the coop and what some folks call a sunporch. It has a roof and floor but is open to the air. The building might be considered as 52 square feet or as 26 square feet depending on whether the sunporch is counted as a "pen" or as part of the coop. (The birds free range quite a lot but do not have a pen on the ground.) Four hens seem quite comfortable in this arrangement.

    For the roost only, I think you could get by with that "1 foot squared per bird." Food and water could be outdoors.

    Some people that keep chickens have the feed and water under a little building that is used for roosting. That ground floor area can also provide shelter from the sun and rain thru the day. This building, the area under it and an attached pen could all be parts of a tractor. (Check out the elevated tractors on this page. )

    Any small building would need to provide adequate ventilation even if the chickens are only using it for roosting.

    edited to say, "I have Australorps! Nice to know that they are in South Africa."
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  9. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    [​IMG] Hi Chelle - just another South African saying Hello.

  10. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    Hi Chelle! [​IMG]
    I think that your choices of fowl are very interesting and I hope you have great success with whichever you choose [​IMG]
    As a rule of thumb, I give each bird 8 inches of roost pole and then 3 square feet of floor space per bird in a sleeping coop. That allows them to move around on the floor when they wake up or are going in to get situated to roost at night.
    You will find that your birds will be much happier if you allow them to stay together at night instead of housing them seperate. It makes them feel safer.
    Good Luck with your chooks!

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