Small run - big enough?


8 Years
Mar 26, 2011
Southwest New Hampshire
The work on my coop is progressing slowly, because it kinda has to stay a secret, if you know what I mean. (Yes, I'm a scofflaw! Don't lecture me, please....)
We're having some work done on the fence and screen porch in the back yard, so I have to work around the handyman, or he will say "Hey whatcha working on?" I don't know if I can trust him, as he seems to know EVERYBODY in town. And talks A LOT! As it is, it just looks like a garden project, haha.

I'm converting an existing raised wood playhouse,

and enclosing the underneath part PLUS extending it back and to the side, so the run will be 10' x 8' - tons of room for my 2 ladies. That's the eventual plan, anyway.

If I ONLY enclose the underneath - for now- will they be happy in a 4' x 6' run? I know the rule is 10' per bird, which works, but it seems small. I have to go away for a couple weeks in June/July, so it may be after that before I can add on the bigger part.

My girls are 4 1/2 weeks old, and as soon as I have the henhouse itself done, they will spend some time during the day in there, to start to get used to it.

Any thoughts?
I think you'll probably be FINE. For one thing they will not yet be quite full grown. For another thing, it will still be newish to them. But most of all, 4x6 for two birds is already 12 sq ft per bird, plus if you are going to give them that whole playhouse as the indoor part of their coop, that is loads of extra room for them too.

I think you are likely to have very happy chickens, especially once you eventually give them even MORE run

Good luck, have fun,

Very nice looking coop! Very stealthy!
I assume you're planning a trap door in the floor with a ramp or ladder thats securable. (maybe a board that slides out to the side like a drawer) With 2 birds, just under the building may be sufficent run area so any more is all chicken gravy
If you put in extra windows for light & ventilation and perches inside for the birds to hop around on, that would be neat too.
The coop/playhouse has a 2'x 2' window on every side, plus ventilation in the upper peaks. They were all screened, now I've added hardware cloth. Yes, the door will HAVE to be in the floor, but that's ok. There is LOTS of room inside. 4' x 6', but very tall - I can stand inside and put my arms straight up (after I stoop a little to get through the door)! I plan to put roosts at various heights, both in front of a window and not, so they'll have lots of choices.

The playhouse has been there for at least a few years, and you can't even see it from the street, so I'm hoping no-one will know what I'm up to!
Very nice lookin'! Mine is also 4X6, with a 8X12 run, plus the area under the coop. I would suggest to anchor it as it appears to be quite tall. I don't know where you hail from, but we get wind gusts here sometimes well above 50mph. It actually just happened an hour or so ago with a warm front moving through. Aslo, maybe see what you can do to get support to raise chicks. Heck, Milwaukee just did it! Good luck, and let me know if eggs are better from scofflaw birds!

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