Space per chicken / Door size


In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 15, 2010
I'm just about done with my chicken coop and I have one or two more questions.

My run is an A-frame and is 10 feel long by 5 feet wide. I'm not sure I'd call it 50 sq feet as the chickens really can't use the last 6 inches or so on each side; the ceiling is too low. I'd probably call it 40 usable sq feet.

The hen house is 3 feet wide by 4 feet deep. The nest boxes are included in that. I'll have three nest boxes that are 1ft x 1ft at the front and at the very back they lower to 1ft x 10 inches high.

The door I'm building is 1ft x 1ft.

Is this enough room for 4 hens? I had planned on two or three but now I think my sister will be stealing my eggs so a 4th would be nice

Are the dimensions of my door and nest boxes good?

I was planning on this for water - and this for food -

I hang those from the top of the a frame in my run? If so how high off the ground should they be?

Finally, as a quick pointer. I've seen conversations on fans in a hen house and I think I found a nice solution - will power at least two of these -

probably wont bother with a switch and just let them run when the sun is out and flip off when there is no sun


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If you live where your birds will need to stay inside for extended periods of time (like because of bad weather) then I think your coop is too small for 4 birds. Truthfully, in general, I think it's too small. Especially with the nest boxes inside. A good rule of thumb is 4 sq. ft per bird in the coop and 10 sq. ft/bird in the run. Too tight of space can cause behavior/social problems and be difficult to ventilate/keep clean. That said, there are many here on the BYC that go as small as 2 sq/ft. To each his own.

BTW, you don't really need 3 boxes for 3-4 birds. 1 or 2 would likely be sufficient. Measurements seem fine for both boxes and pop door.
So perhaps 16 sq feet would be better? I'm in North Florida; there is very little time when the hen's would be stuck inside. We have one or two weeks a year when daytime temps dip down to upper 30s. I think even at that temperature the hen's would be fine outside.

The summers will be hot but I assume so long as they are in the shade and have water they should be fine.

Thanks for the input.
I have 5 hens in a 3x4x3 box with an enclosure that surrounds it that's 4x8 footprint and variable height. Actually, this wil be worth a thousand words:


And they love it. I went with the 2-3 square feet in the coop and 4-6 outside run theory with mine, knowing that I'd install a lightbulb for heat and light, but probably wouldn't use it. I wanted to keep te birds snug inside to keep them warm. There's two roost bars inside but they only use the one, preferring to perch side by side next to each other, close. If you do the math... I actually calculated for 6 hens, but when I got to the feed store, I was only able to get 5.. so, there's 5 in there.. and it'll be a year come May. They all lay beautifully and there's no fighting or issues at all. Your door is fine, and I'd agree with the other poster.. there's no way you'll need three nest boxes. Hell, I think I undershot with mine.. 5 in one box, but they all seem to ait their turn and we don't have any outside layers, out of the box. I think your run sounds huge.. but I'm somewhat concerned at the inside dimensions.. but then, you've only got three, possibly 4 hens. Seems like you'll be fine.. but, do you have a picture to show? I'm considering an A-Frame for my next coop.. I'd love to see what yours looks like.
For Florida I'd say that's adequate for 4 chickens - it is not palatial but they will likely cope. I would lose two of the nestboxes, you really only need one (you can make it one-and-a-half size if you really want) and that will allow more space for the chickens in the coop.

Be aware that if you put your food outside, and leave it there all night, you will likely end up with a rodent problem; leaving water outside is ok IF it is in the shade all the time.

Good luck, have fun,

Assuming standard size breeds? If you can do 16 sq. ft., then do it. You'll never hear anyone complain of building a coop too big, only "I wish I'd built a larger coop!" I go by the 4 sq. ft. rule too for coop space and 10 sq. ft. for run space. It's nice than when there are occasional squabbles, the birds have space to get out of the way of one another. One or two nest boxes is plenty, as others have mentioned. Pop door sounds good. I did build my nest boxes a little bigger than some (think mine are 14 x 16). But my BA and BO have big
Sounds like you have enough interior room for 3 chooks and enough for 4 chooks outside. Those are bare minimum rule-of-thumb space requirements. More space is better for healthier and happier chooks that fight less and lay more eggs. It may be that is all the space you have, and if so, then you can just make the best of it. If yours is portable like the one pictured, then the chooks can have fresh grass and bugs every 3 days or so as you move it.
I'm in an urban neighborhood and I have a decent sized back yard that is fenced in. I have a small wooded area and some grass areas and some areas with low ferns.

I do know raccoons exist in the area even though its urban; I've seen them at night banging around in the back yard once or twice.

Is it ok to let the hens roam around during the day in the backyard outside the coop? The fence is just a normal chain link fence that is probably 4 feet high.

It occurs to me I could take the middle section of my A frame coop and cover it and place a small roost underneath. That would let some of the coop area double as a sort of second hen house. Does that make sense?

Thanks for the pointers!
You'll never hear anyone complain of building a coop too big

I must be the only person who will complain LOL because I have to clean it!

I have a 17x13 building my 9 hens are living in currently (it's actually my future goat barn lol) and I complain bitterly about having to clean it. It is WAY too much space for 9 chickens, and even when we have our 11 in the spring it'll be too much space. I'm going with an 8x10 which gives me a bit of extra space for a couple more hens, though its unlikely I'll start buying chicks after this new bunch since I'm getting a rooster.

Easy cleanability is absolute key if you're going to go larger.​
No pictures right now, but I'll take some and post them a bit later

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