# Space question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Dill, Nov 17, 2008.

1. ### DillChilling Out

Nov 10, 2008
FL
If I had 5 chickens, how much room would they need in dimensions? I know that each chicken needs 4 square feet, but I don't understand the square ft thing... what is square ft?

My chickens won't be able to free range the yard because of predators and things so does that mean their coop needs to be bigger or have a pen added on or anything?

2. ### TrollkillerSongster

Oct 26, 2008
Lake Como, Fl. 32157
I would look into a chicken tractor.

Square foot is easy, imagine a piece of tile that is 1 foot wide by 1 foot long. That is 1 square foot. 2 foot wide by .5 foot wide would also equal 1 square foot.

Multiply length times width to get the square footage. You need 20 square feet. That could be 10 X 2, 4 X 5 or any other combo you can think of that would equal 20 when multiplied.

May 7, 2007
Forks, Virginia
4 sq ft per chicken is the minimum for an indoor space. They also need at least 10 sq ft each of outdoor space. You would need a chicken house that is 20 sq ft inside and a outside pen that is 50 sq ft.

If you cannot provide a fixed area you will still need a large chicken tractor that can be moved around every few days to give them new ground to live on.

4. ### DillChilling Out

Nov 10, 2008
FL
Ok, I think I understand... so the indoor space would be 5 ft long and 5 feet wide (if I had 5 chickens), or 20 square feet. I can't figure out what the outdoor part in dimensions would be though.. I'm horrible at math.

I do have the space as our bakyard is pretty big so I wouldn't need chicken tractor.

May 7, 2007
Forks, Virginia
Quote:10 ft x 5 ft = 50 ft

6. ### patandchickensFlock Mistress

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Apr 20, 2007
Quote:5x5 is actually 25 -- for 5 chickens @ 4 sq ft apiece you'd need 20 sq ft or more. For instance a 4x5' coop.

I really want to repeat what MissPrissy said, though -- this is sort of a MINIMUM. Honestly, my chickens truly seem happier (more relaxed, and "busier" in a good way) in a larger space... so mine have between 8 and 15 sq ft per chicken indoors (plus the run space). This is especially true if you lvie somewhere that gets weather that'll have the chickens staying indoors a lot (e.g. northern winters, or long spells of bad rain), but it is pretty much always true that more is better.

Another big advantage of a larger coop is that it gives you space for more chickens in the future, if you should want them. Practically everyone on this forum seems to have started out with just a few chickens, sure they wouldn't want more, and then you decide you like them, or see some breed you just *have* to have, or this or that or the other thing, and *bang* you wind up with a LOT more chickens than you expected, and nowhere for them to live. It is cheaper and easier to build big in the first place than to build a second coop later

Have fun,

Pat

7. ### DillChilling Out

Nov 10, 2008
FL
Yeah, I know that biigger is always better and I'll try to make my dad (since he'll be the one building the coop/pen) build it so I'll have extra room for more chickens because I definitely want more than 5.

What material should be used to build it? I'm sure my dad knows, but I want to make sure he gets it right. Would plywood and chicken wire be ok to use or would that not be strong enough? They couldn't get their necks stuck in chicken wire, could they? I know that depending on the size of it that chicks could get out through chicken wire but they will be indoors when they're chicks (except when I bring them outside for 'playtime' in a pen while supervising them)

8. ### patandchickensFlock Mistress

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Apr 20, 2007
Quote:Have your dad look thru the coop design pages here on BYC, that'll give him a pretty good idea of what's appropriate Plywood is *fine*.

Chickenwire, not ideal, though. Most chickenwire these days is really light-gauge thin weak wire -- often I can rip it with my hands if I stand on one end of the chickenwire and pull hard. A much more trustworthy alternative would be 1" welded wire mesh, which is a heavier gauge. Alternatively you can use hardwarecloth (1/2" welded wire mesh), tho it's expensive, or something like chainlink or 2x4 welded wire with hardwarecloth added along the bottom 3' or so to prevent anything reaching through.

Have fun,

Pat

9. ### cmomHilltop Farm10 Years

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Nov 18, 2007
Florida
My Coop
I have a lot of critters around. I do free range my birds but their area is fenced in off of their run which has a gate and is covered.

Here is an old picture. This was when I was using netting. Now I use chicken wire.