Square feet per bird in cold climate

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MadChickensVT, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. MadChickensVT

    MadChickensVT Chirping

    Sep 5, 2011
    Middlebury, Vermont
    I've seen lots of folks mention that birds need more than the usual 4sf each when they're going to be in the coop a lot due to cold weather. Does anyone care to give some input here? Any suggestions for keeping them happy in the winter in the coop, like shelf areas to give them a sense of more space, or.....? What about nesting box sizes? Internal or external nest boxes?

    (By external I mean the kind that sticks out from the side of the coop)

    Thanks [​IMG]
  2. gale65

    gale65 Songster

    We live in a fairly cold climate and the coop we're building will have just barely over 4 sq ft per bird. The Chickens for Dummies book I have says to have 2-3 sq ft per bird so I'm fine with our 4 sq ft.
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Songster

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    I think your idea of shelves or otherwise creating multiple levels is a good way to expand the space per bird vertically, create privacy, plus give them some exercise jumping up and down. Mine appreciate having different junk to jump up on, and it's an easy escape out of the firing line if one is being a bully. Mine also enjoy the windows. Wonder if you could also create a contained dustbath inside the coop for use in extended confinement?
  4. Rustywreck

    Rustywreck Songster

    hang or wall mount feeders and waterers so they are no longer taking up floor space, keeping them just high enough to allow the chickens to walk under them if they duck their heads.
    for sanity/activity I hang a bird seed block for the chickens to peck at. it swings as they peck making them work a little harder to get the seeds.
  5. dmazaika

    dmazaika In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2011
    It is suggested 2 square foot per large fowl, so it depends on the size of your birds and available room.
  6. nickie

    nickie Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    north central KY
    Somewhere around here (I think) someone posted about how he found using smaller squaring footage per bird kept them warmer and he had less trouble with frostbite and freezing issues. I don't remember if this person mentioned the stir crazy issue but...
  7. smokinjay

    smokinjay In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2011
    Quote:Is this sqft just the coop or the run as well?
  8. MadChickensVT

    MadChickensVT Chirping

    Sep 5, 2011
    Middlebury, Vermont
    I've heard that crowding them will raise the humidity level and increase the chance of frostbite. I heard that from multiple sources. Previous to that I had thought that smaller would be better to hold the heat, but I hadn't been thinking of all the moisture they create.
  9. Stacykins

    Stacykins Crowing

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Quote:How well ventilated is your coop? Moisture shouldn't be an issue if you have adequate ventilation. Most people think it will let out heat, but it is better for it to be cold and dry, since you are right, excess moisture freezes on combs, legs, wattles, etc. leading to frostbite. Sometimes breed can help prevent frostbite. Such as your Araucana. They have small pea combs, and nearly nonexistant wattles. Hard for frostbite to form when it isn't there.

    Roosts should be built wide and flat, so the birds can hunker down and use their body heat and feathers to warm their toes.
  10. MadChickensVT

    MadChickensVT Chirping

    Sep 5, 2011
    Middlebury, Vermont
    I'm just about to build the coop. I'll definitely make sure they have good ventilation, especially up top where the warm wet air is.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: