Square feet per bird in cold climate

MadChickensVT

Chirping
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
138
2
91
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
 

gale65

Songster
9 Years
Aug 19, 2010
1,875
30
161
north central indiana
My Coop
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.
 

allpeepedout

Songster
8 Years
Mar 2, 2011
519
23
131
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?
 

Rustywreck

Songster
11 Years
Sep 5, 2008
190
9
121
Solon Springs, Wisconsin
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.
 

dmazaika

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 7, 2011
17
0
22
Concord
It is suggested 2 square foot per large fowl, so it depends on the size of your birds and available room.
 

nickie

Songster
8 Years
Jun 25, 2011
1,118
27
143
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...
 

MadChickensVT

Chirping
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
138
2
91
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.
 

Stacykins

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 19, 2011
4,355
223
258
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.
 

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