Square feet vs. cubic feet

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tmarsh83, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

    554
    214
    136
    Oct 16, 2015
    NEIN
    Morning all,

    First post here, lurking for a while. New to chickens, about a month in, and making plans to expand the flock next spring, which means a new coop.

    I see a lot of reference to the 4 sq. ft. rule, and the linear roosting rule, but seems there would be a cubic foot rule.

    Certainly, especially if access is given to an adequate run, a 32 sq ft coop, with 4ft peak height and 3ft sidewalls would serve adequately for fewer chickens than a properly designed 32 sq ft coop with 8 ft peak height and 6 ft sidewalls, no?

    Or am I overthinking it, and that is where the linear roost rule for ranging birds sways the effective size?

    Or, I could be loopy, and my new found chicken addiction has already tattered my already overwhelmed mind...

    Many thanks all

    T
     
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,427
    407
    226
    Apr 22, 2015

    It has been a very long day. I read your post and now I'm feeling loopy. I'm not at all sure this will help. With chickens square feet is more a concern than cubic feet. Chickens are basically ground dwelling birds so square feet is what is important; an area so many feet long by so many feet wide-height is not so important. With other birds like pigeons, flight space is important so dimensions are in cubic feet-feet long x feet wide x feet high. Now I'm definitely feeling loopy and it's off to bed I go. Good night Gracee.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    6,034
    839
    336
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    What your saying is by adding height you can get more roosts in. Maybe. In general they want to roost as high as they can so that one roost at the top will be less effective than two roosts at same level. That level of two roosts can be 16" above pine shavings and still cause less pecking order issue than four roosts a foot apart and foot higher than the last.

    And 4 square ft per bird in coop is if you plan to lock them in coop in winter or days on end. It's a really large amount of space and not needed unless that's your management style. I let my birds out every morning, right through winter. My style is to have a coop that is only to roosts and have layers walk in to use nests. This management requires far less space per bird in coop.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  4. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

    982
    70
    166
    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    Where the cubic foot thing will get you is in the winter if the birds can't or don't want to go out or if you are getting lots of rain in the summer. Chickens walk around on the floor and will mainly only roost up at night.Overcrowding can cause fighting and pecking issues. higher roost will get used but that means the lower ones won't and are basically wasted space. Think of it like this, can you get more furniture in a room with 10' ceilings than one with 8' ceilings. 32 Sq feet would be about right for around 8 birds. If you have smaller birds like polish or leghorns you might be able to cheat the 4 foot rule a little by maybe 1 bird but if you have big birds I wouldn't do it.In the long run not overcrowding you birds will be better for them and you. There's a reason factory birds that are packed in pretty tight have their beaks trimmed. I understand wanting more birds but that's why I have more than one coop
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    6,034
    839
    336
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Smaller coops can lead to issues with integrating new birds. With a different management style they work perfectly. I like to move my coops and runs to fresh pasture. I don't have a lot of money to build a chicken palace Woods style open air coop nor would I as I like to move them. It's all about what you want and how you plan to manage your flock. Personal choice. It just disturbs me greatly that many state 4 sqft per bird as an absolute. It's not. After a few years I determined 7 birds in a 4x4 coop worked well (1 cock and 6 hens). When integrating half the older birds or more were sold or eaten and pullet integration went smooth. But again, I let my birds out every day and have a wind shield on prevailing wind side(s) of run etc.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

    532
    57
    136
    Oct 20, 2014
    Arizona
    One thing about having a higher walled coop, is it allows the nesting boxes to be inside, and still allows floor space underneath them ... Besides ... I'm 6'1" and prefer to go inside the coop too ;)
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,565
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Something to keep in mind with a tall, small footprint coop is how much horizontal space the bird needs to get enough lift to reach the roost height. If you've got a small tower, they may now have enough room to gain the vertical height they need, either getting up or coming down. Crashing into walls is bad [​IMG]
     
  8. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

    532
    57
    136
    Oct 20, 2014
    Arizona
    True, but a 4X8 coop has quite a bit of room for a runway along the 8' length, not that I'd build one that small myself ... And the roosts could be 3'-4' off the floor, gives plenty of room for ventilation up above their roosting heads!
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,565
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Yep, if it's set up that way. If the roosts are along the short end, and at a 5 foot height, it could be more problematic. Especially depending on the set up of the rest of the interior, if there are hops along the way or not.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    36,798
    10,596
    686
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Height of coop is important for 'stack up', ei:
    -door swing over deeper bedding, and bottom of pop door so bedding doesn't end outside of coop.
    -nests up high enough to use floor space underneath.
    -roosts 12" higher than nests, so they don't roost in nests and poop them up.
    -ventilation up as high over roosts as possible, this is where 'cubic feet' kind of does play a part.

    ...and I too like a walk in coop.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by