Square Footage vs. Volume?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by coalroadcabin, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin In the Brooder

    Feb 5, 2008
    I hope my question isn't too hard to understand, I'm not exactly sure how to word it. Forgive me if I sound like a ditz but:

    How much of a roll does volume play in figuing how many square feet you need per chicken?

    For example - If your coop is tall enough to add a balcony or loft that the birds can get to, does that add to your total square feet? Would a 5 X 5 coop that's only 36" tall equal less usable square feet per bird than a 5 X 5 coop that is 5' tall? Or is the actual footprint of the building the only criteria for determining if you have enough space per bird?

    Hope this isn't a stupid question but we're working on designing our coop now and I was wondering about how to figure out if the footprint of our coop will be big enough for the hens.

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011

  2. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    They will spend most of the waking time on the ground so the heighth would not be a big factor for them but it an issue for the human component! You will enjoy more being able to stand up inside.
  3. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    A 5x5 coop will have 25 sq ft. How many chickens are you planning on having in your coop? The rule of thumb is around 4 sq ft of indoor space and around 10 or more sq ft of out door space. I haven't ever had a multi story coop. I'm not sure how practical that would be. I hope this helps!

  4. LilyD

    LilyD Songster

    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    I am not sure where I saw it but there was an article I read that said that vertical space (if it is filled with roosts, platforms and places where the chickens can go) can increase the square footage of a coop. I don't think it means that if you have a 5x5x5 coop that you can have 63 chickens but you could increase the livable living space because they will have places to go to get away from each other.

    My chickens have a chicken ladder and pretty much unless they are dust bathing or eating on the ground they sleep and lounge on their roosting space. The ladder rungs add up to about 10 feet of roost and there is another roost that is about 6 feet. I am going to add another one as well on the other side but I don't feel there is any rush because they don't fill the roosting space as it it.
  5. wava1vaughn

    wava1vaughn Songster

    Jun 24, 2011
    Cairo Ga.
    Hi from Ga. The height is more important for you to get in than for the chickens. 5x5 is 25 no matter the height . If you have a loft that adds square footage. A low coop just has to have a way for you to clean it out. Good luck. Remember you should have 4 square ft./ bird. (optimally) [​IMG]
  6. CockadoodlePoo

    CockadoodlePoo In the Brooder

    May 19, 2011
    New Jersey
    My Coop
    The loft sounds like a cool idea. Just make sure it's not too much of a pain in the you-know-what to clean. I don't know your roo to hen ratio or if you plan on keeping them separated but I know my girls need somewhere to go to get away from my alpha roo. He's quite aggressive if you know what I mean!
  7. GA_in_GA

    GA_in_GA Songster

    Jul 2, 2011
    Southwest Georgia
    Quote:when figuring your coop space, do you include the space in the nest boxes I have 2 nest boxes, on level with the coop floor, with a divider to define the nesting area.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011

  8. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    This is an interesting question and one I have thought about as well. I will be using a 7' x 7' vinyl shed for my new coop and will be putting nest boxes and roosts along the back wall, running from side wall to side wall. I will be putting in about 12 nest boxes and approximately 21' of roosts, plus a ladder for those who need help getting up. I will be putting a piece of 4' x 7' plywood down first and building the nest boxes on top of that and using the remaining portion of the ply wood as a poop board for the roosts which will be mounted slighting above the plywood in front of the nest boxes. They will have plenty of room to hop in and out of the nest boxes and there will be a second row of nest boxes above the first and a roost there as well giving me a total of 28' of roost space. I was thinking of then adding another piece of plywood about 2 1/2 or 3' wide on top of the nest boxes and making an addition space for those who like to go even higher. A sort of chicken loft. This would then give me another 21' of flat space for the chickens so I too was wondering if that adds onto the 49' sq. ft. of the basic shed. I will build a ladder that runs the whole way up there and it would give them 3 levels to get off and roost at. I will probably install one nest box down very low under the others for any chickens who prefer that. So does all this add into the sq. footage of the coop? I have chickens that sleep in the nest boxes so I would think that they do count for something sq. footage wise.
  9. CockadoodlePoo

    CockadoodlePoo In the Brooder

    May 19, 2011
    New Jersey
    My Coop
    12 nest boxes seems like an awful lot for that size space. . . how many chickens do you have? From what I've read on the forums it seems like the hens share nest boxes without problems and even take turns sitting on eachother's eggs. You might be able to save some space by cutting down on the boxes.
  10. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:when figuring your coop space, do you include the space in the nest boxes I have 2 nest boxes, on level with the coop floor, with a divider to define the nesting area.

    No, nest boxes are not included in "living space" because you don't want your chickens hanging out in them. You only want chickens in there to lay an egg.

    OP - for the most part, you should only go by the footprint of the shelter (area) for living space. In places that get no snow in winter (and don't have a covered run), and the chickens are ONLY indoors from late evening until early morning, interior space (as long as there is plenty of roost length and space to hop up/down to the roosts) is much less of a concern. But for folks who like to sleep late, or who do get snows (because many chickens will not go out in snow) - then the footprint is important, because during daylight hours chickens don't tend to hang out on the roosts - they want to be down and moving about.
    I saw this mentioned earlier - another consideration if you attempt to do two levels within the same coop is cleaning access, both for the low level (getting underneath the upper floor) and the upper level (will it be too deep?).

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