Starting to design our new coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Marygerl, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Marygerl

    Marygerl In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2016
    Woburn, Massachusetts
    We are getting 6 pullets in June (don't have the space at the moment to raise them from chick). My brother is helping build our coop. I was planning on using the Coops for a cause 4X6 as our inspiration for our coop. My question is for the run. Given the 10sq ft per chicken I was planning on 60sq ft. Can I use the space under the coop as part of that 60? This way I can make the run either 4X9 or 6X6.

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    There is no rule that says a run has to be exactly 10 square feet per chicken. I don’t believe in magic numbers for much of anything to do with chickens anyway. If you follow the link in my signature you can see some of my thoughts about why magic numbers for chickens just don’t work. We are each so unique in so many things that just one number can’t cover us all. It might give you some ideas that can help with how you manage them.

    In suburbia with a flock of all hens the same age ten square feet is usually workable. You can probably have one rooster in place of a hen with that. But if you want a hen to hatch and raise chicks with the flock or ever want to integrate new chickens, ten square feet per chicken can look mighty small.

    As long as you can reach under an elevated coop to retrieve eggs, a chicken that doesn’t want to be retrieved, or rake out under there, space under an elevated coop is great in a run. It’s a good place to feed and maybe water, plus it gives them shade. Too much heat is dangerous to chickens, shade is a lot cooler. They will probably hang out a lot under there. Yes, it does count as run space. It counts as quality run space.

    I don’t know how you plan on constructing your run. If you are using fence posts and wire, rolls of wire come in all kinds of lengths and fence posts can be set in many patterns. If you are using lumber, most building materials come in standard 8’ lengths at the best price. Instead of thinking how you can shoehorn your chickens unto the least amount of space, think how you can best give them enough space.

    If you cover the run with a solid roof, 6’ width isn’t too bad. You want your roof to slope so rainwater runs off, which means the lumber supporting the roof has to be a bit longer than the opening. If you go with an 8’ width, you need longer lumber to span the top plus the longer that span the heavier lumber you need to support the roof. If you are using a wire roof for predator protection then I’d go with an 8’ width.

    If I were putting a solid roof on it the bare minimum I’d go would be 6’ x 8’. With that 8’ length you will have a lot less cutting and waste compared to 6’. If you are putting a wire roof I’d go 8’ x 8’. Make it tall enough that you can stand up in there without banging your head. It will still be tight if you let a broody hen raise chicks or ever decide to integrate new replacement hens, but it gives you a bit more flexibility to work with. The costs should not be any different, it gives you room to work, and will make your chicken keeping experience more pleasant. A lot of the benefits in providing more room are for you, not just the chickens. You are important too.

    Good luck!

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