Stop me before I make a mistake


In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 28, 2010
Okay, here's the deal. I just started on my coop but I think I might be over building. At this point I've got a really nice 8x8 platform built. I plan on building the coop on top of that. Not a bid deal if I have to scrap my plans since I will just use it as a tent platform for sleeping out at night.

I have 24 chicks in the brooder as we speak and I'll be keeping 12 of them. I thought I had read that chickens needed five feet per bird in the coop and ten feet per bird in the run. Well, I just read in the "Learning Center" that they only need three feet per bird in the coop and five in the run. If that's the case then I'm over building by a bunch!

Who is right and what should I do? I would love to save money by having a smaller coop. If I can build smaller I will also be able to move it closer to the house (which is a bonus) but if I've got to keep going on the 8x8 I will.
Congratulations, you have entered the grey area!!

There is no black and white for how much space per bird you should have...

Are you going to clean it often?

Are you getting Bantams or Standards?

Are they ever going to free-range?

Are you prepared to face the consequences, if they become crowded?

Do you think that you will ever hatch more chicks (which means you need more space?)

These are all things to consider,
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I went 4' inside and 10 outside. It's always best to go over. Being cooped up over winter inside more often, some of my girls have the feathers all plucked off their back, and I've only got 11 birds in about the same space you are doing.

Mine is 10x8 with a 2.5' section separated for storage.
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I'm assuming that a smaller coop would need to be cleaned more often. Daily? Bi-weekly, weekly?

I don't know the answer to Q2 because of my lack of "poultry language." I have Buffs, Wyandottes, Australorps and Brahmas. So, please tell me what I'm getting.

I would like to free range them some of the time

What are the consequences of over crowding?

We won't be adding to our flock anytime soon.

What got me started was that Horizon Structures says that their 4x6 coop will house 12-15 birds. 4x6? Mine is almost 3x as large for the same amount of birds. I want to do what's right by my girls but I also am a bit Scotch and would love to save some money.
It's OK if the yard will allow for more space and the coop is a bit on the small side. Not to compare the home chicken farmer to the commercial, but 4'-5' per bird is great for your pets. The suggested commercial spacing is about 2' per bird. Not that they care or actually follow that suggested guideline. I once had an indecent amount of chickens in an 8' x 8' coop. Penned up in their coop for 3 days while I was away.
. I did leave them with enough food and water though, but they did give me the stink-eye for about a week. They got over it. I say it's up to you. Let your conscience be your guide.
You have large chickens coming that need lots of room. I have 10 in an 8x12 area and wish I had more space for them. I also have a 12x50 run. You never have to much space. Always over build. I started with a 4x8 then added 4x8 then added 4x8 get the picture. Enjoy your hens. If they are over crowed they pick on each other, the will be more chance of disease etc. Its like people living together in a not large enough room 24-7 . You go stir crazy. They sometimes will cannabalise each other. Eat eggs etc. Don't over crowd. Gloria Jean
Those are Standard size chickens.
You could go smaller, But I wouldn't.
Overcrowding will cause the chickens to pick each others feathers out to the point of wounds and/or death, amonia build-up too fast to keep clean unless you clean every day, stress which can cause illness or less egg laying.........
If the birds will stay in their coop a lot, like during winter, you want as much space as you can get.
I get it. Thanks. I've had two teenage boys living in a room too small for them and the smell was just awful sometimes. They never resorted to cannibalism but they were close a few times. I would hate to walk into a coop and get the feeling that my chickens were eying ME for dinner. I think I'll keep going on the 8x8. I'll post pics as soon as I get more than the dancing floor built.

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