A Story Problem you must solve. Marty planned to start his chicken operation with 4 hens. He got to the farm and figured the more the merrier. He ended up with 10. (They are 10 weeks old now). 1 died the next day, so he went to the farm and replaced that one with (of course) 3 more, making a total of 12. Now, he and his wife have chicken fever. They want to add some Americanas or Wynadottes. They have a 14x4 foot tractor, (includes a 4x4 coop) but are making another 4'x8' permanent coop, with 1000 square feet of run. How many chickens can Marty and his wife have with the tractor and new coop/run? Please give high and low estimates. Show and explain your work. You have 5 minutes. Begin now.

Well you know when they get the new coop built then the other coop willl be empty and it wil have to have chickens too. So if you add the 4 x4 coop and the 4 x 8 coop dimensions together then you have 50 square feet. They say 4 feet per chicken so that would be 12 which they already have, but you have the 2 feet left over so throw another chicken in for good measure. Of course I think they could probably make it 3 square feet because their run is so big so that would be 16 chickens with two feet left over so you could probably make it 17 chickens max! Happy chicken keeping.

momma's chickens : Well you know when they get the new coop built then the other coop willl be empty and it wil have to have chickens too. So if you add the 4 x4 coop and the 4 x 8 coop dimensions together then you have 50 square feet. They say 4 feet per chicken so that would be 12 which they already have, but you have the 2 feet left over so throw another chicken in for good measure. Of course I think they could probably make it 3 square feet because their run is so big so that would be 16 chickens with two feet left over so you could probably make it 17 chickens max! Pretty creative math there! I was hoping for a bigger number. But.... Now, when you say, "They say 4 feet per chicken"... That's kind of debatable from what I've read on BYC. (he said hoping...) Heres my (limited) experience; I started out by reading "Chicken Tractor". The author says you can raise 10 full sized layers (or 20 meat chickens) in a 4'x10' tractor. That's 4 square feet per bird, but it's all run. I added the 4x4 coop at the end, and figured I could add 2 more birds. I did have some pecking problems though (duh) and solved it by separation and more outside play time. Today 11 - 10 week olds are doing just wonderfully in the tractor. So, as these gals get bigger and start laying eggs, is my tractor idea too pie in the sky, or is the "4 feet per chicken" really just an estimate? Marty

I understand where you are coming from wanting more chickens than than you have space for. I get it - I was there, built a bigger coop and could easily be there again. I know some of the people of BYC that I respect the most say 4 feet is the number. The internet says you can do it in 2 feet per bird. If they are going to be outside all the time then maybe the 2 feet would work, but if you are going to have to keep them in at all for the winter or anything I personnally feel that is too small. I feel the coop stays cleanier, less smell and less health problems with 4 feet. Also if you are going to go less than 4 feet ventilation is a big issue. More chickens in a small space means more moisture. I am not as experienced as a lot of BYC members so perhaps use the search key and type "space in coop per chicken." Regardless have fun with your chicken venture.

Ok, can anyone else chime in? If I've got a 4x8 coop, and 1000 sq feet of run, how many more (that 8) chickens can I comfortably have? Were in Salt Lake winters all the way from mild to moderate to pretty cold. (Garden zone 5) The coop will be inside a garage and can easily be heated

Well.... Run space is supposed to be 10 sq ft/ bird, so 1000 sq ft run = 100 hens! If your weather is good enough that they only sleep in the coop, you could probably cram them in to 2-3 sq ft each. So 4x8=32 sf 32sf= 10-15 hens. But that isn't really a good idea if they are going to spend any amount of time in there. Another thing you might consider if you have that much run space is to build a second shelter. Either another coop, or even just a 3 sided shelter where they could get out of the weather. You could even just put a few dog houses out there.

I got an idea! Instead "planning to build another 4' x8'" build 8' x 16', which equals 128 Sq. Ft.! And then, based on the "calculations" for happy healthy birds, 128sq. ft. divided by 4 per bird, that equals 32 happy chickens! And not only that, but they get a great outdoor run to play in, with lots of room to do the things that chickens do best! I like to dream big, what can I say?

Well, the 4x8 coop is inside the garage, so a 8x16 isn't an option. Building another coop outside... hmm... Honey, what's our budget? However, inside that 1000 square foot run, is a 9x5 metal shed. But after reading about metal sheds as coops on BYC, I decided not to use that as a coop. I suppose I could just open it up and let them have shelter there. I think we'll have to play it by ear and see how things go. The garage coop is almost done, and I'm gett'n excited! Any other thoughts? Marty