Such thing as too big?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ladybug2001, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Ladybug2001

    Ladybug2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2012

    I am in the beginning stages of starting a coop so that we can get chicks next spring.

    I read that too big of a coop is somewhat of a bad thing.

    So basically, I am wondering would a 8' x 8' x Probably 8' coop be too big for approximately 10 chickens?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    It is great to have a big coop. Then when chicken math takes over you don't have to rush to build an addition! [​IMG]

    And actually, your coop isn't that big. Fine for ten chickens. Will you free range?
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Can you tell us the reasons they gave a coop can be too big? I very much doubt any reason a coop can be too big will stand up to logic and reason, other than cost.

    8’ x 8’ x 8’ sounds great for 10 chickens, but it also depends some on how you manage them. People get really hung up on coop space in isolation. Chickens don’t understand the concept of coop space versus run space versus free range. They just want to have space of some kind when they need it. You might follow the link in my signature for some of my thoughts on space. It might help.

    I love a walk-in coop, it is just so much easier. But make sure you have enough slope on the roof so water runs off, hopefully not above a door and not into the run. A flat roof will either leak or rot.

    8’ is a very good size to use for a coop. Most building materials come in 4’ or 8’ sections so if you are buying new it’s usually a cost effective size that minimizes cutting and waste. Just use the 8’ as an out-to-out dimension, not centerline.
  4. Ladybug2001

    Ladybug2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2012
    It said that too big of a coop would make it harder for the chickens to produce heat and stay warm?

    Though, I plan on insulating and venting well, but wanted to make sure that my plans weren't in that category.

    I hope to allow them to free range my whole acre and a half yard, if possible. Though if not, I do plan to give them a sizeable chunk of it.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  5. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2013
    Atlanta, Georgia
    I'm in the bigger is better camp. Walk-in coops are way easier to deal with, and more room gives you more options. Don't just think about the current chicks, build for the future as well. Got a "hospital" area in the coop if one gets sick or injured? Got a brooding area for new chicks (for easier integration)? Do your dimensions take into account nest boxes and roost spaces? Are you planning for any storage for chicken supplies in the coop? All things to think about before you build!


    Coop is 16x10 and run is 20x10. Actual chicken area in the coop is 8x10, other 8x10 is for storage. Plenty of space everywhere and VERY easy to maintain...takes maybe 5 minutes a day to scoop the poop and change the water. I let them out for a few hours a day to "free range" but we have a pretty high predator density here so I keep them inside when I can't supervise.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
    2 people like this.
  6. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]I agree that a coop can never be "too big".
    When we built ours, we made sure it was huge.
    It's an almost an exact replica of our ranch-style home, with the same windows and doors, same siding and shutters.

    It is one building with two parts. The mature hens have their side w/12 nest boxes; the other side serves as our brooder/grow up coop.
    It's divided by sliding wood frames/hardware cloth. This method works well so the chickens are not strangers to each other.
    It also helps with integration, as we just slide back the screen partitions when the time is right, making one big area.
    There are two windows, 2 human doors (each with a screen door for max air flow) and 2 pop doors w/ ramps. The young ones have their large run covered with netting and the big girls have their own area which is one acre fenced in, mostly woods.

    It's super cute and it's named "Clucker Cottage".
    We are all done with the integration for this year and everyone is getting along well.
    I am thankful for my beautiful healthy birds!
    1 person likes this.
  7. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.

    No such thing, as too big a coop. Bigger is better, always. Chickens, being perfectly insulated, generate plenty of heat for themselves. Insulating a coop, with cold weather in mind, is a total waste of time and $$$. If the coop is properly ventilated, and it HAS to be, even through the winter, then cold air is coming in. Build the coop as big as you can afford. Use the money you would waste on insulation, and make the coop bigger.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I thought that might be it. They don’t understand how chickens (or wild birds that overwinter) stay warm. They wear a down coat, those things are extremely warm.

    I don’t know where you are across the state line from me, but we don’t get winters all that cold as far as chickens go. I occasionally get a bit below zero Fahrenheit, but only by a few degrees. Some chickens sleep in trees in our climate during the winter and do fine as long as they are fairly sheltered from the wind.

    What chickens in our climate need to keep themselves warm is good ventilation and protection from direct winds. An easy way to do that in a tall coop is to have openings in winter above their heads when on the roost. That way any breezes are over their heads. Some people get fancy with roof vents or gable vents but I just have overhang and leave the top of the walls open (covered with hardware cloth against predators). That keeps the worse of the rain and snow out and lets bad air be exchanged for good air.

    Chickens trap air in their feathers and down. Those tiny pockets of air provide great natural insulation. If a wind strong enough to ruffle their feathers hits them, they can lose those pockets of air. Light drafts of air are fine, it’s a breeze that ruffles feathers that needs to be avoided.

    Your heat in summer is going to be much more dangerous to your birds than cold in your winter. Heat kills a lot more chickens than cold. If your chickens are relatively healthy and have a minimum of protection that can handle cold. In our summers you can’t have too much ventilation. Open windows with wire coverings for predator protection are very helpful. I have an area down at the bottom on the cool side of my coop that I open during summer. I can block that in winter.

    To me the only reason to insulate a coop in our climate is to provide some protection against heat in the summer. I don’t have it in my coop, it’s not necessary, summer or winter. But it won’t hurt as long as you have good ventilation and it’s not a kind they can eat. They will eat ventilation and it is not good for them. Depending on what kind it is you may need to cover it.

    I took this photo when it was four degrees above zero Fahrenheit a few years back. I left the pop door open and they decided to come out. If a cold wind had been blowing they would not be out like this. They really can handle cold weather quite well.

  9. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    I agree, there's no such thing as too big when it comes to chicken space. As far as keeping warm, chickens have a natural down coat, heat is actually more of a problem for them than cold.
  10. Ladybug2001

    Ladybug2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2012
    I really didn't think it was a problem, but wanted to check.

    I will stick with my original thinking of 8' by 8'.

    If I have any more questions I'll be sure to post instead of Google.

    Also, I'll probably post my final plans to get some feedback on it!

    Not my first time with chickens, but I want to do it right this time.

    Thanks everyone.

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