Sufficient or overkill?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by medicmommy, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. medicmommy

    medicmommy Out Of The Brooder

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    Looking to build a new coop. We have 3 hens a year old, 14 3 week olds and 6 2 day olds. Was considering doing a 8x10 shed type with a walk in door. Cabinets along one wall for food storage and nesting boxes on top of those (how high off the ground should those be?) Several roosting poles on the other side. I want them to free range eventually but for now they will have to stay in a run since they'd be easy pickings for the hawks overhead. Was thinking maybe 8x20 for the run.
    How tall is the run usually? Any suggestions on the wire? Last time I used just chicken wire and it rusted and broke. I had considered doing a coop over run like I had before but am just very indecisive. We have 3 acres (not much level ground and not a single tree yet) I've seen lots of ideas on here but this site is as addictive as Pinterest!! And chicks are worse! I appreciate any and all suggestions you have for me. Not quite a newbie but not an expert either. Obviously with the uneven ground I can't do a tractor style and I don't really want to use all of our new land for my chickies. Will it need to be 8x10 no matter what height it is? It seems like if it is 8x10x7 that's much more room than 8x10x3. Does that make any sense at all? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    If I am doing my math right you have 23 birds total - correct? How many are you planning to keep? Are they LF or bantam? Are they all layers or are some being raised for meat? Where are you located/what is the climate?
     
  3. medicmommy

    medicmommy Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes 23 layers. We will keep all. Located in South Central Kentucky (home of the Corvette and it's sinkhole!) hot and humid summers mostly 80-90's with 35-55% humidity I think, winters generally aren't crazy but we did get several hits of snow and ice last year. Lots of wind at my place too.
     
  4. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Okay...I'll give this a shot...so many questions!! :)
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    Was considering doing a 8x10 shed type with a walk in door. Eighty square feet for 23 birds is not nearly enough room...they'll be crammed in there which will eventually lead to bickering amongst the flock and could lead to fighting and get bloody.

    Cabinets along one wall for food storage and nesting boxes on top of those (how high off the ground should those be?) That really depends on how tall these cabinets are. If they are only at the maximum 2 feet from the ground up you could get away with putting your nesting boxes on top, and that's actually "pushing" it for height.

    Several roosting poles on the other side. For 23 birds you will need approximately a total of at least 23 feet of roosting bars. Advise that you use only 2 x 4's "flat side" UP so they can be comfortable while sleeping.

    I want them to free range eventually but for now they will have to stay in a run since they'd be easy pickings for the hawks overhead. Even at full growth chickens will remain "easy pickings" for birds of prey...I am not an advocate of free-ranging.

    Was thinking maybe 8x20 for the run. That size run for that many birds will be a tight fit and will almost certainly result in bickering between members of your flock and then fighting and could get bloody.

    How tall is the run usually? That's really up to the individual. As for myself my run starts at 6' and tapers down to 4.5 feet for rain/snow runoff. Most people prefer to be able to "walk in" to their runs...

    Any suggestions on the wire? Last time I used just chicken wire and it rusted and broke. Aaah...my favorite subject! The only wire to use to be predator proof at all is the use of 1/2" hardware cloth, attached with 1-1/2" deck screws and fender washers. Spendy at the onset, but well worth it in the long run. Chicken wire is USELESS. Predators can and will tear through it like it was butter...raccoon, fox, weasel, badger, coyote, and of course dogs. If you have known predators in your neck of the woods I would highly recommend that you "apron" it like in these example pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I hope some of my suggestions/advice will be helpful to you...wishing you all the best!
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Way too small for sure. They will start to pick holes in each other. The height doesn't really matter to the chickens but it does to the people that will have to go inside to clean. My husband refuses to even enter one pen I have as he hits his head every time he goes in.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    8 feet by 10 feet is 80 square feet. Divide 80 square feet by 23 chickens and that is equal to 3.47 square chicken feet per bird..

    Open the below link to read about the number of hen feet that every standard sized chicken needs.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/34001/coop-and-run-sq-feet-per-chicken

    Therefore 3.47 square hen feet is cramped by about .53 square hen foot. However you do have access to over 260,000 more square feet by virtue of owning 3 acres on which you are planning to free range your birds anyway. Overall I don't see a lot wrong with your plan but if you are concerned increase your run to 8 X 12 or even 8 x 16 feet

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Agrees that your planned space is a little tight...especially if you need to confine them due to weather or predation events.

    Height does matter, both for the comfort of the keeper walking in to chore(both in coop and run) and the best case scenario for ventilation, roost, and nest placement.

    The height needs stack up:
    I wanted my nests about waist high for ease of access for myself......
    the roosts need to be at least a foot higher than the nests so they don't roost and poop in nests at night...
    ventilation should be as high as possible above the roosts to avoid drafts on the roost area during the winter.
    So taller you can build your coop the better.


    There are links to two very good articles on space and ventilation in my signature line....check em out!
     
  8. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    23 hens in 80 sqft is a ton better than 2 hens in 8 square feet, which is why square foot rules are silly. Things don't scale linearly. Also, height absolutely does matter. Chickens will spend time off the ground.
     
  9. LovemyBabies

    LovemyBabies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    General rule we do with ours is we do not do the minimum amount of space for birds depending on size for instance a 8x10 if you had Standard Cochins would only fit a few of your birds - we have 7 Cochins in a 10x10 - could get away with maybe 2-3 more birds but it's very Cramped- our orpingtons are also in a 10x10 with 12 birds- they are cramped when all inside at once except when sleeping (we're working on splitting them up) - so we generally go more space than too little with only a few birds- bantams don't need as much space as big birds- so a 8x10 for them works - we have 12 juvenile bantams in a 12x12 and they still have lots of space- a little more is always better than too little-

    Another example we had a holding pen 10 x10 with 20 birds in it while we were moving birds- it was cramped enough all they did was fight and bicker - they get very unhappy when space isn't enough
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  10. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you want to treat your birds like "FACTORY" raised birds.... cram them in a small space...

    OR..... Give them way more room than they need, to prevent fights that harm them...

    My coop is 8x4... 32 sq. ft. for 8 birds and the pop door is ALWAYS open.... they have a 12x20 run to roam in ... 240 sq. ft... soooo, a total of 272 sq. ft. or 34 sq. ft. per bird..... they can flee when the rooster is chasing them or a pecking match starts with the bossy ALFA Female hen... Seems to work so far.... Water and feed are in the run.... the coop is only used for laying and sleeping...
    I designed it like this because of predators.... They will not have the luxury of free ranging.... which is a shame, I know... but... I have too much invested in them to let some critter kill them...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.

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