talk me off the roost - a coop dimension issue

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tavernchickens, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. tavernchickens

    tavernchickens New Egg

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    Jun 5, 2007
    I'm just finishing what turned out to be my first coop for my first 6 ladies.
    Layers all to be picked up tomorrow.
    And now I'm starting to question the dimension. I built a super strong 4x4 coop with 2 nests 20 inches off the ground and roost. Knowing that each hen should have 2 sq ft, I should be fine. However, I'm now starting to fret that if I discount the space underneath the roosts, I'm cutting the space short.

    Does roost space and or the space underneath it count as the 2x2 rule of thumb?
    (roosts will be elevated to the 22 or so inches off the ground)

    Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

    James:/
     
  2. cookinmom

    cookinmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    Hi James,
    My understanding of this is that you need to have 4 sq ft of floor space per bird. With a 4x4 house, you have 16 sq ft, or enough room for 4 birds. You can count the floor space under the roost. Roost space is a whole different issue, and I think the recommendation is 1 ft per bird. (Although my 9 all cram into 3 ft of roost [​IMG] They do have more than that, they just don't sit on it all at once.) 2 nests might be OK. I've heard they all like to use the same one anyway.
    I haven't had chickens long enough to know if you can make do with what you have, though, so don't get discouraged. It might be alright. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along with more info!
     
  3. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    This is my understanding......
    The 4 sq ft per bird guidline is primarily concerning birds who are left locked in the coop. I had 7 standards in a 4x4 but they were only in there to roost or lay eggs. So, if your birds always have access to the outdoors, whether it's in a nice big run or free range, I think your hens will be fine. However, if you like to, say, go on vacation and need to leave them locked up 24/7 for a few days then you need a bigger space or fewer birds. imho
     
  4. cookinmom

    cookinmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    Well, that makes a lot of sense! I wondered why in the world a chicken would need 4 sq ft of space when they're hardly ever in there anyway!!!
     
  5. Half-a-dozen

    Half-a-dozen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2007
    NJ
    Do you think that one week out of the whole year (per say) that you had to lock them in the coop they would be able to handle it- for just one week?
     
  6. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Personally, I wouldn't leave 6 standards in a 4x4 coop for a week. By the time space is taken for food and water there isn't much left. If even one bird gets mad at being locked in and starts pecking/feather picking, a lot of damage could be done in a short time. My 4x4 coop is 2 story with roosts and outside
    nest boxes up top with a ramp to the bottom which is wire. I put food and water on the bottom. This gives nearly double the space yet the foot print is still 4x4.
     
  7. tavernchickens

    tavernchickens New Egg

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    Jun 5, 2007
    Thanks to all for what seems to be both very good advice and for putting my mind at ease.
    The 4 x 4 coop is build like a tank. Nesting boxes are extended off the exterior wall for my young children to access. I have 2 roosts each 36 long. Plus a drop box with screen over it under the roosts for easier cleanup and a more cleanly house. As for the run, we were originally going to free range but as coincidence may be, we now have a red tail hawk taking up residence close to our home. Wonder if he saw my plans for the house.
    That said, I've built an outside run that started at 4x8 with welded 1x2 wire. Now I'm going to double the size to keep them happy.

    I'll post pics as soon as I move the 250lb arc from my garage to a proper site -

    Thanks to all and also to a wonderful site - it help convince my wife and I that having some backyard friends was the way to go.

    James:)
     

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