Thoughts on coop and run plan

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MamaInPajamas, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. MamaInPajamas

    MamaInPajamas Chirping

    Jan 7, 2015
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hello everyone! I wanted to pick your brains on our plans for our chicken space in our back yard.

    My husband and I are planning on building a chicken tractor that is 4x7 with a gambrel roof and letting them roam freely for most of the time in a fenced area of our back yard. Overall they would have slightly less than 1/10th of an acre to cluck around in for most of the day with berry bushes, some tall grasses, and hostas.

    My first question is, how many birds would fit comfortably in a coop that size? I know the rule of thumb is 4 sqft per full-sized bird, but is there any leeway if they'll just be sleeping and laying in the coop? I'd like to have about 8 chickens eventually (we're starting with 4), so I'm just wondering for future reference if that would be too tight.

    Second, we want to have a safe space for our birds when we're away. There's generally someone home, during the day, but when we go on vacation, etc we want an enclosed area so if a neighbor or someone is looking after them they won't need to worry about a chasing after a fence jumper. The area we're looking at is next to our house and has a 25 degree slope. It's about 15' x 5' ft. Is that too high of a slope? Would that space be too small for 8 birds to be confined to 3 to 5 days at a time 4 times per year? Any advice on making it more hospitable when they do have to be confined?

    For reference, we're in Minnesota so winters can be cold and snow can be deep. We're getting an Ameraucana, a Wyandotte, an Orpington, and a Plymouth Rock.

    I want them to be happy and I'm not going for the "stuff-them-in" method, but I'd like to get enough eggs for a family of five :)
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  2. laurenhill11245

    laurenhill11245 In the Brooder

    Id say that size is fine for those 4 :) you could probably fit 2 more as well :) the only thing with winter of course is that when confined they can wreck the ground and create a muddy patch so it's always a good idea to have a plan for reseeding the ground should that happen :) (I live on a farm and most of my hens roam freely but the few that have a run always wreck the ground in winter) a good idea is things for them to do try putting in some kind of area for them to scratch around in a sand bath etc something to hang maybe? I live in the UK so I'm not sure if this brand exists in USA but I buy mine lots of hentastic treats :) keeps them happy and they're full of good vitamins and minerals :D [​IMG]

    if they have lots of bushes a friend of mine hangs cooked spaghetti and hangs that from the bushes :)

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