What exactly is square foot per chicken?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by desertgirl, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. desertgirl

    desertgirl Roo Magnet

    Mar 29, 2009
    I've read a few different places that you should allow 2-4 square feet per chicken (we're designing our coop and going with 4,just to be safe). Question ;does this mean including the coop, or just the run? I am assuming they mean 4 square feet of living space, which includes both the coop and the run, but I would like to make sure.

  2. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    no not including the run, that's just for the coop, incase weather get real bad, and there is no run ( winter).
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    The guideline is 4 sq ft per chicken inside the coop and 10 sq feet per chicken in the run. Depending on the area, and if you free range, you could half this, however, if they must stay cooped, often people say at least double it or you may end up with picking and cannibalism.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Different people do it different ways of course.

    Commercial layers in cages get less than 2 sq ft per hen and that is their *whole entire world*.

    Books oriented towards keeping chickens in industry-like conditions (caged layers) suggest 2-4 sq ft per hen, any run space is considered a luxury.

    Books and people oriented to keeping chickens "compactly" but in better conditions than the above, so there is less stress and cannibalism and such, tend to recommend 3-4 sq ft per hen indoors plus a run of 6-10 sq ft per hen.

    People whose chickens free-range all day and 365 days per year in an always-pleasant climate may have 2 sq ft indoors per hen, but essentially unlimited space outdoors.

    I live up here where many chickens are unamused by the outdoor weather for 4-5 months a year, and also I have seen the difference in how chickens act at 4 sq ft per chicken vs lots more, and I have 15 sq ft per chicken indoors plus runs that size or bigger (and I wish they were even bigger).

    Obviously I'd strongly argue for giving them as much space as possible, anywhere they are confined or will choose to confine themselves, with 4 sq ft per hen being marginally sufficient but really not ideal IMHO -- but certainly there are lots of different opinions on the subject, and many people with healthy chickens in various size situations.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009

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