What is my coop's max capacity?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by eleanna, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. eleanna

    eleanna Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 12, 2015
    Hello there!

    My coop is 3 square meters and there is a small area in front of it. What is the max number of chicken it can host?
    Is there a rule?


    Eleanna [​IMG]
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    By the coop space rule you can fit 8 birds. By the roost space rule (10-12 inches per bird) you can probably fit double that or more, but roost space rules should only be used in conjunction with a strict adherence to the 10 sq. ft. per bird run space rule. By "small area in front", do you mean run?
  3. eleanna

    eleanna Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 12, 2015
    @QueenMisha yes I mean a space where they can go out and wander around.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    So, do you mean that your coop is approximately 3 meters wide, and 3 meters long? (total area of 9 sq. meters) = room for 20 chickens. Your run would need to be 200 sq. feet. 22+ sq. meters.

    Or, do you mean that it is approximately 1 meter wide and 3 meters long (total area of 3 sq. meters.) = room for 7 chickens. Your run would need to be 70 sq. feet. 8 sq. meters.
  5. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    In that case, don't get any more birds than will fit in your run based on the 10 sq. ft. per bird rule, which Google is telling me equates to 1 square meter. Coop space rules can be bent, run space should not.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I read just the opposite the other day and thought it made sense, especially in my climate....
    ......maybe it's that if you skimp on one, you better not skimp on the other.

    Course I've found it's best not to skimp on either, but provide more than the oft cited 4sqft(0.38sqm) per bird in coop / 10sqft(0.93sqm) per bird in run.
    1 person likes this.
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    Me too, and one coop are free range and the other coop has a quarter acre run lol... I can't sacrifice coop space, especially in winter here; they start getting cabin fever from being "cooped up" together when it storms :(

    They don't even venture more than 5' from the door on days like that ;)
  8. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2014
    Just to be clear ... A square meter is a square that has all four sides measuring a meter long ... A meter is about 39" inches ... So a square meter is about roughly 10 square feet ...

    In a coop of 3 sq meters of floor space, I wouldn't put in more than six chickens ... But like stated ... It depends ... What breed? What size? What temperament? How much space do they have for a run?
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Eleanna, the actual measurements of the coop and run would help so we know better what we are looking at. Is it 3mx3m or 1mx3m? Also, the winter climate and amount of snow you can get in Greece can vary quite a bit, depending on where you are. While they can get used to it after a few days most chickens don’t like snow at first. It can take run space away from them for a few days.

    The rule of 4 square feet (0.37 square meters) in the coop and 10 square feet (0.93 square meters) in the run per chicken is pretty much based on keeping nothing but hens the same age together. You can normally substitute one rooster for one of the hens in that number but if you have more than one rooster with the flock, have a hen hatch and raise chicks with the flock, or integrate new chickens with your flock, maybe as future replacements, you need more room. Exactly how much more is difficult to say. There are a lot of variables. We are all unique.

    Chickens do not understand the difference in run space and coop space. They just understand space that is available to them when they need it. That can be in just the coop or the combined coop and run. When do they need the room? Pretty much when they are awake. A lot of that will be controlled by your climate and management techniques. If your climate allows and you do not leave them locked up for very long after they wake up the 4 and 10 rule works pretty well.

    Like most guidelines given on here it has some extra room in it because we are so unique in how we manage our chickens. You can get by with less space but I find that the tighter you pack them the more behavioral problems you have to deal with as Shortgrass said. The tighter they are the less flexibility you have to deal with problems that do arise. I find the tighter I pack them the harder I have to work. An example of that is that chickens poop a lot. The tighter they are packed the more work you have to do managing the poop. Commercial operations have shown you can get by with less room per chicken but I just don’t want to work that hard.

    Another potential problem with coop size is that you need enough room to provide roost space for all chickens yet be able to position the feeders and waterers and nests where they don’t poop in them from the roosts at night. If those are not in the coop but in the run instead and they have access to the run, then your coop size can be less. A lot of it depends on how you manage them and your flock make-up.

    You might follow the link in my signature for more of my thoughts on space. I don’t give you hard and fast rules, more things to consider when you are deciding how many chickens will fit.

    Good luck!
  10. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    All excellent points! :)

    I have to speak from experience on trying to put too many chickens in one coop, clean up messes from spilled feeders and waterers getting kicked by feisty hens(or myself lol), and some very grumpy top roost BRs and pecked heads...

    This winter, I made a second coop with plenty of roosting space and nice spits for feeders where I won't kick them etc... And no more banties with nasty BRs pecking them off the roost :D

    We try, we learn, we adjust ;)

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