What size should my coop be?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Jack Sparrow, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2009
    Las Cruces, NM
    I'm planning on getting around 15 chickens in the spring but first I want to build them a coop. What size should it be and how many feet of roost do I need? I will have sa large attached yard and they will eventually free range during the day. Any suggestions would be helpful.
  2. FarmerBoy24

    FarmerBoy24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 27, 2010
    Moreno Valley Ca
    Pretty Big:)
  3. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    First of all [​IMG] [​IMG] from Oregon!

    Standard sized hens need 4 sq. feet each in the hen house and 10 sq. feet in the run. Bantams can get by with about half that in the hen house and 8 sq. feet each in the run but more is always better. If the hen house is only for sleeping you can get by with 3 sq. feet per standard hen. It's a good idea to have 10-12 inches of roost space per hen. I prefer 12 inches in case its a warm night so they can spread out.

    So 15 x 4 = 60 sq. feet inside and 150 sq. feet in the run.
  4. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps


    8X8 coop works nice. All the lumber is already cut to 8 feet and plywood in 4X8.
  5. NoseyChickens

    NoseyChickens Feathers On The Ground

    Aug 3, 2009
    Southern California
    Bigger than you're planning now......in case you decide you want more chickens.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    As big as you can bring yourself to make it.

    For two reasons. One, as mentioned, you may want more chickens in future [​IMG]

    But more importantly, two, chickens really do better with more space than the conventional "3-4 sq ft apiece indoors plus 8-10 sq ft apiece in the run" rule of thumb that is popularly quoted on this forum. What that is a ballpark number for is "reasonable likelihood of avoiding cannibalism and pecking problems". They behave differently and IMO more relaxed/happier at larger space allotments... so the more you can give 'em the better. It also makes management easier and minimizes sanitation issues.

    A linear foot of roost per chicken is plenty, and you can go less if you have to as long as it's a reasonably congenial flock (down to 8" or so for normal sized chickens, less for banties)

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    My first coop has 10 hens & one roo its 8x10 coop. With 10 x 15 run. I personally think it should be bigger. The second coop that is almost complete is gonna keep 25 hens only will be three sided, 18'x 10' with 10 ' x 15' run. Total coop & run being 330'. Remember bigger is always better.
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have a little over 12 sq ft per chicken in the coop (not counting the babies, who will go to the freezer) and they free range. I'm so glad I have that much space. There was plenty to build a broody (or isolation) coop inside the coop that's about 5'x6', plus two garbage cans for feed, some bales of pine shavings, and whatever else I want in there. And they do hang out in there in bad weather sometimes, or even for the shade in summer.

    8x8 will probably work for you, now, but it won't have extra space to store feed or add chickens, or just for hanging out without getting freaky about it if the weather is bad.

    Patandchickens is quite wise about coops -- I believe she has 15 sq ft per bird, though hers stay inside this time of year as she is in Canada. She has some really good articles linked in her post.
  9. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    ddawn, I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that Pat is a man.

    I agree with having a gigantic coop. You will love having the extra room. 8x8 will work but, go as big as you can above that. It is pretty inexpensive to make a coop bigger when first building it. Even just going from 8x8 to 10x10 adds 36sf of floor space! That's almost 10 chickens! even if you never add an extra chicken to your flock it is still worth it IMHO.

    The #1 piece of advice given on this forum is "Make it bigger!" I have never heard anyone complain that they went too big.
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:You would be in error. Read her home page.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by