Will my run be large enough???


8 Years
Jun 13, 2011
Dexter Michigan
Getting 12 hens. Coop is essentially an 8 foot cube.

I'm building the attached run now and hoping it is large enough. It is (will be) 10x24 and 6 feet high.

That ok for 12?



8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
The general rule on BYC, and you'll have to do what works for you, is 4sq feet per bird in the coop and 10sq feet in the run!


Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
That is a good size. The coop and run are a larger then the minimum which is great. I find that the more room I give them, the less work for me and the happier and healthier they are.

You'll find a lot of people look at how many chickens they have and detemine the minimum space they can get by with. What you seem to have done is more have a certain number of chickens, then how much space can you give them. A nice approach.


8 Years
May 14, 2011
Many people will tell you 4sq ft per bird in the coop and 10sq ft in the run. 10X24 is 240sq ft of run space. The size is wonderful for them! I am sure you will have happy birds. 8 ft tall is great since you wont have to duck to get in there.
Happy chickening to you!



8 Years
May 16, 2011
North Pole, Alaska 99705
Excellent size, lots of room for happy birds plus space if you catch that disease called "chicken math". Big enough for the birds but not too large to wire in the top and only need 1 or 2 center supports so you don't have to crawl to clean the run. Don'y forget to skirt the run too. That way the birds are free to get up early and enjoy the cool morning without you having to get up earlier than needed for work and play just so they can.


Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Quote:No. The general rule among BYC and the professional international community is two square feet per bird in the coop/

I'm afraid I disagree. Commercial operations do use less spacing than is generaly recommended on this forum, in some cases less than 2 square feet per chicken with no room in a run. On this forum, we generally recommend a minimum of 4 square feet in the coop with a minimum of 10 square feet in a run per full sized chicken. We generally do not keep chickens the same as commercial operations. We do not automatically trim their upper beak so they cannot eat each other, which can be a serious problem in crowded spaces. We do not generally have automatic poop handling equipment or forced ventilation. Our recommendations assume certain management practices and take into account a "poop load" that can be handled without a lot of excess work or air quality issues in a coop without air handling equipment. Our conditions usually include outside time, where they at least get to see the sun instead of a controlled lighting situation to help regulate egg laying and exactly how much feed they eat. Our general recommendations are intended to help keep people from Edinborough Scotland to Perth Australia, to Boulder Colorado to Miami Florida out of trouble. Our flocks can easily contain multiple roosters or broodies with chicks. Many on here have flocks of only a few birds, while others have fairly large flocks. Size and flock mix makes a difference.

Of course each of us have different circumstances and conditons. These are general guidelines to cover a lot of different circumstances, management practices, and climates, not the sterile identical conditions of a commercial hatchery. The commercial operations are there so people can make a living so they have learned how to use as little space as possible. Space is expensive. If you are going to use commercial spacing, you need to use commercial practices. We are generally not in it to make a profit, though many of us enjoy the eggs and meat and some even sell them. And, yes, many of us could and do get by with less space than these guidelines, depending on climate, management practices, experience, and how much we want to work at it. Several of us have occasionally advised that 2 square feet per chicken is plenty under certain conditions, mainly that the chickens have access to a large outside space 365 days a year, are not left locked in the coop for very long after they wake up, and the coop is used only as a safe place for them to sleep at night and lay eggs. Most of us fail in some of these.

Here is something I wrote talking about space requirements. Maybe it will help explain some of the reasons most of us on this forum think we need more space for our chickens.

As long as you have enough height for the roosts to be noticeably higher than the nest boxes, height does not matter to chickens. They are basically ground dwelling birds, so the ground area is all that really matters space wise. I said it does not matter to the chickens. It does matter to me if I have to work in there. It matters quite a bit.

If the nest boxes are high enough off the ground that the chickens can easily get under them, then nest boxes do not take away from the space available. The tops of the nesting boxes does not add to the living space either although they may occasionally be up there. Ground level is what counts.

Some of the things that make up the space requirement are, in my opinion:

1. Personal space for the birds. They have different personalities and different individual requirements. Some are very possessive of personal space and some can share.

2. Access to feeder and waterer. The general recommendation is that they all be able to eat at one time, but access to the waterer is also important. Part of this is that they seem to like to all eat at once but not necessarily drink at the same time. Part of it is that a dominant bird may keep others from eating or drinking, especially with limited access.

3. Being able to put the feeder and waterer where they will not poop in it when they roost.

4. Roost space. They not only need to have enough room to roost, they need to have enough room for them to sort out who gets to sleep next to whom and who gets the prime spots. They also need enough room to get on the roosts and get off them. When they get on, they may jump from some midway support or fly directly to the roost, but either way, they like to spread their wings. And some chickens seem to enjoy blocking the entry points if there are limits. And when they get off, mine tend to want to fly down, not jump to a halfway point. They need room to fly down without bumping into feeders, waterers, nesting boxes, or a wall.

5. Poop load. The larger area they have the less often you have to actively manage the poop. They poop a lot while on the roost so you may have to give that area special consideration, but mucking out the entire coop can be backbreaking work plus you have to have some place to put all that bedding and poop. In my opinion, totally cleaning out the coop is something that needs to happen as seldom as possible.

6. How often are they able to get out of the coop. The more they are confined to the coop, the larger the personal space needs to be. The normal recommendation on this forum is 4 square feet per full sized chicken with a minimum of 10 square feet of run per bird. This additional requirement outside is sometimes not mentioned. How often they are allowed out of the coop may depend on a lot more than just weather. Your work schedule, when you are able to turn them loose, what time of day you open the pop door to let them out or lock them up at night, all this and more enters into the equation. The 4 square feet recommendation assumes they will spend extended time in the coop and not be able to get in the run. What that extended time can safely be depends on a lot of different factor so there is no one correct length of time for everyone.

7. Do you feed and water in the coop or outside. The more they are outside, the less pressure on the size of the coop.

8. The size of the chicken. Bantams require less room than full sized chickens. This has to be tempered by breed and the individual personalities. Some bantams can be more protective of personal space than others, but this is also true of full sized breeds.

9. The breed of the chicken. Some handle confinement better than others.

10. The number of chickens. The greater the number of chickens, the more personal space they can have if the square foot per chicken stays constant. Let me explain. Assume each chicken occupies 1 square foot of space. If you have two chickens and 4 square feet per chicken, the two chickens occupy 2 square feet, which leaves 6 square feet for them to explore. If you have ten chickens with 4 square feet per chicken, each chicken has 30 unoccupied square feet to explore. A greater number also can give more space to position the feeders and waterers properly in relation to the roosts and provide access. I’m not encouraging you to crowd your birds if you have a large number of them. I’m trying to say you are more likely to get in trouble with 4 square feet per chicken if you have very few chickens.

11. What is your flock make-up. A flock with more than one rooster may be more peaceful if it has more space. I don't want to start the argument about number or roosters here as I know more than one rooster can often peacefully coexist with a flock, but I firmly believe more space helps.

12. What is the maximum number of chickens you will have. Consider hatching chicks or bringing in replacements. Look down the road a bit.

13. Do you want a broody to raise chicks with the flock? A broody needs sufficient room to work with or you risk problems from other chickens.

14. The more space you have, the easier it is to integrate new chickens.

I'm sure I am missing several components, but the point I'm trying to make is that we all have different conditions. There is no magic number that suits us all. The 4 square feet in a coop with 10 square feet in the run is a good rule of thumb for a minimum that most of the time will keep us out of trouble, but not always. I do believe that more is better both in the coop and in the run.


8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
Bolton, Mississippi
No. The general rule among BYC and the professional international community is two square feet per bird in the coop/

Frankly TDM, I don't know where you got your information. BTW, what is the "international community"? If you are talking commercial growers you are correct, but that does NOT
equate to backyard chickens whatsoever.​

7L Farm

9 Years
Jul 22, 2010
Anderson, Texas
Bigger is better. Here's my big coop its three sided & 330 sq ft it houses 16 pullets. I only range these birds for 4 hours a day. So they are cooped up but they have alot of space & seem quite content thus far. They have been raised in this coop since one week old.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom