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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by feelyweely, Dec 31, 2016.
can 6 hens fit comfortable in an 18 sq ft coop (6x3)? thanks!
Follow the link in my signature below. That will help explain my answer.
You are focusing on a small part of the puzzle. You need to look at the big picture. Chickens do not understand the concept of “coop” space versus “run” space. They understand that if they need space, is it there somewhere, anywhere, now? You have to know what total space you have, when it is available, and even the quality of that space. While I’m always a proponent of the more space the better, I’d prefer to see two separate relatively small areas available instead of just one larger area. One way chickens have learned to live together in a flock is when there is conflict one runs away or just avoids the conflict to start with by keeping away. If a chicken having problems can escape from the coop to a run, even if both are small, that is probably better than just a larger coop.
Another part is that it needs to be convenient for you. It can be challenging to put enough roost space for six hens in a 3x6 coop and still be able to feed and water in there without them pooping in them. Where are you going to put your nests? It’s not a matter of square feet per chicken, it’s a matter of having enough room to set it up. The more crowded it is, the less flexibility you have in setting it up. You may have to feed and water outside instead of in the coop. Are you OK with that, especially in your climate?
Another possible issue is the more crowded the chickens are the more the poop builds up. You probably have to work harder to manage that poop. If your chickens spend practically all day in the coop, poop may become a big issue. If they spend most of the day outside, it’s less of a problem. You may still need to use droppings boards to reduce the poop load in the coop, but that may be a lot easier than cleaning out the entire coop regularly. Sort of tied to this, do you have enough room in that coop for you to work?
If you follow that link, most of that stuff addresses your comfort and convenience more than the chickens.
My answer to you is not a simple yes or no. My answer is maybe. If you have ample room elsewhere and manage them so that room is available when they are awake, if your climate allows them to be outside practically every day (how your run is set up influences that), and if you are willing to work hard enough, that can be plenty of room. But if they are confined in that coop a lot of their waking day or you don’t manage the poop, you could run into problems.
@Ridgerunner Your link was very helpful to me.
I have a nice little coop/run setup that I bought used and put 3 full sized hens into. Coop is 8 sq. ft; run is 32. I've been letting them out into the world for a few hours each day on the weekend but I feel sad for them trapped the rest of the time. (But we have hawks and a highway and they like to ditch the yard entirely sometimes). When the days get longer and it's not dark out when I get home, they will get more freedom surely.
I was worried that they don't have enough space. Your article made me feel better about their little lives. They get along very well and the coop is completely open to the run 24 hours a day so they can get away from each other and get fresh air or shelter whenever they want, even if they only have 2.66 square feet of actual coop space apiece.
They are plump and friendly and healthy. They get their coop poop scooped every morning and most days they also get some table or garden leftovers. Could be worse for them, yes?
Reassurance to assuage my mother's guilt. Thank you.