Worried my coop isn't big enough, advice?


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 3, 2010
Hi there,
I have four adorable chicks in the brooder on my porch and I'm worried the coop we are building isn't big enough. It's an ark design which we bought a while ago when we were very new to all this, and the floor dimensions are a little over 3 ft by 3 ft with the height at 4 feet. We are planning on building them a nice size run and they will have room under the ark, and we'll free range them when we're home in the yard (we have lots of hawks around).

Honestly, is this too small? We have worked so hard on it but now reading everything I am afraid it will be. We will not be getting any more chickens than this for sure.


ETA: I'm going through posts and had a few thoughts. We can take off a whole side of the roof for cleaning and getting eggs, just FYI. But I did think about maybe adding nest boxes on to the sides to make it a little bigger if that would make a difference. If not....um.....dh and I will be sad but anybody wanna buy a beautiful chicken ark in Georgia?
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life in the yard
9 Years
Mar 18, 2010
stamford, ct
The equation for health and happiness is 4 square feet per bird inside, 10 in the run. You seem to be where I was at the beginning. I had ordered a coop (spent more than I should have) which claimed to fit 12 to 15 chickens. It is 6 x 4 feet inside, soooo.... I checked around on the forum trying to figure out a way to make it work, and eventually someone on here said something along the lines of, "look, I guess you could go ahead and stuff a dozen birds in there, that doesn't mean they'll be happy or healthy - especially when the weather turns". Point taken. I've since found a wooden playhouse for a very reasonable price and will be using it to make an addition on to the existing coop. Pain in the butt, yes; extra expense, of course. But when you consider everything you are investing in terms of time, money, and emotion (you do fall in love with them - didn't expect that!) you might as well try and get it right. One thing I can say is that, all said and done, it's been worth it. We love our chooks!
Good luck to you!


Love My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 28, 2009
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
My Coop
Will your run be covered??? With an attached, good sized run that they have constant access to (except at night when you shut them inside), you can probably get by. I wouldn't keep more than two birds in a 9 sq. ft. housing MYSELF, but my girls are spoiled pets. However, with at least two roosts, external nest boxes that you mentioned adding, and ample run space, they would probably be okay, You guys have fairly mild winters down there, don't you??? So there is little chance that they would ever be stuck inside the housing other than for sleeping??? If all that is the case, then I would wait to see how they do this winter. If you see bullying behavior, feather picking, etc., start up, then you will know that they are overcrowed and irritable. Get that run going!!


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 3, 2010
Yep, our run will be covered and they will have constant access to it. I'm still sort of on the fence, but dh and I talked this afternoon and I think we are going to go the playhouse route. We can probably sell the ark (which KILLS me since I painted it and it is so cute!) and buy a Little tikes house and convert it, which we had talked about doing anyway. The ark needed a lot more modification to be okay, and we'd rather spend the time on something that will last. Our winter was very cold last year and I don't want to count on anything, and we're raising them organically so I want them to have lots of space. Just didn't do enough research before buying the smaller one, let that be a lesson to me, right?

We are getting on it this week because these babies are GROWING!
Thanks for the input; it is how I felt but just needed some confirmation.


9 Years
Apr 12, 2010
Under the Radar, SW Ohio
I'm having the exact same issue, Chickp.

I have 5 hens in an extra large cedar dog house that we have converted. We added nest boxes to the outside, which adds a couple of precious square feet. Our coop is connected to a 4x8x6 run. Though we've not had any problems at all, I NEVER thought about what it might be like in the winter, when the girls get very little outside time. Unfortunately, we were only slated to have 3 hens but the hatchery gave us extras....so what do you do??

In order to maximize our space since our run is 6 ft tall, we are working on building perches & shelves with ladders so the chickens can move higher up in the run & get some use out of all of that dead space. In the winter, we will probably cover the sides of the run with tarps & since its already covered on the top, hopefully that will encourage them to go outside more.

Good luck to you..I wish you didn't have to sell your ark!

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