Yes. That question again - Square Footage alright?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by riseforms, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. riseforms

    riseforms New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Hello -

    We are up in Central New Hampshire. Our hottest months average in the 80s to high 80s with some days/weeks of 90s/high 90s. Our winters where we are are quite snowy, quite windy and just harsh in general (no, not as bad as Upstate NY or Canada but below 0 weather happens, with teens - 20s the normal highs.

    We are having a coop with run built and just want to confirm that we are not doing something wrong here. Total size is 12x6

    The coop itself is about 4' of the length, with two long roost bars and 4 egg box/nests. Deep litter method with a removable floor so we can clean it out easier.

    The other 8' of length will be a fenced in, roofed (same roof that is over the coop portion, metal roof) run. I am planning on fencing the area in the area around the coop/pen to a decent size (not sure of exact dimensions but basically an outside that is a little more protected, one more obstacle for predators and a coralled area for them to hang out in, help direct them to free range in the area we want.

    In the summer, spring and fall we plan on letting them have full range around our 1.5 Acres during the day when we are home. Nights spent inside the coop area that is up off he ground. Mornings/times when we aren't around spend inside the smaller 8x6 run.

    In the winter, I plan on putting some plastic sheeting up on all, if not at least just the windward sides of the covered run attached to the coop. Only allowing them in the larger corralled area on warmer/snowless days.

    We are getting 12 Rhode Island reds. This gives them about 2 SQ Ft of ground space (plus the roosts) inside the coop. Plus about 4SQ Ft of closed in attached run for the snowy and cold days. Free range wherever they want the rest of the time.

    As long as we keep up with cleaning well are we doing our chickens a disservice or are we fine?
     
  2. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Well tell you the truth, 2 sq feet is very little for standared breed like RIR and even the 4 sq feet in run, when winter comes and they have to spend days if not weeks inside, troubles might start to come, pecking each other and getting board, so it is your decision, and nobody can tell you what to do, but if you can spend some extra build your coop and run bigger and you won't regret it.

    Omran.
     
  3. rankar

    rankar Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Fairfield County, CT
    We are new to chickens, so not an expert in any way, but we just completed a coop/run exactly the same size you are discussing for 6 golden comets (bred from RI Reds therefore similar in size) in a similar climate (CT). Our six girls also free range on our 2 acres. IMO, six is the right number for this size coop especially in inclement weather. The girls' roost is 6' long which is just the right size for them to cozy up at night with a little extra space to avoid bickering. I'm glad we followed the advice of others on this site, because the 4' coop/8' run per chicken rule of thumb seems to be excellent advice. I almost get the feeling that because the girls free range they get used to having their space. Wish I could figure out how to post pictures...
     
  4. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]

    We are over here in Central VT, and I would agree with those who say that your design is tight for 12. [​IMG] Winter definitely puts a serious hold on free-ranging.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Yeah, to be honest I think you're probably headed for real problems.

    Would you considering refinishing things so that the entire 12x6 structure is henhouse, then adding a 12x8 or 12x12 run (or equivalent)?

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. riseforms

    riseforms New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Thanks for the replies, I will see what we can do to change though it may be too late. Maybe we'll have some Rhode Island Reds for the freezer before Winter.

    I am not worried about the summer,spring or fall. They will have 2SQFt per bird of ground space in the coop portion (not to mention the 4 laying boxes or the 2 6' roost bars)

    They will have nearly 2 acres to free range on for about 8-10 hours on most days (unless we are not home).

    When we aren't home they will be confined to that run or potentially a larger, uncovered run that extends out beyond the covered pen.

    Perhaps before Winter, I will look at extending the covered run but the coop will probably have to stay the dimensions it's at now giving 2 SQ Ft of floor space.
     
  7. riseforms

    riseforms New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Quote:I think a 12x6 henhouse would be a bit too large for a New England winter. That gives 6 SQ Ft of ground space per chicken (presuming they all make it and we don't process any before winter) and a lot of coop for them to keep warm with body temperature or lights.

    I will consider maybe adding additional covered run space though.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:This is a common fallacy.

    There is NO SUCH THING as too large a coop, not even in the north. One might even say, "especially" not in the north.

    They do not have to warm the entire thing with their body heat, they only have to warm the area *around the roost*. So, it is easy to knock together an insulated hover over/around the roost, or a drop ceiling over it, or even just partition off part of the coop for cold days. Then they STILL have access to the REST of the indoors, which they will most assuredly appreciate during long cold northern winters. Thereby lessening your chance of picking/cannibalism arising, and making good air quality and sanitation easier.

    Really truly, NO such thing as too big [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  9. riseforms

    riseforms New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Quote:This is a common fallacy.

    There is NO SUCH THING as too large a coop, not even in the north. One might even say, "especially" not in the north.

    They do not have to warm the entire thing with their body heat, they only have to warm the area *around the roost*. So, it is easy to knock together an insulated hover over/around the roost, or a drop ceiling over it, or even just partition off part of the coop for cold days. Then they STILL have access to the REST of the indoors, which they will most assuredly appreciate during long cold northern winters. Thereby lessening your chance of picking/cannibalism arising, and making good air quality and sanitation easier.

    Really truly, NO such thing as too big [​IMG]

    Pat

    Sounds good, thanks. We will look at getting something with a second run.
     

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