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Chicken coop size?

Posted by carajon upstate NY (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 17, 07 at 22:15

I would really like to get a few chickens but I'm confused about housing them. I've been looking at pre-fab sheds - I thought I'd buy one then insulate it, add a set of steel nesting boxes and a perch or two as well as a chicken door and build an attached enclosed run. We would let them have free range during the day in the summertime, but we have cold winters here in upstate NY so they'd have to be confined to the coop in the winter. What size coop should I look buy? If I got a 6'x8' how many chickens would fit comfortably? How about an 8'x10'?

Also, is there anything else I should keep in mind when planning our coop?

Thanks so much!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Chicken coop size?

According to Storey's Guide for Raising Chickens (by Gail Damerow), it's a MINIMUM of 4 square feet per chicken if they have access to a run and 10 square feet if they don't.

So, an 8x10 shed could theoretically house a maximum of 20 chickens, if they have a run. But these are close quarters, and fewer is better. Note that you need to devote some room for a feeder, waterer, and nesting boxes, so subtract that from the total when you're doing the final calculation.

--Jonathan


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Thanks for the info Jonathan. Since the chickens would likely not make use of the run during the winter, should I use the 10 feet per chicken? Or will they use the run all year round if I keep it free of snow?

Perhaps we are safer getting the larger coop, even if we are starting with just 6 chickens....

Thanks!


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RE: Chicken coop size?

I have had 30 chickens in a 6 by 8 ft coop, that had good air circulation and had enough roost space. Don't insulate it. If you have large birds, they need 10 inches of length of roost to fit comfortable.

Chickens will go out in the winter if you shovel a path for them. They don't like to sink in deep snow. Then throw out some corn so they have incentive to go out & eat.

Make your roosts out of 2 by 4s with the wide side up, so when they roost, their bodies cover their feet & toes so they don't freeze.

If you have roosters with single combs, the tips will freeze. You can put a light about 3 feet over a roost so a rooster can sit under the light and it will keep his comb from freezing.

If you're worried about freezing combs, then get chickens with rose combs or other combs that don't stick up so far.

M


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Marquisella,
Thanks for the info. Is your reason for saying don't insulate that it is not worth the effort, of is it that there is truly something wrong with an insulated oop - maybe it isn't as good for the chickens?

Thanks again!


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RE: Chicken coop size?

You don't need to insulate it for the birds -- they have plenty of warmth from their feathers and down. And fresh air is critical to bird health, so if you insulate it's likely to get stale and then you're apt to get sick birds. You want to be sealed up enough to avoid drafts, but not so much that fresh air can't get through.

--Johanna


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Insulated coops can build up moisture in the air, and chickens get respiratory diseases very easily.

Their feathers keep them warm enough, so its best that the air in the coop is cold and dry. And, as Johanna said, some cracks that let in fresh air to circulate are best.

This really goes for most animals. You don't see many barns that are "air tight" because its bad for the animals lungs, and disease can spread faster in a closed up area.
And drafts are not good for them either, so if you are planning where to put your air intake cracks, its preferable to place them up high, or down low, but not in the middle where the chickens roost at night so they are not in drafts.

Good Luck
M


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Hi Carajon,
I have two connected coops, one is insulated the other is not. We used sound insulation in the back coop where we planned on keeping our rooster, this kept the noise down considerably. We didn't have any problems w/poor ventilation and disease but w/did have trouble w/ the tips of our roo's very large comb getting frostbite. We used Vaseline on him every other day in the very cold weather and that helped a lot. At the time we had ducks in w/our chickens and I blame the added moisture on the comb problems.

We have heavy breeds so they did great in either coop.

What kind of chickens were you thinking of getting?

-Sheila


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RE: Chicken coop size?

We haven't decided on specific type of chicken yet. Since these are for a family hobby, I've been considering chickens that either lay colorful eggs or particularly showy chickens. Are there some that are more winter-hardy than others?

As I've been obsessing over coops, I came across a new version of the Eglu called the Eglu Cube. It claims to be big enough for 10 chickens. Any thoughts on this particular coop?

http://www.omlet.co.uk/products_services/products_services.php?view=Eglu Cube

Here is a link that might be useful: Eglu Cude


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RE: Chicken coop size?

A shed will work fine. I've seen those eglu cubes before, but I'm not sure I'd keep even 5 chickens in that small of a space. Nice that it's on wheels so you can move them around the yard. My biggest concern with it would be space and air circulation. You don't want them getting sick or pecking each other apart. We have 5 chickens in a 5x5 coop, but their nest boxes are hung on a fence and they have free range of the entire yards every day. I'm not sure it'd be a large enough space if they were going to be "cooped up" all winter in it, especially since they're used to roaming around.

We have 3 auracanas and 2 silver-laced wyandottes. They are my 3-year-old daughter's pets, and they're really a lot of fun for the whole family. The kids love finding eggs, and they chickens don't always use the nest boxes, so it keeps them very busy hunting around under bushes. They know their names, follow her around and sometimes get in "position" sort of squatting down with their wings slightly out when they want the baby to pick them up and hug on them. Great pets for kids.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

One quick word of advice, build bigger than you need, you will want to add to your flock as you grow to adore your chickens TRUST ME! lol!

Here's a link to our set up.

Here is a link that might be useful: our coop


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RE: Chicken coop size?

A little OT, but if you can find a copy of the book Chicken Boy, read it. They're really such neat birds. I wish we'd gotten them years ago.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Hi Carajon,

Eh, probably somewhere in between. They might actually spend a fair amount of time outside in the winter. They can stand surprisingly cold temperatures, and being outside makes them so happy.

Note that I'm quoting the Storey book because I don't have enough practical experience of my own to speak definitively. I'd listen to these other chicken people closely, for their experience. If possible, find someone in your neighborhood to ask.

I've heard the advice to "build bigger than you think you need" several times, from many sources, and there is probably a lot of wisdom in it.

I've found The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy site a great help in choosing chicken varieties.

> http://albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html#chickens

--JOnathan

--Jonathan

Here is a link that might be useful: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy


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RE: Chicken coop size?

My new coop is 4ft x 4ft x 4ft with plenty of roosts and 10 in square nests. It also has an attached 6ft x 4 ft run with free access. Will this be enough space for 5 chickens, black sex links?


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Hi! I'm new here but do have 21 laying hens.

For yor future knowledge, the main reason books & sites say 4 foot per chicken is due to stress in the chickens from being crowded.

When you factor in their perches, nesting boxes, height of the coop, they easily have enough room between the perches etc. to well make up for floor space.

Lots of perches are what they love. I have an old upright radio against one wall in our coop. They love slepping on it at night along with the very top of their nesting boxes but most use the perches for sleeping.

Once you acquire your chickens, make sure to add things to keep them from getting bored. Useless, shiny CDs or DVD's hung in the coop greatly help but the best thing is hanging cabbage.lol If you notice them picking on each the other, these things greatly help.:)

Enjoy your chickens!


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RE: Chicken coop size?

My coop is a resin shed...8x8,and it houses 2 hens at the moment,,but adding in 6 next week. It's great for cleaning ect,,and they did very well this winter. They have a large outdoor run as well.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

"They follow her around and sometimes get in "position" sort of squatting down with their wings slightly out when they want the baby to pick them up and hug on them."

My chickens do that when they think I'm going to have sex with them.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

????? don't really understand that one ?????


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RE: Chicken coop size?

"Useless, shiny CDs or DVD's hung in the coop greatly help but the best thing is hanging cabbage"

cabbage? a piece or a whole head? What about mirrors like you put in a parakeet cage? what are good table scraps that can be given to the chickens anyway?

"My chickens do that when they think I'm going to have sex with them"

Don't tell me chickens go into a heat frenzy like a dog!! wait a minute... oh never mind. LOL I don't understand that one either and probably don't want to know!


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RE: Chicken coop size?

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

can any one help me with a question!! I have just bought a chicken coop, 104cm tall and 80 cm wide with a total length of 198cm including double nest box it also has a 1metre x 1 metre roosting area and an outside run incorperated. How many Marans could i fit in here, I was thinking of four birds is this to many? Also how high should the perches be minimum and are they neccessary? Would appreciate some help greatly..Thanks


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RE: Chicken coop size?

hmmmmm
104 cm = 3 1/2 feet (aprox) tall
80 cm = 2 1/2 feet (aprox) wide
198= 6 1/2 feet long
1 metre = 3.3 feet square
so the coop is 2-1/2' w x 6-1/2' long x 3-1/2' tall with 3x3 nest boxes? how do they fit inside a 2-1/2' wide coop?


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RE: Chicken coop size?

with a cold winter I would use wooden boxes and not metal nests. The metal is cold. the wood will be warmer.

I put up some 4 walls of fencing so plenty of air in a small area of the basement off the floor. by a window and used a small low energy light. Not much room to walk but had roosts and did just fine. kept laying eggs all winter. The basement stayed at about 52 F. so nice and warm in a way.

I built an 8 ft by 8 ft house for them outdoors. Make is super solid. I had solid floor and walls and roof. But they were free in the day and went indoors at night. Keep a racoon trap ready at night. Fox are the worse. very hard to catch fox.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

We have an 8x12 coop with 10 chickens in it. We built the coop, and insulated it. We also put up an attached outdoor run, about 12x12 for now. Our chickens seem quite happy enough!


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RE: Chicken coop size?

"They know their names, follow her around and sometimes get in "position" sort of squatting down with their wings slightly out when they want the baby to pick them up and hug on them. "

Yep, that's the international chicken pick-up sign. They think the baby is the alpha roo and want to be "picked up" in the street-slang way.

Wayne


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RE: Chicken coop size?

"They know their names, follow her around and sometimes get in "position" sort of squatting down with their wings slightly out when they want the baby to pick them up and hug on them."

I laughed when I read that. That is the position a chicken takes right before a rooster hops on her for mating. They hunker down and stabilize themselves for the dreaded deed. Believe me, this is not the position a chicken takes because it wants to be picked up---except in the sense that Wayne mentioned, although I've never seen a hen look like she was enjoying the act. If you put your hand on the chicken's back and give her a light shake, she'll puff herself up and then shake herself all over. She thinks she just had sex. I never noticed that position until my rooster died, then every chicken I walked by started doing it and I realized they thought I was a rooster.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

yeah I had that happen to me too before I got a rooster. I thought I was going crazy!!


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RE: Chicken coop size?

I have 6 redstars and my coop is a 4 foot cube with an attached run of 4x8 and the nesting boxes are attached to the outside of the cube with an exterior access for retrieving the eggs. I live in Michigan and what I did for the winter was wrap the run with clear plastic for added space. I also made a leaf bag fort for my little kids (that's what I called them when I was a kid) but the chickens kind of took it over. I just made walls with leaf bags. I then threw some 2 by lumber across the top and then threw on some for leaf bags for the roof. It is about 30 feet from the coop and the chickens love to go in there in the winter to scratch around. I just completed my first year raising chickens so I don't know a lot about all breeds but the redstars that I have really didn't seem to mind the snow much at all. They only stayed in during the coldest and windiest of days.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

If you haven't heard of the website Backyard Chickens, you might want to visit. It is a wonderful website with a Forum with tons of information and people who love their chickens. I've learned so much, someone is always willing to help with questions on the message boards. Lots of great pictures of everyone's chickens too.

www.backyardchickens.com


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Hello,
I getting 25 baby chicks soon and in the process of purchasing a coop, the one I am looking at is going to be 8x12x8 with a 8x12 run will that be sufficient or going over board? can I do with a 8x10x8?


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Hi everyone! I have raised chickens since I was little off and on and just started up again last year I live where it gets pretty cold so I have a 20'x 20' enclosure inside my barn I let them free range in the day till they go in.I have 8 nesting boxes and 16 chickens. in the winter i have a heated water dish and i put a small elec heater i keep on threw the winter at a med setting. I also chop lettuce and tomatoes, cucks and grapes, i just pick them up at the store for a cheap deal cause I take there not so good stuff. plus the scratch, oyster shell and mash. They are grea pets and each have thier own personality, they are fun I sell the eggs for 1.00 a dozen.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

We got our chicks in may and are just getting our first eggs!! My husband made a chicken truck to pull around the yard but it has no protection for the winter i don't know if you all no what an old lifestock rack it they used to put it on the back of pickup trucks to haul lifestock anyway thats what he made the chicken truck out of so how do we make a chicken coop for our 40 chickens?? we'd love any help!


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RE: Chicken coop size?

Hi, I have a question... I have 31 chicken what size should the yard be for that many?


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RE: Chicken coop size?

I will recommend a 6x8 housing and a minimum of a 100 sq. ft. run, unless you're pretty much a total free-ranger. With 10 hens, I'd opt for 3 - 4 nest boxes.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

I will recommend a 6x8 housing and a minimum of a 100 sq. ft. run, unless you're pretty much a total free-ranger. With 10 hens, I'd opt for 3 - 4 nest boxes.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

I agree. Free-range and not only will you need to feed less, but you will save A LOT on building materials.


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RE: Chicken coop size?

I have a 6' X 6' coop with a 6' X 14' screened run and 6 nesting boxes that fit on the outside of the coop I would like to get 10 chickens would this be enough space for them?


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