Living Space in the Coop

Brother & Sisters Watching the Flock

You'll want Enough Space Inside the Chicken Coop for the Size and Number of Chickens You're Going to Have.

You will want to determine the amount of room you need in your chicken coop, based on the number and size of chickens you plan to raise.

One especially important consideration is how many chickens you plan to keep on an ongoing basis. You might want to prepare your chicken house a little on the large side, allowing for new baby chicks or for future expansion of your chicken family.

The bigger the chicken, the bigger area it needs. For example, laying hens need more room than pullets and pullets need more room than baby chicks

Each of your chickens need adequate space to move, lay, and perch, as well as have access to fresh air, sunlight, and soil.


Room in the Chicken Coop and Chicken Run

Having an outside chicken run attached to the hen house is a wonderful way to give your chickens extra room and we strongly recommend it!

If you plan to keep your small homestead chicken flock in a chicken coop with an attached chicken run, your coop should have a minimum of 3-4 square feet of floor living space per chicken in the coop and 9-10 square foot area per chicken in the chicken run for an average sized (6-8 lbs.) hen. 

The more room you are able to provide in the coop and run, the better. 

Chickens don’t require a lot of head room since they aren’t very tall. How much room per chicken?  About three feet high is all they really need.

If you want your family to be able to walk into the hen house for cleaning and egg gathering you will need a big enough door.

Additional room may be necessary if your chickens are going to be cooped up all winter without outside access.


Avoid Overcrowding Your Chickens

It is important not to overcrowd your family of chickens. Overcrowded chickens are more likely to develop health problems and behavioral problems like pecking and feather picking.

It is always best to give your flock more room than required. Chickens can be mean to each other, especially in crowded conditions. In the pecking order there's always some poor chicken that gets picked on.

This is the chicken all the other chickens like to peck at or bully. In fact, this is where the term “hen pecked” comes from. Stress from over-crowding is the most common cause of illness in hens.

If there is wet weather, the chickens will want to take shelter in their chicken house and hens that are lower in the pecking order may not go in if they get bullied the moment they go in the chicken coop. 

Choosing a location that gives your family’s chickens extra room to run away from tormentors is a good idea. 

Different Kinds of Chickens Have Different Needs for Space

Does the chicken coop and chicken coop run provide an adequate living area, roosting room and run space for the kinds of chickens your family has decided to raise? 

Will you be able to free-range your chickens for any part of the day?

When determining the right size chicken coop for your family’s chickens be sure to consider the kind of chickens you plan to keep. 

Here are some guidelines:

Each day-old chick will need about half a square foot of indoor walking space until they're about six weeks old. 

Bantam Chickens require at least 2.5-3 square feet each inside the coop and 5 square feet each in the run.

Laying Hens should have around 4 square feet each inside the coop and about 10 square feet each in the run.

Very Large Chickens may need as much as 9 square feet each inside the coop and as much as 15 square feet each in the run.


Roosting Room; Consider These Guidelines When It Comes to Creating Your Chickens' Roosting Space.

Chickens usually sit when they're sleeping. Having a wide enough perch helps them keep their balance when they're sleeping. 

Make your roosting perches around 2 inches wide with rounded edges and a semi rough surface.

Make your roosting perches at least 16 inches long for large chickens and 12 inches long per medium laying hen (hybrid size) or bantam.

Roosting perches should generally be at least 6" from the ground (for small and average sized birds) for the first one and step up from there (they like being higher up whenever possible, it makes them feel more secure).

Set the roosting perches against the wall so that looking at them from the side, they're at an angle. They should look like stair steps, going up and back. Multiple perches should be about 10"-12" apart with about 24" of space from the top perch to the ceiling and around 10" from the back wall.

Some large breeds of chickens won't roost very high and can hurt their legs and/or feet when jumping down from perches that are too high for them.

For these birds, low perches about 12" from the ground seem to work well.

Your chickens probably won't use up all of the available roosting space since they huddle next to each other a lot.

But you do need some extra room to allow for the chickens that are lower in the pecking order to safely roost away from the other chickens to avoid stress and bullying.

Space for Feeders and Waterers

Make sure there is room for chicken feeders and waterers. If possible, you'll want to hang your chicken feeders and waterers around 6" to 8" off the ground.

Hanging them will help to keep your chickens from trying to roost or sleep on them. This will also keep them from contaminating their food and water with chicken poop, etc., it will also keep them from knocking your feeders and waterers over, wasting food and making a mess.

Having easy access to feeders and waterers will also help regular chicken chores go more quickly and smoothly.

Providing your flock with plenty of room in their coop will avoid over crowding and keep your chickens content and happy.

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