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Thread: Just how big does a chicken coop need to be?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    West Central, Mi

    Default Just how big does a chicken coop need to be?

    Building my first chicken coop for my first flock of chickens, I've done tons of research on coop sizes and from what I've read I need the following...

    4sq ft per bird
    1 nesting box per 4 birds
    18" of roost space per bird.

    Currently I have a dozen chick's of various breeds (no bantams) so according to everything I've read I need a coop that's 48sq ft and 4 nesting boxes, and 18 feet of roost space.

    So far the coop is coming along nicely, expecially considering I've never built anything that didn't come in a box from a store with instructions in 4 different languages. However looking at what I've got so far, it seems awfully big. Coops I see being sold online, and the ones I see in the store seem to have much less floor space per bird. My chickens will have a large yard to roam in, and a coveted run as well (25 sq ft per bird), so the coop is just a place to sleep and plop out eggs. So with that in mind, how big should my coop have been, and how many birds will the one I'm building hold?
    The Normalcy Bias, do you suffer from it to?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    East Tennessee


    I built mine 10x12. Figuring maybe 30 birds. My run is 32x64.
    Greater love hath no man than this, That a man lay down his life for a friend.
    John 15:13

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    East TN Smokey Mountains


    Built my coop 5 years ago and I suffer from senior moments, but I seem to remember three different criteria.

    Chickens kept pretty much in a coop all the time (i.e. sorta likefactory farms)
    Those with a run like Backpacker has
    Free range where they are pretty much only sleeping in the coop.

    I built mine 8X8X*8 since that fit nicely into the old paneling I had laying around.
    Ours are totally free range and sometimes go 100 meters from the coop.
    Anyway, I remember that I should be able to have 32 in that space which would work out to 2 sf each.

    Right now I have about 22 and they are just fine.
    I think I could easily push it to twice that, but remember mine are totally free range and only use the coop for sleeping and laying eggs. I have 8 next boxes.

  4. #4


    My INSIDE coop is tiny, but then they have a generous run so they are not suffering any. They appear very happy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    TN mainly, on the road alot.


    About say, some chickens on industrial farms get no space n live like in a concentration camp.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Helena Montana


    Since I have built my chicken coops out of cheap or recycled materials something at least 8 by 8 feet makes sense. Also I like a coop big enough to get into and clean out and disinfect. You should be able to clean and disinfect your chicken condo occasionally. In our cold climate I like a nice roosting area where the girls can snuggle with each other at night.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013


    I have a 4X8 coop, with a 4X6 roost. The chickens are fed once at the end of the day, after foraging the whole day in the yard. 99.44% of the time, the hens lay eggs in the roost, unless they are going broody. Then, it's an Easter egg hunt. Right now we have 18 hens and 2 roos. The roost is open, but we lock the door to the hen house at night. So far no rodents or predators.

    This year, if everything goes well, we will have 12-13 chicks running around in two weeks. Our flock is a mongrel or mixed breed flock with Orpington, Dorking, Barred Rock, and Icelandic. This year we have an Icelandic roo to give us more of that breed in our flock.
    Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last W. Churchill

  8. #8


    Our coops are for night use only unless we have bad weather or we are doing a late night gig. I don't let them out to free range on the days we have a late gig night or if the weather is bad because they are hard to herd in before dark and I won't leave them open after dark.
    Our coops each have 5 chickens in them. We have 12 coops. Each coop is 5 sq ft per chicken with 2 nest boxes in each and two 8'x8' roosts with ladders.
    Making good people helpless, doesn't make bad people harmless!

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