Whenever you’re setting up a backyard chicken coop there is a methodical approach to size and layout. From how much space there should be in the chicken pen if they’ll be confined to a specific area, to the chicken coop size calculator. The chicken coop and chicken living area needs to be planned for, or else you’ll find yourself making last minute changes after you have a bunch of hens running around. Construction on chicken coops and pens is much easier when there’s no chickens around. So where do you start?
Determine Your Chicken’s Ideal Lifestyle
First, figure out how you want your chickens to live. Are you going to give them free reign in your backyard? Do you want to fence off a section of your yard to be the chicken zone? Do you want to keep them in a minimal pen attached to the chicken coop? How you set up your chicken ‘run’ will determine how large you want to make your chicken coop.
If you plan to keep your chickens in a smaller pen type setup, you’ll want to plan on the pen being large enough to give the chickens 20 square feet each at a bare minimum. However, larger is always better. In the coop, you’ll want to go large and provide a minimum of 10 square feet per chicken. When you keep your chickens penned up they need more space. The happier the chicken, the more laid eggs.
If you give your chickens a large run, or free range of the yard, keep in mind they’ll be leaving chicken droppings everywhere they roam. This includes your covered patio where they will likely want to hang out in the hottest part of the summer, and any lawn furniture you may have. We recommend either penning off the human use zone, or penning off a large area for the birds.
In any case, you will have very happy chickens when they have free range of the backyard. When you have open space for the birds you can whittle the size of your coop down to closer to 5 square feet per bird. They are perfectly happy getting cozy at night when they have space to form their cliques and be solitary during the day.
How To Use Chicken Coop Size Calculator
When creating your chicken coop size calculator, you can approach the problem from a couple different directions. If you have limited space, you can start with the size of coop you want to build and then figure out the number of chickens you will have using the space. For example, let’s say you plan on building a 4 x 8 chicken coop. If your birds will have free range of the yard, you can do some simple math.
- Space Available: 4’ x 8’ = 32 square feet.
- Space Required Per Chicken: 5 square feet per free range bird
- Amount Of Chickens Possible: 32 / 5 = 6.4 birds
Obviously you’re not going to have any fractional birds in your chicken coop. Although as you can see, 6 birds would be ideal in that chicken coop. There are many people who would disagree with this assessment. In fact, some even say 2 square feet per bird is ideal.
We don’t like to force chickens into such confined spaces if we don’t have to. Instead, we prefer the chickens decide if they want to huddle up together at night, or roost more independently. Keeping the strange emotions of the chickens in mind helps keep your birds happy and social. Happier chickens will ultimately be healthier and lay more eggs.
Chicken Coop Size Calculator Summary
It is easier to have a smaller coop when it comes to tracking down the eggs. There’s almost always a bird in the bunch that likes to lay eggs in the most inconvenient place in the coop. However, the daily egg hunt is a small price to pay for fresh eggs every morning. Remember to thank your hens. Keeping them happy will maximize the amount of eggs you’ll have.