How Much Room Do Chickens Need?
This is one of the most common questions from new chicken keepers. How much room do chickens need? The size of a chicken coop is important, and depends on whether or not they will be roaming free during the day. Different breeds also may have different requirements. Chicken coop size is something you need to pay attention to. You want your chickens to be comfortable, warm, and safe in their flock and home!
Space by Breed
Furthermore, some breeds need more space in the run to move around, while other breeds tend toward a more sedentary lifestyle. When choosing a chicken coop size, you should know your hens and what they need. If you have a hen who loves to run around and forage, you may want to consider going bigger.
In general, a chicken coop needs to be big enough for your hens to roost comfortably at night or during the rain. The coop is just the nesting area, and does not include the run or free space. Although chickens can be comfortable in a relatively small space with their coop, they will need additional space in their run or yard to roam about and forage.
Taking the breed into account, the general rule is that a hen needs at least three square feet. So a resting spot for five hens needs to be at least fifteen square feet. This size guideline is just a rule of thumb. Although you can go bigger with your coop, you don’t want your chickens growing cold at night or in the rain, so you don’t want the coop to be too big.
In addition to the actual coop size, you need to leave a perch for your chicken. It’s often said that most chickens need 10-12 inches of perching space each, but you will likely find that your hens huddle together in the night and leave much less room between one another. However, you want to make sure they have the space and option to spread out a bit!
Run Size and Open Space
The size of the run and how much open space they have really depends on your breeds and ability to provide space. In our backyard, we have about half of it fenced off for the chickens to forage around during their days. At night, they have a closed-off run and coop. If you plan on allowing your flock to roam free, they won’t need as much space for a run. However, if you plan on keeping them in a run all day, they will need significantly more space.
In general, chickens need about ten square feet for run space each. So five chickens will need a fifty square foot run if they;re being kept in it. If they’re allowed to roam free, you can go much smaller. In regards to open space and free-range chickens, more space is basically better, as long as they’re fenced in!
Square Feet per Chicken
There’s no one set guide on how many square feet chickens need of space, but we’ve tried to generalize what your hens may need here. Keep in mind these chicken coop sizes and run sizes are just estimates and generalizations.
Coops – 3 square feet per chicken
Runs (free-range) – 5 square feet per chicken
Runs (kept) – 10+ square feet per chicken
Open Space – 20+ square feet per chicken, more is better
Quality Chicken Coops
It’s important to not only consider size of the coop, but also the quality. We’ve used a small coop from RadioFence for some time now, and it’s pretty darn solid. It has lasted in the rain and weather, taken a slight beating, and continued to stand the test of time. Here are some other coops we recommend checking out!
These are small coops, ideal for a small flock of 2-4 chickens. If you have a bantam breed, you may consider adding a few more, but these are really coops for a few chickens.
These medium-sized coops are a bit bigger, and ideal for 4-10 chickens. This is still a relatively small flock, but about as big as you can go with a premade chicken coop.
If you need a large chicken coop for a flock of over 10 hens, we recommend building your own. It ends up being a fraction of the cost, and isn’t that hard. Buying a large coop for a flock of 15 chickens can cost a ton of money. Here are a few guides you can use to build your own coop!