Choosing the appropriately sized chicken coop is paramount for your flock’s health and well-being.
A coop will be your flock’s safe haven, so it’s vital that you don’t cut any corners if you want your chicks to flourish – especially come wintertime. For that reason, we’ve decided to share a few tips with you.
These tips should help you gain enough knowledge about why size matters and they should also help you choose the perfect coop for your birds.
If that sounds interesting to you – let’s dive right in.
Why Is Chicken Coop Size Important?
As we’ve said, choosing a perfectly sized chicken coop is vital if you want your brood to stay healthy and stress-free. Also, living in good conditions will ensure that your hens lay eggs regularly. However, that’s not all there is to it.
When it comes to choosing the perfectly sized coop – here’s what you have to keep in mind.
Chicken can quickly turn aggressive if they’re not content with how they live – much like all other animals.
When you keep them inside of a confined space, where they don’t have enough freedom to move around, eat, or do whatever else they have to do – they’ll start pecking each other and their eggs. Once the pecking starts – it spreads like wildfire. That’s why you often see chickens with clipped beads inside of those horrible chicken farms where they keep the birds in cages.
Seeing how we don’t condone any of those hen-keeping methods, we strongly advise that you invest in a chicken coop that gives your brood enough space to eat, move around, and enjoy their day.
Excessive Manure Build-Up
We all know how terribly smelling chicken manure is, and if you keep your brood in a small, confined coop – the manure will build up rather quickly. However, the smell itself is not what’s most troubling about it.
The smell of chicken manure comes from ammonia, and ammonia is not something that’s healthy in any way. Research shows that ammonia from excessive manure build-up has a plethora of detrimental effects on the health of your brood.
Now, to be fair, a large coop on its own doesn’t mean that manure won’t build up over time. However, you won’t have the clean the coop as frequently, and it will be easier to maintain a dry litter base inside of a spacious enclosure.
A small coop will lead to stress, and stress will lead to decreased egg production.
Whether or not you sell or eat the eggs coming from your hens doesn’t really matter. What matters is ensuring that the hens lay as many eggs as possible, which is virtually impossible unless you keep your hens in an appropriately sized coop.
Can A Chicken Coop Be Too Big?
We’ve concluded that confined spaces aren’t good for the flock, but is there such thing as a “too big of a coop”?
While it is essential that your chicks have enough room, it’s also important that they stay warm and cosy during wintertime, and that’s not really probable if the coop is too big.
However, it is still important to note that it is better for the coop to be oversized rather than undersized.
How To Determine Perfect Chicken Coop Size?
Now that we’ve gone over all the reasons why chicken coop size matters, let us learn more about how you can find the perfectly sized coop based on the breed of chicken you’re raising.
Smaller breeds of chicken, like Bantam, require less space than others. Generally speaking, a small breed requires a minimum of 2 square feet per chicken if they’re free-range and at least 5 square feet per chicken if kept confined.
For example, 10 free-range Bantams require at least 20 square feet of space. Ideally, you’d up that to 25 to 30 for a bit of extra space.
Medium chicks like Leghorns, which are most often kept, require a bit more space. Unlike small breeds, medium ones require about 3 square feet per chicken if they’re free-range. On the other hand, if they’re raised confined – you’ll want to up the square footage to at least 8 square feet per chicken.
Just like with smaller chickens, these are minimum requirements, and your flock will be much better off with some additional space.
Finally, larger breeds like Plymouth Rock or Buff Orpington will prosper if you provide them with at least 4 square feet per chicken if they’re kept free-range. As expected, if you’re keeping them confined, you’ll want to give them more space – in this case, 10 square feet.
As you can see, the easiest way to come up with the ideal chicken coop size for larger breeds is to multiply these numbers by the number of chicks you are keeping and add some square footage to your total. A 30% increase should be more than enough for optimal conditions.
What Else Should You Consider When Buying A Chicken Coop?
Square footage of the chicken coop definitely matters, but that’s not everything to consider when shopping for a coop.
Here are two additional things to keep in mind.
Hens need space to roost, so it’s not only about how much ground room they have in their coop. You’ll need to find one that comes with a roosting bar. Or, if you don’t, at least find one with enough room for you to put the roosting bar in.
You’ll want to make sure every chicken in your brood has about half a foot of space on the bar, so they can comfortably roost.
Another thing to keep in mind are nesting boxes.
Ideally, you’ll want to have a nesting box per three hens inside of your coop. This should be more than enough for optimal egg production. More or less than one box per three hens could lead to a noticeable decrease in egg production or pecking and aggressive behaviour. All of this could lead to broken and dirty eggs or even eggs being laid in random places in the coop or backyard.
Hopefully, we’ve provided you with all the necessary information regarding chicken coop sizing and requirements.
Simply following these guidelines should be more than enough for you to provide your brood with a lovely home, both during summer and wintertime.