Building a Chicken Coop can be fun, but there are 5 key details that you need to understand that will help you in deciding what size coop to build.
Required Space: Determining how much space you need to build the chicken coop plays an important design objective. Some people have large farms with many acres available to build, and others have can have just a small back yard behind there home to raise them. With backyard chicken coops becoming so increasingly popular here are the size requirements you should consider for each chicken you plan to have.
Each chicken will need a minimum of 3 to 4 square feet of space in the chicken coop and 10 square feet in the run area of the coop.
If you are going to free-range your chickens, then each chicken will require approximately 250 square feet of area to roam.
County or City Ordinances: Is it legal to have chickens on your property? Make sure you check with the city and or county laws and regulations because they may have certain restrictions or limitations specific to your area. You may find restrictions like the number of chickens permitted, roster regulations due to noise, distance limits to your neighbor's property, height, or size limitations of the chicken coop. Some cities may not allow you to raise chickens at all so please check before you build.
Number of Chickens: We have determined that our city does allow us to raise chickens. Now that we know the space requirements per chicken we can determine how many birds we can have. It is recommended that you raise at least 3 chickens. So we have decided we want 4 chickens. Most backyard owners have between 4 to 10 chickens. Always keep in mind that the number you start with has a tendency to get larger rather than smaller. The majority of people that have backyard Chickens really enjoy the experience. So if you set everything up correctly in the beginning you should have the same positive experience.
Size of the Coop: Our chicken coop should be at least 12 to 16 square feet. The run should be 40 square feet. For 4 chickens this would be a total of 52 to 56 square feet. This would require an area of approximately 6′ X 10′. If you want more chickens consider the space you have available and determine your size accordingly. If you are going to allow the chickens to be open range during the day, space will be a factor if you are having backyard chickens.
Safety: Is your chicken coop and run free from predators? Dogs, Raccoons and other animals will dig under the fence to get to your chickens. You need to consider building the fence into the ground to avoid burrowing by predators. You could consider pouring a concrete foundation under the fence line. You will want at least 2 1/2 feet clearance between the bottom of your coop and the ground. This has many advantages and can provide shade for your chickens during the hot days.
Chicken coops come in all styles and sizes. You can build a simple square box type house or you can have a very stylish house with a fabulous architectural design. You also might want to consider a “Kit” instead of cutting your own lumber.
If you are considering less than 4 to 6 chickens a “kit” could be a reasonable option. To learn more about different Coop plans click the link below.