need dimensions for a chicken coop/pen : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread


I haven't written on the forum in several months. I have just been too busy with my new job of teaching agriculture. I was a regular last spring to the forum when I taught science - it was easy to get everything done on my conference period and still have time to visit on the forum. This year, though, has been extremely busy, and spare time just doesn't exist here at school where I have access to a computer. At any rate, here is my question. I have a student interested in showing chickens at the county fair this fall, and also interested in the eggs she and her folks will get between now and then. She only wants 10-12 hens and a rooster. How large a pen/run should she build for this number of birds? It probably won't cost much more to build it larger so she can expand if she wants to get up to 20-25 hens and the necessary roosters, and I may recommend that she do that. Do you have suggestions for plans using alternative building materials (ie old pallets, barrels, etc.)to construct the coop? I did a search for this info on the internet and came across an article listed in Countryside from 1998 that probably contained some of the info I'm looking for, but I didn't start taking the magagzine until the fall of 1999. Almost all other plans were for sale only, and since I'm a tightwad, I'm still looking. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Also, do any of you in the north Arkansas area (I'm in Marshall) know of an individual selling lambs? I have a couple more students interested in raising and showing them. Thanks alot and may God bless you.

Neal M.

-- Neal Mays (, May 30, 2001


I read an article back in the 70s of someone who kept chickens in a rabbit hutch. It seems that they needed very little space.

Since that time I have designed my own chicken tractors. It looks like a large shoe box. One end has the laying area. The other side is roost area. The whole box is made of 2" x 4"s and plywood. The floor under the nest area is solid but under the roost area is hardware cloth - so the droppings can fall through.

There is a door on the opposite end as the nest area where the chickens can get to the ground. I used pvc pipe and chicken wire to enclose it. The whole system is on wheels (old lawn mower) and gets moved every day. This gives the chickens new ground to scratch in.

Right now I have 6 hens in one. I get 5 - 6 eggs a day. I have a second one going with young chicks in it. When they get old enough I plan to keep 5 or 6 hens and a rooster. I want to hatch my own eggs next year.

If you would like more detailed plans I would be happy to send them to you.

-- Tom S. (, May 30, 2001.

My coop was an old tool shed that my sisters Homeowners Assoc made her take down. It's about 6 or 8' X 10' with an outside run area of 5' X 10'. The breeder I bought my daughters hens from said that would be big enough for 6 to 8 standard size or 10 to 12 bantams. We have bantams, 10 right now and get 6 to10 eggs per day.

Friends of ours used an old dog house for their 4 hens and that works well too. Almost anything will work, be creative. Our hens do like their nesting boxes off the ground though. Good luck, I'm sure she'll have a great time.

-- jennifer (, May 30, 2001.

I have always heard to allow 3 square feet per bird. If you crowd them together, you have fighting, feather picking, etc.

Here's some plans for coops:

-- ~Rogo (, May 31, 2001.

Neal- Check out the post on chicken tractors. If your department does not have the Salatin and Andy Lee books, you should have them purchase them.

-- Elizabeth (, May 31, 2001.

Neal, I have about 2 dozen chickens of various sizes, ages, and breeds, and I have a coop that is 4 X 8, and an outside pen of 8 X 8, and they do just fine.

-- Eric in TN (, June 05, 2001.

My coop was actually bullt using some old wooden garage doors and some misc. wire and steel rods! There was actually a 8X10 cement pad ( maybe used for something else years ago) that was perfect for it, and the crafty people who helped to build it did a fantastic job :-) I am now at the piont where I am thinking of expanding, and posibly have two separate areas, one for the bantams and one side for the large breeds. I was thinking of laying down more cement, and then finding an old shed to put over it. It seems as though you can be as creative as you need to be, as long as the coop provides protection from preditors and the weather! Best wishes, Cher

-- Cher (, November 11, 2001.

all you need is 10/10 pen with atop with 4/4 house with roost barrle cut 1/2 work for nest boxes

-- jesse (, March 16, 2002.

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