We are an urban homestead based on natural, holistic and sustainable principles. Our livestock includes chickens & honey bees and we cultivate fruits, vegetables and kitchen herbs.
I thought I figured out the answer to that question but went round and round .In the end I do know the answer – they need as much as I give them.
There is a rule of thumb out there (according to Backyard Chickens members) that says 4 sf/hen for the hen house and 10 sf/hen for an enclosed run. When we decided we would base our coop design on the Wichita Cabin Coop (WCC) , we weren’t set on the number of hens we would be raising. Somehow, magically, we arrived at 7. Well that decision, turned everything upside down. The original WCC had a coop sf that equaled about 15 sf , which by the “rule” meant about 4-5 hens . We went back and forth on changing the design , changing the size of the hen house, getting less hens (could we still be known as the “7 Heavenly Hens GARDEN” if we didn’t have 7 hens ??? I mean, we don’t want unruly, cramped, you’re in my space, chickens after all.
I sent messages to FB friends , I posted on BYC , I sketched, I measured, … I actually prayed about it.
In the end we are sticking to the original plan – a coop based on the WCC. The enclosed run will be 13′-4″ x 5′-4″ (this will provide about 70sf or10sf/hen) and the hen house will be 5′-4″ x 5′-4″ (this will give about 28sf or 4 sf/hen).
Guidelines are not rules. I actually know better. As long as we’re not cramming 100 birds in a coop sized for an urban backyard, I suppose the answer to the question posed in the beginning is “as much as I give them“.
Causing dialogue and eliciting responses about living design while presenting various observations for critique, consideration, solutions and some good humor!
Happy Cows ~ Quality Milk ~ Healthy People
Ready for a fresh approach to healthy living? Or maybe growing your own food, roasting deer legs and stuffing mason jars sound like your idea of fun.. Come join the food revolution! Be inspired, empowered and encouraged to eat real, live healthy and enjoy everything!
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