REAL food Garden & Apiary | blog

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.

How much space does 1 chicken really need ?

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.


Hens in an enclosed run – doing their thing.

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).


Happy hens in their hen-house (Photo credit from “Lake Norman Coop De Ville)

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“.

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This entry was posted on December 10, 2013 by in Coop Design and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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