What Size Chicken Coop Is Suitable For 10 Chickens?
As we become increasingly aware of the impact our daily lives and our shopping habits are having on the planet, the number of people who have started leaning towards a more sustainable way of living increases.
One of the most popular trends in self-sustainability is to keep chickens in your own backyard as a way of having access to a regular supply of eggs without relying on the farming industry. It's also nice to know that your eggs have come from happy chickens as well, and by having total control over their feed, environment, and roaming space you'll be able to rest assured that your egg was produced by a happy chicken.
To keep your chickens happy and healthy, however, it's important that they are housed in a coop that is suitable for the size of your flock. It's a bit of a case of the Goldilocks effect as well. Anything too big or too small and your chickens could start showing behavioral problems or risk getting sick. It needs to be just the right size!
But how do you work this out? What size of chicken coop is suitable for 10 chickens, for example? Don't panic! We're here to help. Below we've put together a comprehensive guide to figuring out the perfect coop size for your flock of feathered friends.
So, whether you're new to chickens or are looking to increase the size of your flock, carry on reading, and pretty soon you'll know everything you need to know in order to provide your chickens with the perfectly sized home.
Before we take a look at how to work out the best size of chicken coop for a flock of ten chickens though, let's explore the reasons for making sure that each chicken has an adequate amount of space to itself.
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Chickens that are cooped up together in a space that's too small may start to show signs of aggressive behavior toward each other. This because they'll be competing for space around feeders, on perches, and even on the floor.
Once this aggressive behavior has started, it's really difficult to stop and it can quickly spread throughout the entire flock. Those at the bottom of the 'pecking order' will then become much more susceptible to health problems as they won't be getting enough food or rest.
High Ammonia Levels
A chicken coop that isn't the adequate size for the number of chickens living in it will also see a very fast build-up of manure. This will cause the air inside the coop to fill with high levels of ammonia and this can seriously affect the health of your flock.
A flock of ten chickens can produce a lot of manure each day, so even if you're certain that your coop is the correct size it's imperative that you keep on top of cleaning it to prevent ammonia building up and your chickens becoming sick.
Decreased Egg Production
One of the most rewarding things about keeping chickens is collecting their freshly laid eggs and using them in a variety of delicious recipes. However, chickens that are in an undersized coop will be highly stressed and, as such, will produce a smaller number of eggs per week.
Put simply, the smaller your coop is the fewer eggs you'll be collecting. So if you're attempting to save some money by housing your chickens in a smaller coop the result will be fewer fresh eggs and birds that are less resistant to disease.
What's the correct coop size for 10 chickens?
There are a few factors to consider when you're looking for a chicken coop that is suitable for housing a flock of 10 chickens. The first thing you need to know is that each breed of chicken has it's own space requirements, which is known as 'feet per bird'.
We've split this into three categories below to give you a better understanding of how many 'feet per bird' certain breeds of chicken need.
- Large Breeds: Buff Orpington, Plymouth Rock, and Rhode Island Red are some examples of large breeds of chicken. These require 4 square feet of space inside the coop, and 10 square feet of space in an outdoor run per chicken.
- Medium Breeds: This size group includes breeds such as Leghorn chickens. The space requirements for each medium-sized chicken are 3 square feet of space inside the coop, and 8 square feet of space in an outdoor run.
- Small Breeds: Breeds such as the Bantam need less space than large or medium breeds. 2 square feet of individual space inside the coop and 5 square feet of space per bird in an outdoor run is required for small chickens.
Once you've determined which size category your chickens fall into, you can begin figuring out what size coop is suitable for your flock of 10. Keeping 'feet per bird' in mind, there is a simple formula to help you work this out, which we've detailed below along with some examples.
If your chickens are free-range and only require a coop for overnight protection and to shelter in during adverse weather conditions, use their internal 'feet per bird' needs as the formula.
For example: 4 square feet of space per bird x 10 chickens = A 40 sq. ft. chicken coop
If you prefer to keep your flock safely fenced off in an outdoor run during the day, then the same formula applies, however, you'll also need to remember to add in the internal space.
This would go like this: 4 square feet of space bird per (inside coop) x 10 chickens, plus 10 square feet of space per bird (outdoor run) = 40+100, so you'd need a coop and run combination that measures 140 square feet.
Medium and Small Breeds
The exact same formula can be used to determine the coop size you need for a flock of ten medium or small chickens as well. To help make things clearer, we've detailed everything below for you in a handy quick-reference table.
|Size of Breed||‘Feet per Bird’ Inside Coop||‘Feet per Bird’ Outdoor Run||Size (Coop Only)||Size (Coop & Run Combined)|
|Large||4||10||40 sq. feet||140 sq. feet|
|Medium||3||8||30 sq. feet||110 sq. feet|
|Small||2||5||20 sq. feet||70 sq. feet|
As you can see, an appropriately sized chicken coop can potentially take up a lot of space in your outdoor area, so it's important that you give some serious consideration to how much room you've got to safely house ten chickens and ensure that they are kept safe and healthy.
It's also not just the overall size of the coop that you need to think about either. There are certain internal requirements that each chicken will need to live a healthy and happy life. Let's take a look at these a little more in-depth.
Space to Roost
Each chicken will need a safe, cozy space to settle down at night. Think about your own bed and how much room you need to get a comfortable night's sleep. Anything too small and you'll be tired and stressed the next morning, and the same rule applies for chickens!
Large and medium-sized chickens will need between 12"-10" of roosting bar space each, whilst smaller chickens will only need about half of this to settle down comfortably at the end of each day. Having said that, it's always better to make sure your chickens have more roosting space than not enough, so these measurements should be treated as minimum requirements.
Chickens need nesting boxes in order to lay their eggs and each chicken will need more than one box each if you're looking for a good level of egg productivity from your flock. A good rule of thumb is to provide each chicken with three nesting boxes. This means that your coop will need a total of 30 nesting boxes for a flock of ten chickens.
Providing too few nesting boxes will result in decreased egg production rates, chicken laying in other places outside of the boxes, and can even cause aggressive behavior as they fight for laying space.
Don't be tempted to provide too many boxes, though. This can lead to your chickens becoming broody and they may stop laying eggs altogether. It's a delicate balance to work out, but it's an important one if you want a high turnover of delicious, fresh eggs.
We've touched on the importance of including an outdoor run into your measurements above, but it's also important to think about the structure of your flock's enclosed outdoor space. A lot of people choose to build this themselves rather than purchase a ready-made one and, whilst this is absolutely fine, it's imperative that the run can keep your chickens safe.
Use the strongest chicken wire or metal grates you can find and secure them to sturdy wooden panels. It's often worth building a little higher than you need so you can sink the panels and attached fencing deep into the ground to prevent foxes or other predators from digging underneath and making it into the coop.
If you're making your own outdoor run, think about whether it needs to have a roof or not as well. Whilst chickens can't fly in the same way that most other birds can, they can still gain a fair amount of height when they want to and might be able to clear a fence if it's built too low.
Disadvantages of a Large Coop
Even though an oversized coop is always preferable to an undersized coop, there can be certain disadvantages that come from a coop that's too big for your flock. First of all, it can take a much longer time to clean a larger coop and you'll need to have the spare time free to keep on top of it.
A larger coop can be colder too, especially if it's got fewer inhabitants. This means that you'd need to provide extra warmth for your flock during the winter months, which can add to the cost of their overall care.
Getting the size of your coop correct is absolutely crucial to your flock's health and happiness. It's not just the size of the coop itself you need to think about though. The outdoor run and internal features need to be calculated and added to the overall amount of space the coop will take up in your outdoor space.
You'll also need to think about how much space each individual chicken in your flock needs.
Once you've worked everything out though, there's no doubt that you'll have a happy flock of chickens that will bring you hours of joy and provide you with delicious eggs all year-round.