Chicken Hutch / June 1, 2018 / Maryellen
The amount of room that different breeds of chickens require may vary. Thus you should do a little research but the general rule is that each chicken should have at least 2 to 3 square feet of space for themselves. Say you have 40 chickens meaning that theyll need about 80 to 120 square feet in total. If possible always choose a plan that has more room rather than less. An 11 by 11 frame would be nice or even a 12 by 12. Although they might not be able to communicate it to you they do enjoy the extra running room. Again a bit of research will help lots. As temperatures change within the different seasons you need to be sure that your chickens dont get too hot or cold. A thermometer is always a good idea. Due to the needs of your chickens you will probably need to get some heating pads or lamps with the colder weather and cooling vents in the summer. This is all to maintain the ideal temperature even with the weather changes.
Basically a large chicken coop in an urban environment means a coop that you can walk upright into just as you would in an elevator. In fact you can take the size of a typical elevator as your guide in the initial design process of your chicken coop. On the wall facing the door you can place your elevated roost and nest box. You can raise it up to your chest level and extend it up to the roof of the coop. But if you have more than three chickens consider keeping this section at least three - four feet off the ground. Remember that chickens need a lot of space when roosting. Stacking them up too close to each other can result to them pecking at each other. Another benefit of this elevated design is that your chickens are off the floor and away from predators like rats or raccoons.
Using a ramp connect the second floor roost to the first floor play and exercise area. Having a large chicken coop also helps your hens get a bit more exercise. This is going to be especially helpful in the winter months when they need to keep their body temperature up. And speaking of winter months dont forget that having a large coop also means that youll have to get extra insulation during the cold season. And its not just your chickens you will also reap the benefits from the extra space that a large coop provides. Cleaning for example will be much easier. You can just take a shovel and scoop out all the dirt in the run without always having your face two inches away from chicken poop. This is also good news for those that have back or knee problems because they wouldnt have to crouch down every time they clean the coop. Also if in the future you would like to turn your hobby into a small business having a large chicken coop will make expansion easier. Just make a note of the rules in your city (or apartment building) as to how many chickens is an individual allowed to keep.