With the rise in popularity of backyard chicken coops, many people are wondering just how much space they need to keep chickens in their yard.
Giving enough space for your chickens is essential to their health and well-being.
Too little space often results in frequent squabbles in the coop as chickens fight for space to scratch about, nest, and roost.
Chicken keepers should aim to have about 3′ square feet per chicken in the coop. For 10 chickens, this means at least 30′ sq ft in the coop. For chicken runs, each bird needs about 5′ square feet each. This means 10 chickens will need about 150′ sq ft in the run to have enough space.
Chickens need enough space to walk about, roost, and lay eggs.
Otherwise, they tend to fight over space, and it ends up being a major headache for the chicken keeper.
Let’s dive more in-depth into just how big of a chicken coop is needed for a flock of ten chickens.
What Size Coop For 10 Chickens?
Chickens require about 3′ feet per bird in the chicken.
The size of coops is critical to the flock’s overall health and social well-being.
As a rule of thumb, chickens should have 3′ square feet each in the coop and 5′ square feet in the chicken run.
To get the necessary square footage for a flock of ten chickens, backyard farmers should install an 8’x4′ foot chicken coop.
These dimensions work out to 32′ square feet, which is just above the 30′ square feet goal for 10 chickens.
In addition to the coop, chicken keepers will also need to install a run.
If you have free-range chickens, the run is not as important.
However, if you have other domestic pets like cats or dogs who may injure or kill birds, installing a chicken run to keep them safe from potential predators is best.
Coming up with a chicken coop plan is very important before bringing the birds home.
Measure the space you have available and decide on the chicken coop dimensions.
Depending on the space, you may need to tweak the traditional 8’x4′ foot chicken coop model to best suit the available space on your property.
If you don’t have the right size coop, here’s a list of ideas of what to do with old chicken houses.
How Much Space Do Chickens Need?
One of the benefits of having backyard chickens is access to a consistent supply of eggs.
For chickens to lay healthy, big eggs, they need to be happy and healthy.
They won’t be as prolific egg layers if they endure stress from lack of space.
The coop size plays a vital role in this factor.
When you have 10-15 chickens or more, the smaller chicken coop will not work for you.
Consider investing in a 2-tier large chicken coop to accommodate your birds and increase chicken capacity.
The amount of space your chickens need vary based on what the space is used for.
The coop is used for sleeping, roosting, and egg-laying.
Investing in a larger coop allows for the space chickens need to feel comfortable and get along with their other flock mates.
Backyard coops don’t have to be extremely extravagant or larger than necessary, but getting the perfect size for your flock will help give your chickens happy lives.
Providing outdoor space for the chickens outside of the standard chicken coop is also essential.
Chicken runs are protected and enclosed outdoor spaces for chickens to roam, forage, and stretch their legs.
How Many Nesting Boxes Do I Need?
If you have experience laying hens, you’ve likely heard the loud and abrasive squabbles over nesting boxes.
Having enough nest boxes for your laying hens will help keep them laying regularly without plucking feathers and scratching for their space. If you have a flock of 10 chickens, 3 – 4 nest boxes will likely do the trick.
Some deluxe chicken coops offer a few nesting boxes included in the coop design.
However, for ten chickens, you may need to invest in a few more nesting boxes like this and the initial chicken coop purchase to make sure your hens have enough space.
If you have outdoor chicken flocks, they may lay their eggs in random places throughout the property if they don’t have enough nest boxes in the standard chicken coop.
This leads to an egg hunt whenever you want to find where your ladies are leaving their eggs.
How Big Of A Chicken Run Do I Need?
Adding a run to a backyard chicken farm is a great way to give your ladies some space to exercise and move about.
Many chicken coops from the chicken coop manufacturer supply a built-in chicken run area.
The chicken run space should be as ample as possible, depending on the property.
For a flock of ten birds, chicken owners should aim for at least 50′ square feet of space in the run.
This chicken coop offers 200′ square feet in a protected, water-proof enclosure to keep your backyard chickens safe from the elements and predators.
Each bird will need about 5′ square feet for an average-sized chicken in the run.
This is a bit more than in the coop.
This is because chickens mostly sleep, eat, and roost in the coop, while they tend to be a bit more active when in the outdoor space in the run.
The space needed may vary between breeds of chicken.
For this reason, research what chicken needs in terms of space for both the run and the coop.
How Much Space Do Chickens Need To Roost?
Another critical part of the business of chicken keeping is providing enough space for your chickens to roost at night.
Chickens tend to enjoy being a bit above the ground.
This is an instinctual behavior to keep them off the ground and at less risk of being attacked by a predator.
Typically the roosting pole is about 2-3′ feet off the ground.
This will help all birds in your backyard flock feel safe and secure as they sleep each night.
Providing ample roosting space for your chickens to perch each night is also very important.
Learn more about what time chickens go into their coop at night in our article.
Lack of space will lead them to push each other off the roosting poles to make room for themselves.
Each chicken typically needs 6-10″ inches of roosting space.
This means chicken farmers with 10 chickens will need 60-100″ inches of the roosting bar in the coop.
Many achieve this by installing a few rows of roosting poles in the coop to give their birds plenty of space to roost.
If you have an 8’x4′ foot chicken coop and install roosting bars across the width of the coop, you will have 48″ inches of roosting space. By installing two roosting poles in the enclosure, you’ll give your flock 96″ inches of roosting space to perch on when they go to sleep.
This is an ideal amount for them to get comfortable and not push each other off throughout the night.
How To Keep Flocks Safe In The Coop And The Run
Safety is often a top priority if you live in an area with common chicken predators.
Possums, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, skunks, and domestic pets are common culprits whenever a nighttime raid occurs on the coop.
Losing chickens to predators is very sad, especially if you bond with your chickens.
It also impacts egg supply and will put a lot of stress on the rest of the flock as they will no longer feel safe.
There are many ways to make both the chicken coop and chicken run safe from predators.
There are also some good habits for chicken keepers to adapt to make sure their chickens don’t fall victim and become another animal’s dinner.
Here are some great tips for making your chicken coop and run as safe as possible:
Put Chickens Away From Dusk To Dawn
This is the most common time for chicken predators to strike. Keeping them securely locked in the coop drastically reduces the likelihood of an attack. Make a habit of not letting the flock out until the sun is up and putting them away before it gets dark. Most chickens will naturally adopt this behavior, so wrangling them won’t be an issue.
Invest In A Quality, Predator-Proof Lock
Invest in a quality, predator-proof lock like this for the coop. You’d be surprised at how clever some predators are. Various chicken owners report raccoons opening standard latch locks and entering the coop at night. While they may be smart, they definitely won’t be able to hack a combination or two-step locking mechanism.
Install A Motion Detector Light
Install a motion detector light like this outside of the coop. Sometimes the sudden bright light is enough to scare off predators when attempting to enter the cage.
Bury Chicken Wire Underground
Bury chicken wire underground. Many predators will dig up chicken wire to get into the run and the coop. Burying the chicken wire with a curve facing away from the coop will help deter this behavior and keep pesky predators from infiltrating the coop and stealing your chickens.