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If You Build it, They will Come...
(or How Much Space Does a Chicken Need?)

So you're ready to start your first chicken family. And you're ready to build yourself a chicken coop that will be the envy of your neighborhood.

BUT HOW BIG should you build your chicken coop?

Here's a simple formula to keep in mind:

One chicken needs a minium of 4 square feet of space in the hen house. This means, if you plan on raising 5 chickens, your chicken coop should be 20 square feet or larger.

PLUS, your chickens need room outside for some fresh air and room to roam (safely). Each chicken needs at least 4 square feet of room in the chicken run. So, if you're still planning on those 5 chickens, you will need an additional 20 square feet(or more) of fenced area for them to be in.


How much food should you feed your chickens?

A safe approximation is this: One chicken will need about 1/2 cup of food per day. They will also need 1.5-2.5 cups of water per day. For our 5 chicken example, this means 2.5-3 cups of food per day, and 10 cups of water.

But that's not all. Your chickens will also need grit to help them digest their food. And calcium for their health and the health of the eggs they're laying. And a treat or two (okay, they don't really need treats, but they think they do!).

You can also feed your chickens organic table scraps--your fruit and vegetable peels and grains. Really, you can feed your chicken almost ANYTHING...but there are exceptions. There are some things your chickens SHOULD NOT eat.

How many eggs will your chickens lay?

That all depends...on the age of your chicken (they won't lay eggs until they're 5-6 months old and as they get older, their egg production slows down--the first two years of production are the best), the breed of your chicken (some breeds lay more than others), the health of your chicken (healthy, happy chickens do better), the time of year (a chicken needs 16 hours of daylight for egg laying), etc....

BUT, having said all of that, under good conditions, you can resonably expect a active, healthy, not-too-old chicken to lay 3-7 eggs per week (I only have one chicken out of 8 that lays 6-7 days a week, the others lay less).

Chicken Coop

The super amazing mathmatical formulation
( that is NOT pure science):

One chicken
+ 4 square (or more) feet of hen house
+ 4 square feet (or more) of chicken run
+ 1/2 Cup Food
+ 2 Cups water
+ Sunshine, happiness and health
+ a sprinkling of treats, calcium, grit and misc scraps and bugs and stuff
= 1 egg per day
or so


5 chickens
+ 20 square feet of hen house (or larger)
+ 20 square feet of chicken run (or larger)
+ 21 cups food
+ 70 cups water
+sunshine, happiness and health
+ a sprinkling of treats, calcium, grit and misc scraps and bugs and stuff
=2-3 dozen eggs per week



More chicken information that might interest you:

Step by Step Coop

Before you Buy Baby Chickens

Taking Care of Baby Chicks

Getting Started with Chickens

Chicken Raising and Care

Basic Chicken Coop 101 and Basic Chicken Coop 102

How to Make an Automatic Chicken Waterer

Free Chicken Coop Plans

Weird Chicken Facts







Chicken in Chicken Run


free sample

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