The amount of space you need depends on the breed of chickens you are keeping. According to recommendations by the University of Missouri Extension, a single medium-sized chicken requires floor space of at least 3 square feet inside the coop and at least 8 to 10 square feet of outdoor space. However, it is worth remembering that the more space you allocate the chickens, the happier and healthier they will be. Overcrowding chickens can potentially lead to feather picking and diseases.
Other experts also tell us that an adult chickens requires floor space of a minimum of 2 square feet for shelter and outdoor and space of around 2-3 square feet. This basically means that if you have four hens, you should have a chicken house of at least 3 feet by 5 feet and 3 feet by 7 feet outdoor space.
The total space required will therefore be 3 by 10 feet. You don’t need a very tall chicken house. A height of around 3 feet should be sufficient enough the walk in and do the usual tasks such as collecting eggs and removing manure. These dimensions are not written in stone and you can change them anytime depending on your requirements.
You should also consider roosting space when sizing your chicken house. Larger breeds will need up to one foot of roosting width, while smaller breeds can obviously fit more in on the same space. The birds will often snug in tight on the roost, especially in the winter time to stay warm.
Chickens need sufficient space to breathe and spread their wings. For example, a good chicken run can sometimes take an entire backyard to ensure that the birds have enough space to roam, and enjoy a dust bath during the day.
The space should also be securely fenced off to keep the birds in and the predators out. Predators also include your own dogs and cats so remember to add chickens wire fencing to your budget for the project.
You will obviously require more space if you are keeping more chickens. For example, you will need more space for storing the chickens feed, litter, and keeping manure in a more secure and organized way. While talking about space it is also worth considering the location of your chicken house.
The chickens shelter should be located preferably in your backyard rather than the front yard. Find the most suitable location a bit far from your neighbors to avoid complaints about chickens noise and smell.