There are 5 key items to consider when determining what size chicken coop you need.
Space: How much space do you have? Do you live in an area where you have many acres available or do you live in an area where you juts have a backyard. Backyard chicken coops are becoming increasingly popular. Here are the size requirements per chicken:
3 to 4 square feet per chicken in the coop (minimum)
10 square feet per chicken in the run
250 square feet for free range chickens
City and/or County Ordinances: Make sure you check with the city and or county because they may have certain restrictions or limitations. You may find restrictions like height or size limitations. Some cities may not allow you to raise chickens.
Number of Chickens: We have determined that our city does allow us to raise chickens. Now that we know the space requirements per chicken we can determine how many birds we can have. It is recommended that you raise at least 3 chickens. So we have decided we want 4 chickens. Most backyard owners have between 4 to 10 chickens. Always keep in mind that the number you start with has a tendency to get larger rather than smaller. The majority of people that have backyard Chickens really enjoy the experience. So if you set everything up correctly in the beginning you should have the same positive experience.
Size of the Coop: Our chicken coop should be at least 12 to 16 square feet. The run should be 40 square feet. For 4 chickens this would be a total of 52 to 56 square feet. This would require an area approximately 6′ X 10′. If you want more chickens consider the space you have available and determine your size accordingly. If you are going to allow the chickens to be open range during the day, space will be a factor if you are having backyard chickens.
Safety: Is your chicken coop and run free from predators? Dogs, Raccoons and other animals will dig under the fence to get to your chickens. You need to consider building the fence into the ground to avoid burrowing by predators. You could consider pouring a concrete foundation under the fence line. You will want at least 2 1/2 feet clearance between the bottom of your coop and the ground. This has many advantages and can provide a shade for your chickens during the hot days.
Chicken coops come in all styles and sizes. You can build a simple square box type house or you can have a very stylish house with a fabulous architectural design. You also might want to consider a “Kit” instead of cutting your own lumber.