How Much Run Space per Chicken?

Getting more and more chickens can be addicting, but we really need to pay close attention to the space needed for a run. But most people unknowingly don’t give enough space to their chickens. So, in this post, let’s take a look at the minimum space requirements chickens need for a run.

If you’re not an expert woodworker (like me) but you’re still thinking of building your own coop and run (it’s really not that hard!), you might want to check out my favorite do-it-yourself chicken coop eBook called “Building a Chicken Coop“. You’ll save tons of money and your coop will most likely be of higher quality than a store-bought one.

Run Space per Chicken

If you’re going to keep your chickens in their coop and run, here is a rule of thumb: Give a minimum of eight to ten square feet per chicken in an outside run.

This is a rule of thumb because bantam breeds are smaller chickens and require less space than regular sized chickens. Yet, if you get hefty meat birds, they may need more space.

The measurements below are the bare minimum of how much space chickens should have in a run.

Chicken Breed SizeChicken Run
Standard8 square feet per bird
Large10 square feet per bird
Bantam4 square feet per bird

Just to be on the safe side, try to give your chickens more space then you think they’ll need. The extra space will help them be happier and healthier.

Another great idea is to get a pen for your chickens. A pen will allow them to be outside their chicken coop and run, while still remaining protected from predators and traffic.

More Space, Less Bullying!

All chicken flocks have a pecking order. There will be chickens higher up in the hierarchy, and there will be the more submissive chickens on the lower end.

The less space your flock has, the more likely it is that the more dominant chickens will bully the chickens at the lower end of the pecking order. But if there’s an abundance of space, there will be less of a chance that your chickens will be cornered and bullied. It’s essential that chickens can run away from each other if there’s any conflict.

Not giving chickens enough space can also cause stress, increase the chance of getting diseases, and even make bullying bad enough to cause death. The best thing you can do to keep a happy and healthy flock is to give them the largest run you can.

A larger run helps the bullying situation far more than a larger coop because it’s the run area that gives your chickens the chance to forage. To keep your chickens entertained and less irritated towards each other, you want the run to remain grassy. The grass will provide bugs and other stuff to munch on.

If your run is too small, they’ll forage everything and you’ll be left with bare dirt and irritated chickens. If this happens, and you can’t move the coop, you can provide bedding for the run and throw some leftovers, seeds, or other treats in there so that the chickens can have fun foraging for the food.

And if you don’t free-range your chickens at all, make sure to do your research on what breed to get. Some do better in confined spaces, such as Silkie Bantams, Australorps, Orpingtons, Easter Eggers, Plymouth Rocks, and the Cochin Bantams.