How Much Room Do Chickens Need? (How Much Coop & Run Space Is Needed per Chicken in Square Feet)

How Much Space Does a Chicken Need?

Unknowingly, most people don’t give enough square feet per chicken in a coop and run*, which can l lead to some severe physical and mental health disadvantages.

So before you plan on building (Easy Coops) or buying a chicken coop (Amazon), keep these space requirements in mind!

*A run is a fenced-in area where chickens can roam freely and safely. It is important to have a chicken run because it allows the chickens to get exercise and fresh air, which is essential for their health.

If you’re going to keep your backyard chickens enclosed in their coop and run at all times, it’s a good rule of thumb that you set aside 4 to 10 square feet per adult chicken in an outdoor run and between 2 to 4 square feet per chicken inside a coop. (These numbers are based on the chickens’ size. More on that below).

Plus, it’s also recommended that each chicken must have at least 8 to 12 inches of roosting space* inside the coop. And, you’ll also need 1 nesting box for every 4 hens. So, if you have 20 hens, they’ll need access to at least 5 nesting boxes.

*A roost is a perch where chickens sleep, inside the chicken coop.

Bantam breeds are smaller-sized chickens so they generally require less space than regular-sized chickens. On the other hand, if you get big, hefty meat birds, they’ll need more space than standard-sized chickens.

The measurements below are the bare minimum of how much room chickens should have if they aren’t let out of their chicken coop and run during the day:

Chicken Coop

Chicken Breed/SizeChicken Coop
Standard3 square feet per bird
Large4 square feet per bird
Bantam2 square foot per bird

Run

The measurements below are the least amount of space a chicken needs in a run:

Chicken Breed/SizeOutside Run
Standard8 square feet per bird
Large10 square feet per bird
Bantam4 square feet per bird

Just to be safe, always aim to give them more run space than you think they’ll need. The more space you give them, the happier and healthier they’ll be!

How I Built My Chicken Coops & Runs

I know close to nothing about building anything. However, I’ve successfully built all of my chicken coops myself by using the Easy Coops’ chicken coop plans.

The coops might not be the most beautiful coops, and might look too minimalist for some, but they’re made to keep your chickens safe from predators, harsh hot and cold weather, and common airborne illnesses. A well-built coop reduces your hens’ stress, which will ultimately increase egg-production.

I personally provided my standard-sized chickens 4 square feet each in their hen-house, and 12 square feet per bird in their run. Not only did I make their housing a bit bigger than the recommendations in order to make them happy, but I also did it because it takes way less effort to take care of chickens when they’re not irritated.

Another great idea is to get a pen for your chickens (Amazon), just so they can be outside their run for an adventure while keeping them safe from predators or traffic.

However, you might want to wrap your pen with hardware cloth if you’re not going to supervise your chickens.

Hardware Cloth

To protect my chickens from all sorts of predators, I never use chicken wire for my chicken coops, runs, or pens because raccoons and other predators can easily rip it apart. Plus, predators (like raccoons) can even grab chickens and eat them through chicken wire or fencing.

Instead, I use hardware cloth (Amazon) that’s made of a 1/4-inch a 1/2-inch mesh and I secure them with poultry staples (Amazon), which is safer than using staples. Or, you can use zip ties.

I also use hog rings and a hog ring plier (Amazon) if I need to fasten 2 pieces of fencing material together.

How Much Space Do You Need for 2 Chickens?

Standard Chicken Size:

Chicken Coop: 3 square feet needed per chicken x 2 chickens = 6 square feet (minimum)

Run: 8 square feet needed per chicken x 2 chickens = 16 square feet (minimum)

Large/Meat Chicken Size:

Chicken Coop: 4 square feet needed per chicken x 2 chickens = 8 square feet (minimum)

Run: 10 square feet needed per chicken x 2 chickens = 20 square feet (minimum)

Bantam Chicken Size:

Chicken Coop: 2 square feet needed per chicken x 2 chickens = 4 square feet (minimum)

Run: 4 square feet needed per chicken x 2 chickens = 8 square feet (minimum)

How Many Chickens Can You Put in a 4×8 Coop?

4 feet x 8 feet = 32 square feet chicken coop (without run)

Standard Chicken Size:
32 square feet ÷ 3 square feet needed per chickens = 10.6 (10 chickens maximum)

Large/Meat Chicken Size:
32 square feet ÷ 4 square feet needed per chickens = 8 chickens maximum

Bantam Chicken Size:
32 square feet ÷ 2 square feet needed per chickens = 16 chickens maximum

How Many Chickens Can Fit in an 8×10 Coop?

8 feet x 10 feet = 80 square feet chicken coop (without run)

Standard Chicken Size:
80 square feet ÷ 3 square feet needed per chickens = 26.7 (26 chickens maximum)

Large/Meat Chicken Size:
80 square feet ÷ 4 square feet needed per chickens = 20 chickens maximum

Bantam Chicken Size:
80 square feet ÷ 2 square feet needed per chickens = 40 chickens maximum

How Many Chickens Can Fit in a 10×10 Coop?

10 feet x 10 feet = 100 square feet chicken coop (without run)

Standard Chicken Size:
100 square feet ÷ 3 square feet needed per chickens = 33.3 (33 chickens maximum)

Large/Meat Chicken Size:
100 square feet ÷ 4 square feet needed per chickens = 25 chickens maximum

Bantam Chicken Size:
100 square feet ÷ 2 square feet needed per chickens = 50 chickens maximum

Conclusion: How Much Space Do You Need for Chickens?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, such as the type of chicken and the climate in which they live.

In general, though, approximately 3 to 4 square feet of chicken coop space and 8 to 10 square feet of run space per bird are ideal. But more run space is always better!

But why is space so important?

Here are a few reasons why you should give a spacious run for chickens:

More Run Space per Chicken = Less Bullying

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

The less space your flock has in their chicken coop and run, 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.

A Spacious Run Provides Room for Foraging

A larger run helps the bullying situation far more than a larger chicken coop because the run area gives your chickens the chance to forage. Foraging keeps them busy.

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 eat and entertain them.

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 or provide your chickens with a chicken pen (Amazon), 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 food.

Some Breeds Need Less Run Space per Chicken

If you don’t free-range your chickens at all, make sure to do your research on what breeds need less floor space in their coop and run to be healthy and happy.

Some breeds do better in confined coops, such as Silkie Bantams, Australorps, Orpingtons, Easter Eggers, Plymouth Rocks, and Cochin Bantams.

Other Reasons Why Every Chicken Needs Extra Run Space

Chickens are happier, healthier, and at their best when they have adequate space to run around in. This is because they are able to exercise and explore their surroundings, which makes them less stressed and more content.

Plus, not giving chickens enough run space can increase the chance of them getting diseases. It can also result in your laying hens producing fewer eggs (or no eggs), or it can even cause death.

So, if you want to keep your chickens happy and healthy, consider giving them as much run space as possible.

Being Self-Sufficient

Raising chickens is great because you become a little more self-sufficient and the work is truly rewarding.

However, being 100% self-sufficient on your own land might not be for everyone. It’s a lot of learning, planning, hard work, and patience to get yourself set up.

But this sweet, down-to-earth couple have done just that. They’ve been self-sufficient on their little 1/4 acre land for over 40 years! And, now they’re showing other people how they save and make money by being self-sufficient in things like food, heating, and electricity.

You should definitely check them out because you might get ideas on how to save or make money from your own backyard!