Most people don’t realize this, but healthy chickens need a lot of space. If you own backyard chickens, you can’t raise them like they would if they were on a battery farm or something like that. Your chickens need the ability to roam. They need to have space to themselves. If they don’t, then you are going to be asking for all manner of issues later on down the line. So, how much room do chickens need? Why do chickens need this amount of space?
Well, we are going to be answering those questions, and a few more, right here on this page.
How Much Space Chickens Need?
This is the ‘big’ question. The simple answer is; as much space as you can give them. Many people are surprised at just how much space a chicken actually needs to have. Therefore, if you are raising chickens for the first time, you will probably want to start with a small flock.
If the hen house you have, or the chicken run, is quite limited in space, then you really do not want to overrun it with chickens.
As a general rule of thumb; in a chicken coop, you should have at least a 2-square-feet of space per chicken. Obviously, the more you have available to them, the better it is going to be. However, 2 square feet should be enough for them to move around and do normal chicken behaviors.
Outside of the coop (i.e. in their run) chickens should have around 7-8 square-feet space.
If you are raising chickens for their eggs, then make sure that there is adequate space for nesting boxes too. There doesn’t need to be one per chicken, but there should still be a sizable amount.
Of course, the real space requirements for a chicken are not going to come from the chicken coop. Your chickens will barely be spending any time there. In fact, it is likely that the only time they will head into their coop is if they want a bit of privacy or, more likely, at night.
The chicken run is going to be where your chickens will be spending the majority of their time. Out here, they are going to need to have at least 8 square feet of space to themselves, although the more they have, the healthier and happier the chicken is going to be.
You may be able to adjust these numbers by half if you have smaller chickens (e.g. Bantam Chickens) but, even then, you probably won’t want to reduce it by that much. You want to raise healthy chickens and, for that, you are going to need to give them a ton of space.
Why Chicken Space is Important to Think About?
Well, for starters, there may actually be laws in your local area which dictate how much space each individual chicken needs to have to themselves. Granted, laws like this are minimal at the moment, but they do exist.
It is all due to a massive drive of people keeping backyard chickens and the local authorities wanting to ensure that these chickens are not abused. It also helps to ensure that backyard chickens are not kept just as a way to generate food products.
The main reason why you need space for your chickens, however, is all down to the fact that if they don’t have space, they are going to become quite angsty. Think about it. How would you feel if you were locked up in a tiny place each day, with barely any ability to move about?
Chances are that you probably wouldn’t be all that happy. The same applies to chickens. If the chicken is depressed, then it won’t produce eggs. Simple as that. Since half the reason people are raising chickens is because they want access to food.
The same goes if you are raising your chickens for meat. If they do not have the space to move around, they won’t be ‘exercised’, which means the meat isn’t going to taste all that good.
If that wasn’t enough; chickens are well-known for being quite violent when they are forced into a tiny space with one another. In fact, some people have reported that chickens can even turn to cannabilism if worst comes to worst.
Obviously, that is the last thing that you really want to be happening when you are raising chickens, right?