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How Much Space Do Chickens Need?

This entry was posted on 31 December 2020 in Keeping Chickens.

If you keep chickens or are planning to, space is an important consideration. After all, your chickens must have enough room to be comfortable. They must also be as safe and as healthy as possible. But just how much space do chickens need? Let’s look into it further.

How Much Space Should I Give My Chickens? 

Firstly, it is worth saying that certain factors will influence the answer to this question. For example, how long do you plan on leaving your chickens in their chicken coops? And what area will they be housed in? You need to ask yourself if the chickens are going to be given space to roam around in (of course they should be). And one other important question: how many chickens do you want to keep? If you have many chickens, you need to make sure they are not overcrowded.

Let’s address some of these points. As mentioned you need to make sure that a chicken coop has plenty of space for chickens to move comfortably. If you don’t have enough room for them it can lead to stress, pecking, cannibalism, and even death. Further to this, a space that’s too small is likely to attract mould, mildew, and bacteria. This may lead to upper respiratory infections in your chickens. And conditions such as these could cause the spread of parasites amongst the animals.

As a rule of thumb around 2 to 3 square feet per chicken inside the chicken coop is the recommendation with 8 to 10 square feet per chicken for the outside run. Having said this, too much space could be negative if it makes the coop hard to maintain to a high standard in the right amount of time. It might be that it would be hard to keep a too large area heated where that is a concern.

How Much Space Classes as Free-Range?

Speaking of space, you might be wondering how much space is required for a chicken to be classed as “free-range”. Looking at legal definitions, the EU states a hen needs a single square foot of floor space inside and around 13 square feet of outdoor space, to meet the specifications that equal free range.

The law doesn’t, however, stipulate how often a chicken needs to go outside to reach this classification, this is at the discretion of the farmer. But if we were to focus on backyard chicken keepers, as opposed to commercial concerns, free-range chickens should have at least 25 square feet of outside space and, ideally, no run keeping them in. Due to issues such as foxes and other predators trying to catch the chickens this won’t always be practical.

We hope this guide on keeping chickens has been helpful and answered your questions. It’s important to remember you must make sure you are well equipped to provide enough space for your chickens and are ready to give them the best chance to have happy and healthy lives. 

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If you would like to find out more about how we can help you create the perfect home for your chickens, get in touch today on 01273 978 487 or head over to our contact page for more information.