How to Choose the Right Chicken Coop for 8 Chickens
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on January 11, 2023
Chicken coops are essential for keeping your flock safe and secure. However, there are numerous options that flood the market making it hard to determine which coop is right for your chickens. From size to ventilation to runs, the different aspects to consider can be a lot to think about. We’ve created this guide to help you determine which chicken coop for eight chickens is right for you.
Chicken coops are a necessity for raising chickens. However, the high cost of purchasing one can be overwhelming. While it may be tempting to cut corners and compromise on the size of the chicken coop, that can create even more problems. You should keep in mind the number of chickens you have, or expect to get, when deciding on the perfect coop.
An undersized chicken coop can have potentially negative effects on your flock. One reason to avoid getting a coop that is too small is to avoid any aggressive behavior. When chickens have to compete or fight for space, pecking will be their first defense mechanism. Once one chicken takes up this behavior, it will be difficult to keep the rest from following suit. Ensuring there is enough space for all of your chickens around the feeders, on perches, and on the ground can help limit aggressive behavior.
When too many chickens are kept in a small space, it can cause manure to build up and contaminate the air quality. When this happens quickly and ammonia levels begin to rise, it can have negative effects on your chickens’ health. Even with a larger coop, it is imperative that the chickens have dry litter. By checking this often, you can ensure that high ammonia levels will not compromise the flock’s health.
When too many chickens are herded into a small coop, a lot will be going on. The constant movement and noise could cause stress in your chickens. When chickens are stressed, they do not produce at their highest potential. With a decreased egg production, you will not be making as much profit as you could be and may end up with an unhealthy flock.
While an oversized chicken coop is always preferred to an undersized coop, there are reasons to be cautious about oversized coops. When there are not enough chickens to fill up a coop, it can be hard for the chickens to keep themselves warm. A small coop can be warmed by the flock’s body heat but it can be extremely difficult to raise the temperature of a coop with a ton of empty space. Another factor to consider is the amount of time it will take you to clean a large chicken coop. While this should not be a determining factor, it is something to think about when you decide how many chickens you want to raise.
How To Calculate the Proper Size
Now that you see why purchasing the right size coop is so important, let’s look at the specifics. How big a coop needs to be to hold eight chickens?
While the perfect size will differ for each breed and the number of chickens in the flock, there is a general rule of thumb that you can base your calculations on. Generally, you would want to have 4 square feet for each chicken if they will be free-range. If the flock is kept in an enclosed chicken coop, you would need 10 square feet of space per chicken. This means that if your eight chickens are free-range, they would need a coop that is 32 square feet. Meanwhile, if your eight chickens are enclosed, the coop would need to be around 80 square feet. A chicken coop for eight chickens will be larger enough to accommodate the whole flock while maintaining a cozy atmosphere.
While you want to have a secure structure that will protect your flock from outside elements or predators, you cannot forget to include proper ventilation. This will limit the risk of high ammonia levels. Proper ventilation provides clean air and oxygen so the chickens can thrive. With improper ventilation, the coop will become humid and have high carbon monoxide levels. By ensuring the ventilation system is acceptable, you are eliminating the risk of mold and respiratory issues.
Other high-quality features are also important to the happiness of your flock. While adequate space and proper ventilation is essential, they are not the only aspects to consider when looking for a chicken coop.
Contrary to popular belief, each hen does not require their own nesting box. A general rule is to supply one nesting box for every three chickens. If you supply too many, the chickens may stop laying eggs. However, if you do not add enough nesting boxes, the chickens will begin laying their eggs in less-than-ideal places. Make sure the nesting roofs are slanted so manure does not accumulate on top.
An outdoor run is not included in the required square footage for your chicken coop. This addition is essential to raising a healthy flock. A run is a grassy area where your chickens will spend a large portion of their day. For each chicken, you should provide at least 8 square feet. So if you have eight chickens, you would need 64 square feet of space in the run. Having a roof or covered section of the run protects the chickens from predators, harsh weather and provides shade on a hot day.
Space to Roost
Roosting occurs at night when the flock gathers together to sleep. Providing a designated space to roost, such as a perch, prevents the chickens from laying in their own droppings and keeps external parasites from entering their bodies. You will need to provide 10 to 12 inches of roosting space per chicken. For a flock of eight chickens, this means one resting bar would need to be 8 feet long or have two 4-foot bars.
If you want a high-quality chicken coop for eight chickens that offers all of the necessary features, an enclosed chicken run, nesting boxes, and space to roost. Check out Dakota Storage Buildings’ coop options. Browse their free range and enclosed chicken coop options or customize your own that is unique to your flock. Premium flooring to prevent decay, roofing that maintains the interior temperature and 1-foot square nesting boxes are included in our packages. To ensure your flock has a high-quality home, check out our enclosed chicken coops today!