How Much Space... Feed... Water... Light Does a Chicken Need?

Of course you want your chickens to be as happy as possible and you might wonder exactly what they need for happiness? The rules of thumb are just that - rules of thumb - more is always better of course, but here's a handy chart to pin or bookmark listing the essentials your backyard chickens need.

If you're thinking of getting started raising a few chickens, or adding to your flock, just give my chart a quick glance so you know if you've got the space you need, or need to make a few modifications to your set-up.

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  1. Kristi@StoneFamilyFarmsteadJune 15, 2015 at 8:54 AM

    Nice guide, Lisa. We are doing great at our new place--our cupe is pretty huge, but we're sorely lacking in run space. Todd and I are working on enclosing my garden area and putting a door on the side of the coop so they can poke around the whole area (I think it's something like 1500 square feet. Of course, I'll have to protect my plants when they are young, but I've got some ideas doing that. It's not perfect, as there isn't any grass for them, but there is a shaded area, plenty of weeds we can allow to grow and there is a huge compost pile to frolic around in. In the coop, we just put in a roosting bar last week. Oddly, the coop never had one. The girls are starting to enjoy it.

  2. Donna Allgaier-LambertiJune 15, 2015 at 4:42 PM

    I just read your info. to my husband - it was perfect timing for us, thank you. We have a 48" X 48" size coop (the size of the repurposed exterior plywood wood we had on hand) for our 4 small-scale Cochins. My husband wanted to add our four Rhode Island Reds chicks to that same coop but I knew that this would be way to crowded. So I convinced him to build another coop with a shared covered "playpen" that is used during our 6 month Michigan winters. We also just added a second long section of "roost" to the existing covered playpen so that the pullets have their own roosting section and that means the old roost section will belong to the older hens who have been using it for the last year or so. We have three fenced off pasture "run" areas that the girls roam around in. We are working on the integration stuff now...going very slowly so that everyone gets used to one another. Donna at the Small House Homestead.

  3. We give our chickens plenty of food, according to your guidelines. AND they have an extremely large run with grass. and they still act like they're starving -- in that whenever we walk out of the house, they clamor to the fence & walk, back & forth, like they're starving! how can i tell when they truly need more food and when they're just 'addicted' to carbs ;)

  4. They're just addicted to carbs! Ours do the same thing. They love treats. Just keep the treats to 10% of their diet and you'll be fine.