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So after wanting to get more girls (pretty much ever since I first got mine) I've decided that I'll be upgrading to the Cube (2nd hand). I initially had 3 girls in a Go Up with 3 metre run and they free ranged every day but feather plucking set in and I've never been able to get rid of the habit. I put it down to lack of space when they were confined to the run. My plan is to get a Cube with a 3 metre run. The girls will be able to free range pretty much all day but I don't want to overcrowd them if/when they have to be confined to the run. What the absolute maximum people would be comfortable having/have personal experience of in this set up?

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3 hours ago, Roksteddie said:

So after wanting to get more girls (pretty much ever since I first got mine) I've decided that I'll be upgrading to the Cube (2nd hand). I initially had 3 girls in a Go Up with 3 metre run and they free ranged every day but feather plucking set in and I've never been able to get rid of the habit. I put it down to lack of space when they were confined to the run. My plan is to get a Cube with a 3 metre run. The girls will be able to free range pretty much all day but I don't want to overcrowd them if/when they have to be confined to the run. What the absolute maximum people would be comfortable having/have personal experience of in this set up?

I have the original MK1 and that fit 9 medium sized hens (now down to 8 hens) without any squabbling or difficulty, but I also had 12 squared meters of run space for them - plus another 40 or so square meters of outdoor space with an electric fence around it. The important thing is making sure you have the outdoor space for them. Ideally you should allow 1 square meter per hen, preferably more if you can. So you can get a cube which can hold 8 hens, but if you only have run space for 3 hens, then you should only get 3 hens.

From what you've posted about them having a lot of space to free range, I wonder if the feather pecking is the real issue and that is the habit that needs to be broken. I'm not sure moving them to a bigger house alone is going to do much if they still show that kind of behaviour - especially if you want to add more birds.

That's just my thought on it anyway.

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Thanks for the input, AndyRoo. I've battled the feather pecking for well over a year so I know that it's a habit that can't be broken with my current girls. So rather than adding to the current girls - I'll be getting the Cube for a 2nd brand new set of girls. So my question is: with just the cube and the 3 metre run (no free ranging), how many girls would you keep in there?

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According to the spacing guidelines as the run is 3m x 1m that means 3 full sized chooks.

I currently have a 3x2 run attached to a 2m Cube run, so 8 square meters, which I have 6 bantams in at the moment, hopefully going up to 10 if I can successfully integrate my Dutch and Sablepoot bantams - that’s the maximum I would have in my space so I guess that would equate to about 4 bantams in the size of run you will have. 

Mine also free range in half the garden whenever I’m home.

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36 minutes ago, mullethunter said:

According to the spacing guidelines as the run is 3m x 1m that means 3 full sized chooks.

I currently have a 3x2 run attached to a 2m Cube run, so 8 square meters, which I have 6 bantams in at the moment, hopefully going up to 10 if I can successfully integrate my Dutch and Sablepoot bantams - that’s the maximum I would have in my space so I guess that would equate to about 4 bantams in the size of run you will have. 

Mine also free range in half the garden whenever I’m home.

Oh that's disappointing. I had 3 girls in a Go Up with 3 metre run so assumed that the  Cube would be roomier... if i can only have 3 it makes no sense to get one. And I certainly can't afford an Omlet walk in run...

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I’d go for 3 as well.   That’s the most I’ve had with that size of run and no free ranging.  If you had bantams you might get 4 in, but it’s best to have a few rather than crowd them.  That’s when the feather pecking starts.    You could increase the useable area with perches.  Bantams in particular like to be able to fly up to roost. 

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2 hours ago, Roksteddie said:

that's disappointing. I had 3 girls in a Go Up with 3 metre run so assumed that the  Cube would be roomier... if i can only have 3 it makes no sense to get one.

The Cube itself is bigger, and the run itself might be a bit bigger but not a whole lot I wouldn’t imagine (I don’t know what the footprint of a Go Up run is). The Cube run is 1m wide, so a 3m run gives you 3 x 1 metres.

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3 hours ago, Roksteddie said:

Oh that's disappointing. I had 3 girls in a Go Up with 3 metre run so assumed that the  Cube would be roomier... if i can only have 3 it makes no sense to get one. And I certainly can't afford an Omlet walk in run...

It's more about the size of the outdoor space than the cube itself. I'd say minimum of 1 square meter per hen, which is what I think you have based on MH says above, so I wouldn't add more.

Some of my friends have been getting hens having seen ours and I've actually been recommending 2 square meters per bird... which I recognise is a bit hypocritical as I have less than that in my WiR. But, unless it's raining, they also have the large fenced in area too.

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10 hours ago, mullethunter said:

The Cube itself is bigger, and the run itself might be a bit bigger but not a whole lot I wouldn’t imagine (I don’t know what the footprint of a Go Up run is). The Cube run is 1m wide, so a 3m run gives you 3 x 1 metres.

The run of a Cube IS a lot bigger than a Go. I’ve had the pleasure of having to dismantle a Cube with 3 m run and 2x2 walk in run in the pouring rain.... (my dad bought a second hand cube and asked me to help move it.... I was elbow deep in mud and spiders webs...)

the 1 square m per chicken is the guideline, but I think 4 to 5 could happily live in th 3 m run. It does depend on the hens though. Some or just more high strung than others.

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In my experience anything less than 2 square metres per chicken and stress problems start. Although individual character plays a part you don't know you have a bad one until you've got them and then it's too late. Don't know who recommends 1 square metre and how they got that figure?

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What I understand from the Uk peeps here, it’s a recommendation of DEFRA.

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Ultimately my girls are let out everyday to free range in the garden and are only put away just before sun down. I'm just wondering if they'd be ok if confined to the run for a few days if we were away. They'd never be restricted to just the run longterm. Hmm, food for thought...

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DEFRA applies to commercial chickens, so not domestic 'pets' whose keepers will have their welfare, not profit, a top priority I think. I know that organic free ranging requirements varied from 4 square metres to 15 square metres each at one time, so perhaps they are the figures to aim for and anything less could be considered 'cramped'? I'll stick with my personal experience and recommend a minimum of 2 square metres per chicken. If they get time free ranging outside the run every day that area could probably be reduced; we have one run of 4 ½ square metres with three hens in it but they are out ranging within in a 20 metre Omlet net for most of the day every day, as chickens are creatures of habit and not letting them out for just one day could potentially spark problems.

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5 hours ago, Cat tails said:

What I understand from the Uk peeps here, it’s a recommendation of DEFRA.

Yeah, this is where it comes from; although when I was researching, it seemed to be a number that was thrown around a lot. I'd say it was a bare minimum, though.

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