Originally Posted by Ridgerunner
Where are you located, more specifically what will the weather be like when they are in there? There is a real good chance you just need mostly a wire pen with a protected place for them to roost and lay eggs. That can be a lot cheaper than something with all solid sides. In decent weather chickens don’t need much protection, though beware of heat. Heat kills a lot more chickens than cold. You may need to provide shady areas. I saw the -20 but is that relevant to the breeding pens?
Different building materials come in different dimensions. Wire comes in rolls of various length, you might want to consider that. If you use wood, 4’ and 8’ dimensions are often standard and cheaper. You can save a lot of cutting and waste if you base your build on those dimensions instead of a 7’ x 10’.
You might want to check out Craigslist if you are in the USA, or see if you have an equivalent if you are somewhere else. You might find dog kennels or chain link fencing priced pretty cheaply there. If pretty is not a criteria for you perhaps you could mix and match and save a lot of money.
I don’t keep mine this way either so I won’t comment on size. But I’ll pass on some information that you may or may not know. It might help you with your planning.
An egg takes about 25 hours to pass through the hen’s internal egg making factory. It can only be fertilized in the first few minutes of that journey. That means if a mating takes place on a Sunday, Sunday’s egg cannot be fertile. Monday’s egg might be but don’t count on it. Tuesday’s egg should be fertile. Note that this is after a mating. A rooster doesn’t mate with every hen in the flock every day.
After a mating the hen stands up, fluffs up, and shakes. This fluffy shake moves the rooster’s sperm to a special container where it is stored. That sperm can stay viable for quite a while. You are pretty safe figuring the hen will lay fertile eggs for two weeks after a mating. But that sperm is often viable for three weeks and can occasionally last over three weeks. To really be safe that he rooster you want is the father, you need to isolate the hens from any other rooster for at least three weeks with four weeks being even safer.
You have different ways you could manage them. You can keep all the roosters in a bachelor pad except when they are in the breeding pens. As long as there are no hens to fight over they are normally pretty peaceful. You could let the entire flock free range together when you are not breeding if you have enough room. It is possible no matter what you do that they will fight, but what often happens is that the roosters determine a dominance order, then separate the flock into separate harems. Each rooster then claims a certain territory so they can stay separated and avoid conflict. For seven separate flocks this would require a lot of room. Your best bet may be separate winterized quarters to separate the hens and roosters, then build good weather breeding pens. Building seven separate winterized coops in those runs could get expensive.