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Help designing my next coop and run(s)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have lots of land and live in the middle of nowhere in the backwoods of southern IL. I want to marry two of my many hobbies together. Raising chickens, turkeys and vegtable gardening.

I would like to build a coop that would sit in-between 2 50x100 foot fenced in runs that I can alternate every year for a garden. So for example last year's run would be this year's garden and the next year switch back. We all know that chick poop is like the best fertilizer there is - why not take advantage of that in a nice orderly Organic way - makes perfect sense to me anyways.

I would also like the coop to have two doors, one that leads to each of the two gardens so I can keep the door closed while I'm growing veggies in one of the gardens. And the other door open for a chicken yard that they can poop and dig and scratch around in all the want. The following year it would be tilled in and vegetables planted in there.

I would like the coop roof to have the ability to capture natural rain water not only to water the chickens but also be able to irrigate the garden. So I'm thinking I'll need a very large water storage system - perhaps a small pond is the right solution here for water storage.

I would also like to use the deep bedding / barn lime method for the coop floor and when it comes time to change out the bedding have it be easy to place into a motorized turning drum style composter. Maybe some type of motorized conveyor or motorized rolling floor? I'm not sure of how this would work at the moment. but the idea is to get large volumes of spent bedding into a large drum as easily as possible to compost.

As far as feed I would like to design a large drop style feeder that will hold at least 500 lbs of feed.

The coop interior I would like as maintenance free as possible and egg collecting from the outside without having to go into any of the two chicken yards so no more muck boots for collecting eggs.

I would also like the ability to easily configure the inside of the coop to accommodate a brooding room when needed and keep a few different turkey and chicken breeds of various sizes separate but under the same roof.

If you have seen any plans like this or has some of the features I mentioned please chime in. Also if you have other ideas that I have not thought of please also chime in.

I'm a man of many hats so I'm pretty confident I could build whatever it is I decide upon. So don't hold back on any ideas.

I thought about a maximum of 75 birds but with chicken math I may as well build it for 300 birds.

Thanks
Edited by crealbilly - 5/25/16 at 11:34pm
post #2 of 4

Did a double take when I got to the part of "I want to marry two......"........I've lived in places like that......and I worry when anyone in those neighborhoods wants to marry two of anything. Relieved to see it was birds and garden!

 

As to your house and gardens, what you describe is the traditional setup from 100 years ago. That many birds is a bit larger than most.......even back then.......but not entirely out of the ordinary.

 

As for the house, all the parameters remain the same.....same SF per bird for things like space, linear roost space, nest boxes, etc. You simply scale it up. For 75 or so.........one house. If as many as 300.......you may be looking at one really large house..........or break them up into several smaller ones and move them around.

 

The issue with that many birds and only one house would be pasturing them. I live in MO, similar climate as you. In areas like ours, the number I've seen for stocking capacity to keep birds from overwhelming the pastured areas is about 50 birds per acre........or about 875 SF per bird. Much more than that and they will eventually take it down to bare dirt......or mud. So your 50 x 100 areas would quickly be consumed and reduced to bare dirt.

 

By splitting up your birds into smaller groups.....and using electric fencing to contain them within, and protect them from all manner of varmints on the outside, you could try it. You could free range them, but should expect losses from predators. Corn fields, sunflowers etc have been used......orchards and vineyards work well as places for them to graze.........

 

Going up to 300 birds is no longer hobby stuff. That is getting into the range of serious production.....as in a full time job......that will require your attention 24/7, not to mention a serious financial commitment and risk.

 

Commercial houses remove the manure using conveyor systems under cages. Those are expensive and would require cages to confine the birds over them. Most likely you would still be using litter.........probably best over a concrete floor, so might be able to use a skid loader or small tractor with bucket loader, provided you included a door large enough to get one inside.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard E View Post

Did a double take when I got to the part of "I want to marry two......"........I've lived in places like that......and I worry when anyone in those neighborhoods wants to marry two of anything. Relieved to see it was birds and garden!

I am most definitely not weird like that my friend.
post #4 of 4

Never doubted you for a moment. Actually that was my lame attempt at humor.....which is always risky......as with any public forum, we really don't know the others all that well, so it's possible to be misunderstood and people take exception to comments others make. Gotta watch that humor.

 

Anyway, seems you never really got much help with your question. If you want to spend some time, here is a resource from way back when that might be of use:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Poultry-houses-fixtures-poultry-plants-ebook/dp/B00M74XFXQ

 

The book outlines a number of different poultry houses, farm layouts and pasture systems used about 100 years ago. The first few pages describes a farm layout for a one man operation of 500 or so birds. There are several pages of plans for chicken houses of all sizes, shapes and uses. Use these general layout ideas and slap on some modern features like electric fences and make allowances for skid loaders or front end loaders on a tractor for cleanouts. The portable buildings they describe.......essentially old school, sturdy built......chicken tractors......are still a good idea if you want to rotate your flocks around to new ground.

 

One thing I find interesting is that even though it was possible back then.....they had the wood and wire.......the notion of a small house attached to a large, fully enclosed run is never mentioned. That seems to be a modern era concept. A small, entry level house back then was 5' x 7' or 6' x 8' and likely as not, those were the coops found in the backyard of city lots. You won't find plans for anything much smaller than that. And most houses had a pop door opening into a fenced in run / pasture area of pretty good size....a chicken yard.........or they were allowed to free range round the farmstead.

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