The first attempt at building a chicken coup resulted in a coup that was hard to clean, difficult to retrieve eggs and not suitable for more then 4 birds.
My wife read me one line from a raising chickens book that made me re-think the whole endeavour. "Make your coup easy to clean and you will be more likely to do so". Being the visionary I am, thats all I needed.
The coup on the right was first using mostly scrap lumber. I had a whole lot of the blue metal cladding left over from the barn project years before. The lumber yard delivered some damaged stuff and I asked them not to use it in my barn. which they did not. They delivered more and left the old stuff there in my yard. So that worked out well for this project. After completing the first coup I decided to build a second which is a mirror image of the first. I have power in the first one but not the second. I stretch a extension cord for now but do intend to power up the second coup too. The second coupe was about four hundred bucks in materials.
We consider the "DUELIN COUPE DEVILLES" meat and eggs if you will. The book was right and it is much easier to clean. I even installed some crash rack linoleum to make cleaning with a hose and squeegee a snap. Also it is nice for bleaching out the coup inbetween flocks of birds.
The coups measure 8' x 12' with 8' x 4' poop pit at one end. Leaving me with 64 square feet of floor space. The perches are above the poop pit for easy cleaning. Plus I dust the pit with lime and it really helps with the odor.
So far we have done one run of 25 x rocks and what a treat they are on the smoker. I built a processing station in my leanto of my barn. I picked up a stainless steel table off ebay for small change and have the freezer full of birds now. My first round of cleaning the birds took me about 25 minitues per bird from axe to freezer bag. I hope to get better with more experience. Of coarse I had to get primed up a little first. Six pack! I had only cleaned fish prior to this. A 55 gallon drum filled about 2/3rds worked for the boiling water dip.
Were thinking of getting the kids into 4H for some good wholesome activities. Thats if they want to. So far they have gotten quite a kick out of the birds. I try to keep them more involved with the laying hens and not the meat birds for obvious reasons. Don't name something yer gonna eat is the rule. All and all its been a positive experience.
Some of the birds were lost to predators early on so I built the run with an old dog cage and chicken wire. Its 48' x 10' witha roof I built of 1" x 1" thats 3' wide and 10' long sections. I covered them in chicken wire and can remove them individually. they also have two extended yards for daytime free range. This fall I will replentish the yards with winter wheat. The pictures are backwards obviously in time but you get the idea Im sure. We intend to start incubating our own eggs next year for self suffiecency of our operation. Now I just need that guy who helped me build the coupes (smaller of the two workers pictured) help in the cleaning chores!
Why "SHADOWCHICKENS" you may ask? Well its a long story but for now lets just say ROCK ON SHADOWCHICKENS !!!