Advice needed on using Hoop Coops

MacPoultry

In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 13, 2009
30
0
22
middle TN
Hello there

I have been an avid reader of BYC for several months. I have learned so much from all of you that I have rarely needed to ask questions. Usually by searching I can get my answers, but now I need a little guidance.

I got my first chickens early last summer. I started with Cornish X in a hoop coop, then got layer pullets when I finished my permanent structure for them. I raised 2 groups of the broilers in the hoop coop and loved it. I built it a little on the heavy side as I used scrap material that was on hand, but am able to move it with the 4-wheeler.

My hens are now laying well, and free range. The fenced in area around their house is mainly to keep other critters (sheep, dogs) away. They can easily fly over one end and come and go as they please.

We have been selling the excess eggs, and one client wants us to boost production. He is part of a large Korean community and will buy all that we can provide. So we are looking at options of adding more laying hens. Building more permanent structures like the original 24 are in is not cost effective, so we have been thinking about using the hoop coops.

I like the flexibility of using hoop coops. I want to rotate my chickens with, or behind my sheep, and would like them to free range. My fences are all electric, and I use Pyrenees dogs that get along with the chickens.

So my questions, concerns are: Will the dogs and hot wire be enough protection? And the big concern is winter use. I see where some of you have done well in winters that are more severe than what we have, but it looks like you are using it as a more permanent structure and not moving. One of my batches of broilers was done in fall and processing was done the end of November. While we only had the occasional freeze then, the ground was continuously wet and I did loose a few with respiratory problems. I realized too late that my tarps did not go down far enough along the bottom of the coops. Would better coverage eliminate the dampness? Would I need to keep it in a permanent position through the colder weather to keep them from being on cold ground?

Any advice and all comments would be appreciated! ~ Paula
 

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