Are chickens smart enough for my coop idea?

hometowngal

Hatching
5 Years
Sep 12, 2014
7
0
9
Plymouth, ma
I had chickens years ago, but not long enough to observe their level of intelligence. I am in the process now of gathering materials to build a coop in the spring and give it another shot and I had an idea for a design but wondering if chickens will be smart enough to thrive and be healthy if I implement the idea that's (right now) only in my head.

What I was thinking is this: I will build a chicken run that will be short in height but long. The run will lead to a bigger enclosure. However, resting on top of the run will be several accessible chicken houses, each equipped with a few nesting boxes, a window, a door, a perch, etc. in the middle of the run, I'd like to build a larger "food hut". I'll equip this eating area with a (temperature controlled) watering system and chicken feed. But my question is... Will the chickens know where to gather for eating and drinking vs, where they can retreat for sleep/egg laying?

My thinking behind this design is to be able to still design several little houses while not having to rig each with its own water heater and feeder

Thanks for any opinions!
 

attimus

Songster
5 Years
Dec 14, 2014
2,547
779
211
Bootjack California, just west of yosemite
How many chickens will you have? In theory this is a great idea but chickens certainly have a mind of their own. They'll all know to eat and drink where that stuff is but may wish to all sleep together or not use the huts at all, I'm very interested in this project and would love to see the continued process.
Attimus
 
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Justso

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 30, 2015
1,340
2,226
382
Chicagoland DuPage Co
My Coop
My Coop
Having a hard time picturing. Can you post a sketch? My theory is whatever you build they will all try to pile on to the same spot. If you have 100 nesting spots there will only be 1 worthy of laying in!
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hometowngal

Hatching
5 Years
Sep 12, 2014
7
0
9
Plymouth, ma
I'm having a hard time figuring out how to add a picture to this response. Anyways, I want to build something similar to the rabbit hutch/run that I made last spring.... Except for my chicken coop idea, the houses would rest on top rather than being built around it.
400
 

JackE

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
301
North Eastern Md.
First problem I see is the low run. How high will the run be? How wide? Understand, you may have to crawl into that low run at some point, to retrieve a sick bird, or for something else. That would be a crappy job. Second problem, although they would find the feed and water, come night/roosting time, they may decide to cram into just one of the multiple coops you provide. Chickens like to hang out with each other, they probably would not just say goodnight to each other and equally divide themselves among the coops. No need to reinvent the wheel here, just give them ONE big nice coop. And a tall run, if you have to have one.
 

AuntNomi

Songster
5 Years
Aug 13, 2015
547
42
146
Callahan, Florida!
It sounds nice, and I like the picture of your rabbit enclosure it is very nice. But I have to agree that I believe they would all end up together if they can, instead of using multiple coops. Mine lie to huddle up with each other.
 

CGilbert

Songster
Aug 2, 2015
1,085
140
206
Spokane, WA
I think they would get the idea. But I also think they'll probably prefer to hang out together, and cramming into one house at night.
 

shortgrass

Crowing
Mar 14, 2015
3,234
665
271
Northern Colorado
Well I kinda have that, minus the enclosed run ;)

I have 40 or so birds of varying ages; my oldest layers are in the original large coop, about 17 if them roost in there, give or take 4 that prefer to roost in the trees...

I have young breeders in a camper that was remodeled into a coop, and a couple of broodies with chicks, 21 birds in there...

And a little camper topper type hutch for silkies, and there are 3 in there...

Food gets split into two areas, because I don't like my layers picking on my littles, so they get feed and water on one side of the yard, and the youngsters get feed and water at the opposite side of the yard.

The whole thing spans about a half an acre, so they do have a lot if space to cohabitate, but they split off by age groups and breeds to roost at night, except the Anconas, Buttercups, and Red Star switch off every once in a while, depending on the weather and if they made it back to the big coop by dark ;)
 
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