1. JValera

    JValera Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2016
    Hi Guys and Hi Ladies

    I think to breed

    Plymout Barred Rock , Bluff Orlington , Black Australop , Aracauna Ameraucana , and Laced Wyandotte

    How many chickens can I put on this size ?

    48 feet large x 16 feet wide = 640 Sq. feet
     
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    150-160 max. plus roosting space and nests (if you have them in the coop). If you plan on breeding purebreds they can't be all in the same coop, though.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jorge:

    You have never told us what you are up to, and with numerous posts, perhaps you don't want to share too many details? That's OK. We are just trying to help.

    Anyway, from what I recall, you are wanting to house as many as 250 birds and are considering egg laying breeds. This is a low end, commercial sized flock capable of producing as many as 15 to 20 dozen eggs per day. This suggests a desire or need for a lot of eggs, and I also seem to recall you are living somewhere in Florida. Judging from the sizes of buildings you have inquired about, you have some means (money) to work with. So here is what I would suggest:

    Size of building: This will depend a bit on the birds you select. With 250 birds and a need for eggs, I would stick with a single breed of prolific layers, and this suggests leghorns for white eggs and one of the hybrid sex links (like golden comets, etc) if you want brown eggs. For ease of management purposes, don't mix breeds. Keep them all the same. These will give you the highest level of production from the fewest number of birds. Plan on them being an all in / all out flock, so two years production and after that, they are spent and somebody gets to eat them. So size of building is then around 3 SF per bird for leghorns and maybe 4 SF per bird for the sex links. So a house that is about 24' x 30' might work for leghorns. Maybe 30' x 36' for the sex links. That is the coop area alone. The closer to square you make this, the more SF of floor area you will get for the linear feet of walls you construct. A factor in cost per SF.

    You or somebody like you will also need a place to house the same number of replacement pullets for the 4 to 5 months it takes to raise them from day old chicks to producing pullets. This is a summertime project and unless you split up your main flock of 250 birds (which might be a good idea), this is an every other year project, so you may be able to get away with a light coop. Mostly covered run.

    You will also need an additional building for storing feed, litter and other items. This could be nothing more than a cheap garden shed.

    Construction features: In Florida, I'd make this building wide open. Perhaps as wide open as half of the total wall area being nothing more than screened in openings. This is for ventilation. Orient the wide side to the prevailing winds, except you will also want at least one of the open sides to get a lot of sun in winter months. Solid walls for the back and half the sides where the nests and roost bars go. This will be the darkest place in the coop.

    In your climate and for this many birds, make the floor of whatever you build concrete, elevated enough it is higher than any adjacent land so no chance that rain water or other will ever get deep enough to flood it. Concrete will keep out digging predators, rats, maybe fire ants and other insects and will be the most durable and easiest to keep clean. A layer of 2 to 4 inches of some type of litter, with almost daily need to clean out beneath the roost bars. Commercial houses need to be cleaned out daily and that many birds will generate an enormous amount of manure. With that many birds, manure disposal will become one of your most serious management issues. With luck, you may be able to compost it and sell it or at least give it away.

    Frame the entire thing out of pressure treated lumber marked as MCA. It need not be ground contact rated. Light colored nsulated metal roof and sides (to keep heat out).

    Include an entry foyer or double door system. Go through one door, then another, to keep birds confined within. Make the door big enough you can get a wheel barrow through it. Better still, make them double doors large enough to get a skid loader in there when it's time for a total cleanout.

    Roosts and nests: 250 birds will need about 200 linear feet of roost bars. They can be across the back wall. 12" from the back wall and 12" between each of them. Make them from 2" x 2" lumber, rounded over on top (this is actually 1.5" square). Make them ALL the same height (don't stagger them ladder style) and about 30" or so off the floor is OK. They can be higher for leghorns. About the same height or higher than the landing bar for the highest nest box would be right.

    You will need at least 50 nest boxes, Mount them on the side walls in banks that could be 3 high. So two banks each of 3 high x 8 wide. That would get your 48 nest boxes, which might do it. They can be 12" square and if you use those metal nest boxes you showed, that would be good so you can clean them up. Expect to see nest and leg mites and other parasites in a flock of this size. Nest box tops need to be sloped to keep birds off them and so they won't roost on them. Lowest nest boxes need to be at least 18 inches or so off the floor so birds cannot see in them while standing on the floor, else they may start eating your eggs.

    Option B is to consider community nest boxes like they use in some cage free operations.

    Feed and Water: For that many birds, I'd pipe this to a water system. Use PVC pipes with either cup or nipple water systems. They will need full access to water at all times. Screw that up just once and you may loose the whole flock, either to death or a molt you didn't want.

    Commercial feed, either in bulk or bags. A flock of 250 laying hens will be eating about 50# +/- feed per day. So aside from everything else, that much feed divided by your egg production per day is the start of your cost per dozen to run this operation. If that were me, I'd have to go to my local feed mill and buy my feed by the ton. Mine will sell me batches in runs of 500# minimums, so I could do that every 10 days. That is about 2/3 of the cost of name brand feeds like Nutrena or Purina.

    Just off the top of my head, that is where I would start with this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  4. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    A good starting place is to divide your total usable floor space (the area the chickens can easily get into) by 4. This is assuming your chickens are free to roam, either free range or at least an ample pen, and are not 'cooped up' all the time. Of course you can always give them more space if you're generous, the chickens certainly won't mind.

    My 11 chickens share a 6' x 8' (48Ft2) coop and have a 400 Ft2 pen to roam around in. I would love to let them free range, but I'm afraid my dogs would 'love' it even more.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  6. JValera

    JValera Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2016
    Hi Thank you

    Somebody told me that I can put max. 70 chickens because is 10 Sq. feet for chickens

    --Jorge
     
  7. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    Are they going to have a run, or only be let in the coop?
     
  8. JValera

    JValera Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2016
    Only on the coop

    thank you
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The number of birds you have affects how much space they need. In a small coop for only a few birds just providing room to feed and water without them pooping in them from the roosts requires more room per bird than the larger commercial operations. But there is another consideration. I’ll use whole numbers that make the math easy so don’t get too hung up in what the true numbers are. I know most chicken don’t take up exactly 1 square feet per bird but I’m trying to make a point.

    Let’s say you have 6 birds and provide 4 square feet per bird. Assume each chicken takes up 1 square feet. That means you have 24 square feet total and the chickens physically occupy 6 square feet. That leaves 24 – 6 = 18 square feet for feeders, waterers, maybe nests, and for them to explore.

    Now let’s say you have 250 chickens. At 4 square feet per bird that’s 1,000 square feet. The chickens physically take up 250 feet so you have an excess of 1,000 – 250 = 750 square feet. Quite a bit of difference. A lot of people that have a small handful of chickens see how crowded they are in tiny coops and runs based on square feet per bird. They are horrified to think that large commercial flocks are crowded into that tiny space. In reality, because of the large number of chickens involved, they are not nearly as crowded as they think.

    I don’t know where you got that 10 square feet per chicken number. I don’t know if it is meant only for the coop or for a combined coop and run. Different flocks have different flock make-ups, sex or age. For some flocks that 10 square feet number might be pretty good, depending on goals, number of birds, flock make-up, and other factors. For some flocks and management techniques it might be too small. For some it could be overkill, way more than necessary.

    Howard is correct, the more information you can give us the more specific we can be in answering questions. I also understand concern for privacy, I don’t write much about my family on this and other public forums and I certainly don’t Facebook. I consider Howard one of the best resources on this forum for flocks your size, but there is some confusion. He seems to think you are looking at flocks of hens to provide eggs for eating. I think there is a possibility you are wanting hatching eggs, which means roosters. That changes things. You cannot house them all together, you have to isolate them by breed. The individual flocks are smaller. It’s difficult to give detailed precise information when you don’t have basic information.
     
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, it never occurred to me Jorge was thinking of breeding flocks. Only laying eggs for hens. If breeding flocks, that changes a whole lot of things. More like changes everything. Have given this some thought and even if it is laying hens it might be a good idea to partition this building down the middle into two divided flocks. One for yearling pullets and another for older birds. That would allow the grower to keep a constant flow of age group birds going through the house to cycle them in and out with the least amount of interruptions in production. At somewhere around 32 months of age, around the time of their 2nd molt, your hens will be spent and done, so you move them out and replace them with 5 to 6 month old pullets that are just getting started.

    Also, for comparison sake, a lot of what we see as capacity of housing for birds is based on the current cage free standard of about 1.5 sf per bird. That is about the size of two sheets of copy paper. Google "cage free chickens", and then "images" and you can get an idea of how dense this is. Commercial growers of eggs sold in stores as "cage free" and even "free range" are likely to be raised inside buildings packed to the gills with birds. Not what you would think, but that's the way it is. Even "free range" birds are not free range as we think of it. That simply means they have access to the outside for so many hours per day, but may not actually go outside. Think access to a "prison yard" and you get the idea.

    An area of 3 sf per bird with smaller birds like leghorns was the commercial standard many years ago, as was 4 sf per bird for larger breeds. That is for production birds kept inside 24/7. Not a pampered pet, cutesy backyards chicken scenario, but far better deal for the birds than what the "cage free" commercial flocks get. Keep in mind, anyone raising a commercial flock is competing with the 1.5 sf/ bird bunch referenced above. That is their cost per bird for housing, plus they are buying feed at a substantial discount, plus labor cost per bird is nominal. They represent formidable competition to small scale commercial flocks.
     

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