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Building a dual-purpose coop? (meat & egg)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FossilRokRanch, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. FossilRokRanch

    FossilRokRanch Out Of The Brooder

    Hello all,

    This is our second-ever post.

    We are building our first coop, and we plan or raising both meat and egg-layers in a dual-purpose coop. The coop will be 8' x 12' (insulated and heated), with approximately 40 sq.ft. being dedicated to 20 or so meat breed chickens (Rock/Cornish X's). Its our understanding that these crosses don't need roosts, and that a yard, if any, should be small. Most importantly, from what we've read, these fat, lazy, walking chicken breasts can fall victim to cannabilism if kept with layers.

    Has anyone built a coop that was partitioned to house meat breeds one one side and egg-layers on the other?

    We've also noticed that there is an abundance of info on what needs to be in a hen's layer coop, but scant info on meat coops and what is best to maximize production. Do we just leave it a room with a floor, or should we build in different levels so they can find a quite place to lay down by themselves? If we make ramps and different levels, does that in effect increase the sq.ft. overall and allow for more chickens in the same footprint?

    Lastly, the actual yard. We've read that ranging means the chickens take longer, but use less feed. We plan on using all feed from chick to freezer, so is a yard really necessary? Should we build in a small one, separate from the layers, with say 1-2 feet per bird? Again, is it really necessary since it would mostly be to rid us of the guilt for inprisoning them in a box until the go in our bellies (this guilt will soon pass with our first bites). We want to do what will make the most sense to quickly raise them to fryers, and keeping maybe 1-2 to become broilers, then start it over again!

    Any input/advice is kindly welcomed.

    Sincerely,
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  2. mmtillman

    mmtillman Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]:yiipchick
     
  3. sugarbush

    sugarbush Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2008
    Lexington KY
    How are you going to heat the coop? I don't think heat is a good idea and it increases the risk of fire, depending on the source. Over time chicken coops get dusty and dust is highly flammable.

    I would build your coop as one room and build in a brooder, then when your broilers reach about two weeks of age move them out into a chicken tractor, they will get plenty of fresh air, grass and it makes cleanup a lot easier. You will get very tired of shoveling out the main coop if you keep broilers in there.
     
  4. greenthumb89

    greenthumb89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    pulaski wisconsin
    you dont really need a yard for the broilers, they really wont use it unless you have the food outside...all they do is eat poo and grow. emphasis on the poo. if you make them walk to their food and then walk back to the shelter it will make them slightly less prone to breaking their legs because they'll have to use them and they will grow stronger but that is up to you
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I'd be very worried that as they get larger they would *fall off* a ramp or platform and fatally injure themselves plus whomever they fell on. Seriously, they are not Baryshnikovs. I'd leave it all floor level.

    We plan on using all feed from chick to freezer, so is a yard really necessary?

    It's not necessary. Personally I think it's nice. Mine seemed to enjoy it (4x14' run for 10 cornishX) and they would run and flap and hop and bump chests and even fly a little when they were still small. I assume it cut into feed conversion efficiency a little but none of mine had health problems and they grew muscles in places where no storeboughten chicken EVER has muscles [​IMG] so it is not without its compensations. Personal choice, though.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  6. first time farmer

    first time farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 31, 2008
    New Hampshire
    My meet birds are going to be in a run with a roof on it. No inside it will be kind of like a hoop coop but square and made of 2x4s
     
  7. quercus21

    quercus21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 21, 2008
    Tivoli, NY
    We raised our meat birds last summer in a PVC pipe tractor (you can see the pictures in our website link). They poop A LOT and I can't imagine the mess and smell inside a coop. The tractor worked out great for us. They huddle together to sleep and ran around a bit when they were little, but they are a lot different than regular chickens. They are very focused on eating.

    We have 10 chickens for eggs in a 4x8 coop. The coop and run are tall enough to walk into. We are just across the river from the Catskills and probably a little warmer in the winter at a lower elevation and we insulated the coop really well, but we didn't heat it and the chickens did fine. They were outside every day once they got used to the snow. The rooster got a little frost bite on his comb, but just the tiniest bit on the tips and he looks fine now. We got eggs all winter even without a light or heat. We have New Hampshire Reds which my husband picked because they are winter hardy among other things.

    Glenda
     
  8. FossilRokRanch

    FossilRokRanch Out Of The Brooder

    This is great!

    So, what we're understanding is...

    One, these birds aren't acrobats, and play best on the floor and not a jungle gym. [​IMG]

    So Ixnay on the amps-ray.

    For number two (no pun intended), they poop a tremendous amount and will require a significant amount of cleaning if housed soley inside . While our oldest son will be most effected by this, it therefore doesn't effect us as much. [​IMG] But a small yard would move some of that smell outside (we plan on applying the deep-litter method), and if we cast scratch or feed outside as well, the waddling of there fat butts now and then could do them some good, even if we don't max out conversion like we were Perdue. Happy, healthy chickens means happy, healthy eaters of said chicken.

    I would build your coop as one room and build in a brooder, then when your broilers reach about two weeks of age move them out into a chicken tractor, they will get plenty of fresh air, grass and it makes cleanup a lot easier. You will get very tired of shoveling out the main coop if you keep broilers in there.

    we like the brooder in the coop idea, but we'd be feeding the meat chicks differently from the layers, and would need to be separated somehow.

    As for the tractor idea, it definately would be the hot ticket for fryers/broilers, and that was what we originally had planned on doing, but the predator problem here is extreme. Just on our property in the last 3 years we've seen bear, bobcat, red fox, coyote, mink, fisher, pine marten, porcs and coons on occasion, not to mention hawk, falcon and eagle) The coop will have the fence beneath the flooring and wall sheating. The yard fence will be buried 12"+ and bent 12" outward, anf the top fully covered with 2x4 opening fence, and the entire perimeter will have predator electric fence as an added measure.

    The tractor will just not give us the security we need. Gawd forbid we come home late from somewhere, and didn't close the door in a coop tractor, a varmint will be under the fence bottom in seconds flat. For us, it's not really an option.

    Thanks for the ideas and info. Keep it coming![​IMG]
     

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