Chicken Beginner... what size barn/coop would you start out with?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by huckleberryfarm, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. huckleberryfarm

    huckleberryfarm Chickenista

    Jan 7, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    Hi, We just bought 100+ acres and are starting our farm. First up... chickens.

    I have been researching and researching coops. I don't want to build one since neither my husband nor I are a) very handy or b) have the time (I do...he doesn't). We want to buy something already made and customize as needed. Our first chicks will be here soon. We are getting 14-16 chicks (silkies, showgirls, smaller breeds). Since we've never had chickens, it's hard to say if we will want more or less but I'm trying to plan ahead (plus this site has scared me into thinking I will probably get more!). Plus I just got this beautiful book of all different type chickens and the kids and I definitely want to get some more! They are so pretty. I never knew chickens were so varied!

    We have a great Amish builder herein town who has reasonable prices. We are considering having him build us a barn and customizing it with nest boxes, chicken doors, roosts, etc., and leaving out the stalls. Just a low profile building. They aren't fancy, but they are solid and look nice.

    What size would you get? I don't want it too small but I don't want to go crazy ... even if my husband would let me. Would a 10 x 16 be a good, reasonable size? Bigger or smaller? We have lots of space. I was also considering getting two smaller barns and connecting them with a run of some kind with fenced grazing areas off each one. Two 10 x 10 barns is not much more than the 10 x 16. I read somewhere that it is nice to be able to separate chickens sometimes.

    Any thoughts? Advice? Thanks!

  2. babymakes6

    babymakes6 Gifted

    Feb 24, 2009
    far west Ohio
    First- [​IMG]
    Second, make it TWICE as big as you think you may need, that way you won't have to expand for at least a year........... [​IMG]
  3. 2txmedics

    2txmedics Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    Manvel Texas
    I hear ADDICTION, BEFORE THEY ARE HERE!!!! [​IMG] our community....I have a run thats a nice size and I added a 10x10 dog can see it in my link below...I have a flock of 10 in that one, use to have rid of some extra roos...they have plently of room...the coop is made from old left over privacy fence after Hurricane Ike hit us, we went around town picking panel pieces up, thus making easier to make our coop....we put in side doors to collect eggs also and ventilation all across the front of the coop, behind that are the roost out of branches around the yard...they love it...its about 6' deep, 10' across, and Im 4'11" and can stand in the smalled end which is the back end as it slants...and goes higher...I have alot of room that Im planning on spliting it.

    Putting a divider wall down the middle of the inside of the coop to split it so that the new flocks ...I built to small mini runs in back of this main flock coop can have access inside of this org. coop from behind, but with a divided they are all seperated.

    this is the inside of the main coop before it was done:
    side door on each side
    filled with deep litter
    before nest boxs in
    tree limbs, roost
    love it
    roost behind this open ventilation spot
    and then the back coops we started to built where I want to open the back of the main coop with a divider wall:
  4. spangledcornish

    spangledcornish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 4, 2009
    Southwest, WI
    Hey there and welcome to the chicken addiction. I will agree you will never build a chicken coop that is too big it will always be too small. Whith that being said I do like our16x8 chicken house, my brother's is 32X8. If you are looking at making more than one pen in the cook I like the idea of a longer building. Here is a picture of our chicken house. [​IMG]

    It has four pens in which the dividers are movable so we can make anywhere from 1-4 pens. We also have a walk way alon the back as a place to move and store feed etc.

    two seperate sed works well if you have differnt age birds where one could be a brooder and young birds and one for the adult birds
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:If you have just bought a farm and are thinking of adding other animals later, you really really wanna develop those handy skills. So since you have time, I would *strongly* encourage you TO build the coop yourself. It is a PERFECT "first project", I mean it's just a chicken coop <g>, you can and *will* do a perfectly fine job with it and will be in a much better position to tackle all the other things that will come along to do in the future.

    If you want detailed plans, your best bet is a book on building sheds (like backyard, garden storage type sheds). There are a lot of books like that out there, many of which will walk you through it *very* step-by-step.

    I would suggest aiming for something in the 8x10' size range. This will be ample to house the chicks you have ordered, and although it is possible you may ultimately want more chickens and a larger coop, it is easier to learn to build a modest size structure like that than something with longer walls or a wider span; also, an 8x10ish shed will ALWAYS be useful, I promise, so even if it graduates to being something else in future it will still be useful and by then you will have a much clearer idea of what you actually want in the way of a larger coop.

    As a (distant) second choice, I'd suggest buying a plain ol' storage shed and customizing it yourself for the chickens, which will not give you *much* useful experience (and will cost more!!) but will at least provide SOME educational value [​IMG]

    (Normally I would say 'build it as big as you can afford, you won't regret it', but in this case I think you would really find it USEFUL to tackle it yourself, so I'm not saying that [​IMG])

    Good luck, have fun, welcome to BYC,


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