Commercial Coop Capacities

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Howard E, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I'm at my local farm and home picking up some stuff and notice a brochure laying on the counter. One that outlines poultry and rabbit products.

    The first 3 pages features pictures of coops they sell, and on page 1 I spot this bit of information:

    [​IMG]

    So according to whoever wrote this, chickens only need 1.5 SF of interior space for their coop? The run offers 4 SF, so this little coop with it's 7.97 SF of roosting area is good for 6 full sized adult chickens? If so, this explains a lot......they are using the covered run for the generally accepted amount of required space. The inside is only for roosting, laying eggs and such. Would be curious where they came up with this as far as space needs, etc. Curious if this is based on any type of documented research or what standard they used to determine it?
     
  2. orpington13

    orpington13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They kind of go off what Egg producers do to their poor chickens. They basically lock them in a little cage for life. The cage is about a foot and a half SF.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The true commercial layers in battery cages are much worse than that. Only 1/2 SF or so per bird. I did some looking around and it appears a density of about 1.5 SF per bird is what passes for cage free***. Some are packed even tighter than that. Remarkably, free range birds*** only require 2 SF per bird if they are allowed access to an outside pen for so many hours per day. Ouch.

    So maybe the folks that build and rate these small dinky coops have borrowed the "cage free" standard?

    There appears to be yet another standard of "pasture raised"***. I think that one calls for 1,000 birds per 2.5 acres, or 108 SF pasture area per bird, and you also have to rotate your pastures, which you would have to do anyway, as that many birds would wipe it clean.

    Edit: *** These are all "standards" developed by animal welfare groups and used by commercial egg producers to list on egg cartons to give consumers choices about the growing conditions of the birds that produced the eggs.

    Yet another rule of thumb is that an acre of suitable pasture will likely support no more than 50 birds, as far as being able to keep up with the birds to prevent them from stripping it bare. More birds than that and they will eventually win. Less, and the pasture will stay ahead of them. Not a standard as such, more like a rule of thumb or guideline.

    Good info to know if you have a lawn area and wonder how many birds you can handle without them stripping it bare. Roughly 875 SF per bird.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  4. mixedflocker

    mixedflocker Out Of The Brooder

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    This is interesting information I hadn't heard before. Thank you for sharing it.
     
  5. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yup. I thought those coops looked like just the ticket. Then I saw a picture of a child standing next to one. They are really dinky. I think building your own would be a better idea.
     
  6. Donna R Raybon

    Donna R Raybon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All the coops like you are describing that feedstores sells I have seen would not stop a determined house at, much less racoon I or neighbors dog. Go cruise the Purina site and see their coop set up. Certainly if you live in snowbound winter climate you have to have more interior room for birds or you risk too wet bedding and feather picking. We seldom get snow on ground for more than a few days at a time so my adult birds free range year. Because of hawk migrations in late fall I do keep really young birds in moveable tractor. George, our LGD really does a good job keeping hawks, eagles, buzzards, and fire breathing hot air balloons from taking birds. Having electric poultry netting totally surrounding coop with charger that is HOT will sure help keep all safe.
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that most of us.......at least those with any experience at all, can look at the coops they sell and walk away bewildered at how small they are vs. what they claim the capacity is, and at how flimsy and lightly built they seem to be.......especially in light of how much they cost..........but also wonder why it is THEY .......the people who make them, not to mention the feed stores that sell them........why don't they know? Do they know and not care? Or simply not know.

    But at least now WE know the basis of their capacity claims, and in my opinion, these are faulty. The 4 SF per bird number goes back at least 100 years that I'm aware of, but that is for INSIDE protected space, not an open sided run. The inside protected space is needed for other than overnight roost space. It will be needed in winter when it's below freezing outside, and the north winds are howling and the birds don't want to go out. To suggest they only need 1.5 SF per bird inside space is in my opinion, wrong. They don't do their customers.......and especially the birds they sell to their customers...... any favors by offering these contraptions.
     
  8. BeachMomma

    BeachMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That particular coop doesn't hold 3 full grown birds. The pitch of the roof is so low that it invites roof leaks. I could go in and on. Way back when we were new to chickens and before I found this site, we purchased one of those. After it was assembled I immediately did modifications. I had to buy spring loaded latches for all the doors, installed hardcloth underneath the entire thing and added roost bar outside to give them more 'space.' Even built an additional run for it so they wouldn't get stressed while we built a new huge coop/run setup.
    After they were in the new coop, I revamped that horrible money waste coop again with scrap wood leftover from the new one. It's totally reinforced and redone properly. We have it bumped against the big run now because it's perfect for our 3 mo old chicks to do the see don't touch integration.(again,it was heavily modified and fixed before chicks went in it) After the integration we'll move it away to be used as the hospital coop.

    Because of all that I've learned and $$ spent to fix that horrible thing, I'm always telling ppl in the stores looking at that thing it's not worth it. And if they still want to buy it I tell them it fits 2 birds not 6, etc.

    Sorry for the long story time post but when I saw that pic I had to add the experience we went through in the past.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  9. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    The very BEST ADVICE i can give you is to BUILD YOUR OWN COOP! When i was new to chickens i fell for the advertisement of a pre made coop. I spent a lot of money and when it arrived i actually cried! It looked like a toy version of what i thought i was buying. It was so flimsy and poorly constructed. It was obvious it would not withstand the weather . It also would not hold half of the birds it claimed! It would be a nightmare to clean and was a open invitation for preditors to come. The run was pathetic. Id have to crawl on my belly to get inside. So disappointed. For the same cost( 500 dollars)my husband built a beautiful coop and run for the girls. It's not painted yet but the girls love it! Its a 4x8 inside with a 7 foot high roof. You can walk inside easily. attached is a 6x10 run with a 6 foot high roof.. its very hot so you will see the run wrapped in shade cloth right now as well a their personal fan and mister inside the run. You can get a general idea with the attached pictures. Its located under a thick shade tree to help with summer heat. Both run and house are easily accessed. I can comfortably walk in both to clean them.for the same price as the unusable coop we built this. Pardon the mess but hope the pictures help
     
  10. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    Having trouble uploading. Hope i can get picture up soon
     

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