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Coop size, NEEEEED ADVICE!!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by smokeykk, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. smokeykk

    smokeykk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We don't have much room in our yard, and it isn't fenced but there are woods in the back. That is near where we were planning to put the coop, but what is the minimum size you would suggest for 10 chickens? I would also need a run as our neighbors have chickens also. Those chickens come right up to our yard. I also have another question about chicks. If they are about 3 or 4 days old, and we get them from different places how long do you suggest we keep them seperated, we have many boxes for different chicks, but i don't want the chicks to be just used to each other and not the other chicks, like, all of a sudden there are 10 instead of, say, 3 in seperate places. What i guess i am asking is, how big should a coop be for 10 chickens, and what age should chicks be introduced to each other? One more thing, do you have any idea how many feeders and waterers we should have. Like, some inside and in the run? And would a garage be a good place to keep brooding chicks? We live in PA and the summer temps are about 60- 85 would this be ok, as long as they have heat lamps?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I would not build anything smaller than 8' X 8' in your climate, as there will no doubt be some long periods in winter that they will not go outside. Also, the ost of building materials really doesn't increase much between if you build a little smaller, as this uses standard material sizes. You will probably be told 4 sq ft per bird in the coop and 10 sq ft per bird in the run, which would be, say, a 5' X 8' coop, but this is supposed to be available floor space, without being blocked off by roosts or nests. And this is not much space when they are stuck indoors. Really, I would build at least an 8' X 12' coop for 10 birds in your climate.

    People generally don't separate young chicks, especially hatchery chicks; they do not have the integration problems when they are young that they do when older. However, mixing chicks that are 1-2 weeks different in age can definitely cause pecking problems. Your best bet is to get them all of the same age, or within a week of each other if possible, as close as possible to day olds, and just put them together. Mixing 4 day old ch8icks from different sources should be fine. You don't actually need more than one feeder and waterer unless you have bullies keeping other chicks away from them. The garage would be fine. Many experienced chicken breeders would not consider brooding in the house; I'll certainly never do it again.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The rule of thumb used on this forum is a minimum of 4 square feet per chicken in the coop with 10 square feet per chicken in the run. There is a lot that goes into this space recommendation. You can sometimes get by with less, but you have to work a lot harder managing them and you risk something going very wrong. More space is always better, both from the comfort and contentedness of the chickens and you usually don't have to work as hard manging them if it is a little bigger, especially managing the poop. I will mention that most building material comes in 4' or 8' lengths, so you can usually build an 8' x 8' coop for little more than you could build an 8' x 5' coop. The main difference in cost is probably going to be in the roofing material.

    I don't know where you are getting the chicks. If they are coming from a hatchery or someplace they have been isolated from adult chickens, I probably would not isolate them. However, if they have been in contact with adult chickens, an isolation period is appropriate. Most people use 30 days for a quarantine period.

    They all need to be able to eat at the same time. I can't remember what that distance is along the feeder. I'm thinking 2" but I'm not sure. Some people feed and/or water in the coop, in the run, or both. There are benefits and disadvantages both ways. To me, if they are left locked in the coop for a long time after they wake up, they need food and water available in the coop. If they are not locked in there, then it is just personal preference.

    I keep my brooder in the coop. That garage should be fine as long as you can keep one area of the brooder in the correct temperature range, keep all drafts off the chicks, and it is predator-proof. I keep one area of my brooder in the correct temperature range but the far corners are often 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. I find that the first couple of days, they stay in the heated area, but by the third day, they are playing all over the brooder, coming back to the heat only when they need to warm up.

    Good luck!
     
  4. smokeykk

    smokeykk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    THANKS for all ur help, and i was just wondering about the brooder thing, we were just going to use a cardboard box for it. does that change anything??
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    A cardboard box should be OK. The biggest problem might be if they spill a lot of water and get it wet. I remember Dad raising chicks in a cardboard box on the back porch.

    Make sure it is not in danger of catching fire from the lamp and that it is big enough to allow the chicks to get away from the heat if it gets too hot in one area. If you can keep one area in the right temperature range and other areas cooler, they will find their comfort zone and do great. Your problem comes in when the entire brooder is too hot or too cold.

    The sides of the cardboard box give good draft protection. I'd consider a wire top to keep then from flying out. You'd be amazed at how quickly they learn to fly.
     
  6. Cass

    Cass Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I brooded ducks in a LARGE cardboard box. (Worked for the first 4 weeks, then it go to soggy). Chicks don't spill as much water as ducks do, so a box will work for a while. I suggest that you put a couple of layers of cardboard in the bottom before the bedding, so you can remove the top layer when it does gets soggy. (that's what I did with my SECOND box for the ducks) It helped a lot , and preserved the box until the ducks were fully feathered. Hang the heat source on something moveable....chain, wire...so you can raise or lower it to adjust the temperature at chick level.

    As far as your coop size, make it as big as you can afford. The extra space can be used for storage of feed and brooder areas if you have a hen go broody on you (free chicks [​IMG] )

    And, of course, chicken math might get you sooner than you think and you'll be out expanding by the end of the summer.
     
  7. cottage19

    cottage19 Out Of The Brooder

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    As you know, the PA winter was rough this year. If you're planning on 10 chickens I'd say plan on a minimum 10x10 coop with an attached/covered run. We let our girls free range but there were many days that they stayed in even though the coop door was open. They didn't seem to interested in venturing out into all that snow. [​IMG]
     
  8. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    We are brooding (right term?) chicks in the house. To protect the rug, we put down heavy duty plastic trash bags underneath and a layer of cardboard on top. We clean out the bedding often to keep the moisture level down. When they are tiny, it was easy to keep up with the poo; now when they are bigger and eating 5x as much per day it requires more attention to keep it dry. Good luck!
     
  9. smokeykk

    smokeykk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Everyone For All Ur Help, :d Chickensssss
     

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