Do meat birds need a coop?


9 Years
Feb 17, 2010
I have 15 cornish roasters for meat. Right now they're a little over 2 weeks old and set up happily in my garage (in a huge box used to ship oranges). I'm a newbie, so I don't have a coop and run yet. I had planned to get up it at the end of the year last year so it would be ready in the spring for my chickens, which I knew I wanted to order asap. Anyway, it didn't happen, so now I have chicks and no coop. I'm worried my cornish are going to be needing a bigger space before the weather permits my neighbor and me to get the coop up (yes I know, bad planning).

So anyway, I was wondering if I could build the run first and put the roasters out there? Do they care about roosting? I was just going to build a simple chicken-wire run (with top enclosed to keep them safe from predators. I was thinking I could just put some tarp on the top and one corner to give them protection from the elements. They already don't want to do much other than sit (and eat of course!) I'm not concerned about them being happy, but I want them to be safe and relatively comfortable. Would they be able to keep warm (it woudn't be for a few more weeks, sometime in March, but it's still usually chilly here) without a heat lamp?

Cornish dont roost .. Unless you dont have a fence around your property you really should use hardware cloth.. I dont reccomend raising meat chickens in a coop as they poo non stop and create alot of moisture.. Mine wil be going into a chicken tractor..I wil find the link for you on the ones i am using .. No heat lamp needed just a wind break..
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They just need cleanliness (insofar as possible with meaties) and ventilation and shelter from excessive wind/wet/cold. In principle a tarped end of a pen is fine... however, not so much in Indiana this time of year. I would suggest something a bit more substantial, and that you could put a lamp in if you get an unusually cold snap.

Be careful about chickenwire for a run, dogs and raccoons can rip right through it. Other stronger types of wire mesh are a lot safer.

Good luck, have fun,

Okay, thanks! My yard is fenced but I can use something like hardware cloth instead if it's sturdier/safer. Does galvanized vs non-galvanized matter?
Raccoons can get into fenced yards, so I'd say for sure use something sturdier. Galvanized is a much better buy b/c nongalvanized will start to rust real soon, and rust weakens it -- thus, most (not all) fence wire mesh that's sold is galvanized.

I would suggest 1/2" hardwarecloth for anywhere within "raccoon reaching distance" of the chickens -- that includes the bottom 2-3' of pen sides, and also the top if it will be 3' or lower -- but you can consider something larger-mesh for other portions, e.g. the top of a walk-in-height run, if budget is a concern. Under no circumstances would I consider using anything larger than 2x4" mesh, though. And you want it to be pretty heavy-gauge stuff -- flimsy "garden" type wire fencing is not necessarily raccoon proof.

Good luck, have fun,

Budget is definitely a concern! Thanks so much for the info!

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