First Post and Requesting Help with Coup Layout

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by themccartneys, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. themccartneys

    themccartneys Hatching

    Jan 31, 2013
    This is our first post so I'll give you a litte family background. My wife and I recently purchased a home and 15 acres in central Ohio that has allowed us to get our 9 month old son, 3 year old daughter and 130 lb (mini :) mastiff out of our cozy 1300 sq ft home on a 1/10 acre city lot and out into God's country with fresh air and room to stretch our legs! We moved in on Jan 1 and I've already lost 11 lbs!

    My wife is a tried and true city girl but don't let that fool you - she's willing to get her hands dirty as long as she has a little direction! She's been doing research lately on factory farms and all of the crap that goes into our bodies from store bought foods. She just placed her seed order for a 1/4 acre garden!

    I also placed our order with Meyer's for 25 day old New Hampshire Red pullets and 25 day old Delaware cockerels! My plan is to keep 5 of the best Delawares to cross with the Hamps to come out with what's known as an Indian River. Supposedly it makes for a great dual purpose bird which we'll then keep for egg layers and meat birds. I'll keep you all posted on the results!

    So this brings me to the reason for my post. We're planning the coup but I don't really how big to make it. We'll likely have about 35-40 birds throughout winter but during the summer that number will be more than double for our meat birds. Because all of the birds will be free range, I'm wondering what would be the best way to approach this in terms of size and layout. For the 40 birds kept through winter, we need about 200 sq ft. How much spacae should we allocate for the growing birds for meat? They will be smaller for the better part of their time here. If there will be say 40 at a time, do we allocate the full 5 sq ft per bird so an additional 200 sq ft?

    Here in central Ohio we can have mild winters or winters like this one that are days on end at 0 degrees. I was thinking the area not being used during really cold winters could be blocked off to allow the birds a smaller, more manageable area to keep warm.

    Also, I'd like to make the coup either 8 or 10 feet wide by whatever the length is to make up the footage. I know this will make for a rather long structure, but it seems to me that the narrow width with big vents along both long sides would allow for really good airflow during the summer heat to get rid of stagnant air. Nesting boxes will be along the entire length and accessible from the outside.

    My parents had a small flock when I was growing up but nothing of this mangitude. Any advice you guys could shed would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

    Bill and Diana

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Welcome to our forum!

    Wow, that's quite an undertaking for starting out. I see no problem with the 8' or 10' width; actually I think it's a good idea as it will be easy to modify later, to separate breeds, add a broody area or brooder or sick chicken area, whatever might come up. Id' probably cut down on the square footage a little for the meat birds.

    You'd be surprised how much chickens will go outdoors in winter, especially if there's a roofed area that keeps the snow under control, or if you remove some snow. And you are smart to think of summer air movement. I hope you've discovered they also need winter ventilation.

    Actually I would suggest you eat a dual purpose bird before you jump feet first into this. They do NOT taste anything like store bought chicken. Many people prefer them, but many more find them difficult to eat, or just plain objectionable. Most any dual purpose bird will do as the taste doesn't vary much between breeds -- just between dual purpose and store bought (or home raised Cornish X.) You can probably pick up a few off Craig's list or at a local auction if you don't have a friend with a few extra roos.

    Have you seen this article? If you've looked through the stickies on our meat bird forum, you may have, as it's linked there:

    Another great article that it's hard for me not to post:
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013

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