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garage conversion

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WildBills, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. WildBills

    WildBills New Egg

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    I have a two car garage about 20'x20' and a shed about 8'x8' on my property. I am toying with the idea of converting both into coops, fencing in about a 100'x60' area of my yard and buying about 250 chickens. I have a few questions, would this be enough room for that many chickens? How high up can I build my nesting boxes and the chickens still use them? The ceilings are about 8' high in both the garage and the shed. With fencing in that large of an area how high do you recommend I make the fence? What are opinions on clipping wings rather than building a really high fence? I'm sure as I think more I will have more questions; however, if anyone has any thoughts or opinions are advice for anything I haven't thought of yet please let me know. All information will be greatly appreciated. I have already been in contact with different small stores and restaurants, I am hoping to produce about 100-140 dozen eggs per week to start.
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome! Do you have lots of previous experience with chickens? If not, it's best to start smaller and work out the kinks first. Maybe fix the shed into a coop first, an attached run, and order 15 to 25 chicks. That coop would hold 12 to 15 hens comfortably, with an attached run. Your 400 sq. ft. building would be great, split into sections, as the next step. It could hold 80 to 90 hens, with some storage space. Very close confinement, as practiced by commercial 'egg factories' isn't what most of us here are doing. Mary
     
  3. WildBills

    WildBills New Egg

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    I grew up on a farm with several hundred head of cattle and about 1000 chickens. The problem is when I got a wild bur in my *** and decided I didn't want anything to do with farming I left everything for about 15 years and my old man shut it all down. I just finished remeasuring the garage and its actually just over 600 square feet. I am figuring on the chickens only being that confined at night, which is why I'm going to fence in about 6000 square feet. My theory is that they will be able to run as much as they want during the day and coop them at night to protect them from predators and bad weather when need be. I figured this many chickens wasn't any where close to what most people on here are doing; however, this site pops up with every google search I do so i figured it wouldn't hurt to pick some brains. Ultimately, I am trying to find the happy medium between backyard and commercial if that makes sense.
     
  4. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The first thing you need is to find out what predators are in your area. Give up on the idea of killing off the predators, they will just constantly replace themselves and cause deaths and unnecessary stress to you and your birds. That is what will determine how much fencing you need. For that many birds it may work better to have trained guard dogs run with them in a several acre pasture with adequate fencing to keep the dogs in. Unless given lots of room you will run into problems with aggression and disease. The one large building could work if the birds are only locked in at night.
     
  5. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may also want to check with your local ordinances. For example, ours specify that no livestock, including chickens, are to be housed within 220' of any residence. If you have anything similar, that would mean you would, most likely, not be able to convert your garage into a coop. Our ordinances also state how many animals you may legally keep on your property based on the numbers of acres you have, so that may also be something to check into.

    As far as nesting box height, my chickens tend to like the lowest ones the best, but the general rule is that the nesting boxes should be lower than your roosts and roosts should not be more than about 3' high.

    If you use something like hardware cloth over the top of your run, you would not have to worry about birds flying out or predators getting in. This would also mean you would not have to build your run fence so high; however, it certainly is nice to be able to walk upright in the run.

    Hope that helps!
     
  6. DoubletakeFarm

    DoubletakeFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you could post some pictures and your location, that would help us help you. Is this an old garage that you will never use again? (I can't imagine trying to convert it back after there's been that many chickens in it). How far away from your house is it? (it's going to smell) The garage is definitely big enough. You want your nest boxes low enough so you can gather eggs. You may want to look into building a type of nest box where the eggs roll out, lots of info on BYC.

    This is what I would do: fence in as much area as financially possible with 4-5 ft. fence- this will be your biggest expense. The more "free range" area you have the happier and healthier your chickens will be. And the more they are outside, the less chicken poop in the garage. Use the garage for the chickens and the shed for storage. You're going to need somewhere to store feed and bedding (straw is what I use) and all the extra crap you accumulate. Then get a larger animal like a mini donkey or an alpaca to keep in with the chickens. I know that sounds crazy and you're like "that is not in my plan!" but that is what will keep predators away (and the reason for the 4-5 ft. fence). Search craigslist for a free alpaca, they are cheap and easy to keep. Or if you have an outside dog that can live with the chickens that would work. With this setup you won't have to clip their wings, they will stay because it's their "home"

    Nice to hear you've removed the wild bur from your ***! Lol
     
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds fun! And familiar... Lol I did the same thing; left the ranch, wanted nothing to do with it... Then I grew up lol. Luckily, my folks didn't sell off and I'm wheedling for more land for more coops and pasture; less cows more chickens ha-ha!

    I don't know where you're from, so I have to ask... Because if winter. I do great with 2 coops and pretty much unlimited free range, but in winter they get grouchy being packed in there for days on end during snowstorms (I'm in Colorado)...

    I have about 3 sq ft ber bird in the coops, which they seem to have deemed OK, although I have some biddy BRs that would say they would like a private chalet lol... If the only thing they'll be doing is literally sleeping, and you don't expect to get any days on end stuck in the coop, then roost space will be the decide nf factor on how many will comfortably fit, more than just floor space.

    Do you have ideas for feeders and watering systems? I'm going to tag along and see what you're doing; its giving me an idea ha-ha ;)
     
  8. WildBills

    WildBills New Egg

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    First and foremost, thank all of you. This is really good info that has given me lots to think about. I live in western Pennsylvania about and hour and half north of Pittsburgh. I live beside a couple Amish farms, so I assumed there isn't any ordinances, but I will double check my assumptions next week. There is a wood burner in the corner of the garage, I was thinking I could fence it off and use it to heat the garage in the winter. I am not sure what all predators are in the area everyone I talk to has a different answer and most just seem to be assumptions. I have a german shepherd, I may get another one to stay outside. Obviously the birds will be able to eat the bugs and what not they find, but as for the main staple what is the best feed. I commercial chicken feed or grain? I plan to old school feed the chickens with the vintage trough feeders a friend of mine has stacked up in his shop. I'm not sure just yet though a good watering system. Again, thank you for the information and I am grateful for any and all information.
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    With that many chickens, you should be able to order feed in larger quantities than most of us here, or contract with the local feed mill. I do like pellets better than mash, and most local mills only make the mash, rather than spending $$$ for the pellet machinery. You could order feed by the pallet, and have it delivered. It will still most likely be less expensive than formulating it at home! The best feed is what you can get fresh for a good price, as long as it's nutritionally complete. No doubt there are local and state regulations concerning the type of commercial operation you are planning, because you want sales to restaurants and other retailers. Find out first! You can also buy bedding in large quantities. I still think that a smaller start would be best, to work out the 'bugs' Mary
     
  10. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    IMO, pelletized feed is good for ease of bulk feeding and good for not having to worry about required nutrients being met.

    It is, however, NOT my first choice... In fact, I don't use bagged feed at all. It's entirely too expensive, and I only have 40 birds.... I mix my own feed, and every 2 months I go through 300#, and it costs roughly $70.00, or right around .35 per lb. And that's organic, too ;)

    IMO fresh grain is really a better option if you want to feed bulk; not only does it cost less to mix it yourself, but the nutrients are still there at peak quantity, unlike feed that's been sitting in a granary waiting to get cracked, milled, pelleted, and rebagged, meaning the grain used in bagged feed can be over a year old.

    Then you can always take it up a notch and ferment... THAT makes even more if the nutrients available and increases absorption, and less waste would bea huge benefit to that, in your situation :)


    Amish country!!! You should be able to find and price some excellent quality grains, or pelleted feed, no problem! Look into sorghum; prices should be fairly cheap in your area, and sorghum is bar none one if the best Feeds to use in the mix... Keep an eye out for alfalfa or clover hay or pellets as well ;)

    The mills in your area may even be able to mix your pellets to specification from fresh product; If you do decide to go with pellets, that would be a great option and one that should be available to you there :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015

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