Help! I wanna build a large coop 20-30 chickens!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by longbranch321, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. longbranch321

    longbranch321 Just Hatched

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    Jacksonville, FL
    I just bought a house on 2acres back in October and now I have been planning for spring. I have had 6 laying hens for about a year now, got them as chicks last spring. But I've ordered a lot more chicks and I'm going to need a much bigger coop to house them all. In all I will have a total of 33 hens and 1 rooster. Now here's my plan. Because I have 2 acres I want to create a paddock system I can rotate them on so that the grass can recoup for 3-4 weeks after each feeding. That way I don't end up with 2 acres of grassless dirt, and sh** all over everything in my yard.) I raise my current chickens organically and will raise this year's chicks organically as well. I plan to harvest about 10 or 12 of them for meat when they reach the right size, but the rest will remain for laying. So the way I want to design this is to put the coop in the middle of the backyard with a small run surrounding the coop with four doors on it. One door opening to each paddock. So here are my questions. How big should I make this coop? I want it to be nice and roomy as the while point of doing this is to avoid the modern factory-farming style methods. While the chickens sleep on their perches, I may have my ducks sleeping on the floor (unless I can come up with the $$$ to build a separate duck house) Where can I find plans that are inexpensive or free? Also, I'm on a budget of about $900-$1000, at least initially. Anyone have any coop ideas/suggestions for me? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    At the top of the page is link COOPS There are also threads on that subject. . $1000 should get you well off if you do the work yourself. (my opinion) You are looking to house a good number. Search for good deals on materials. Make your coop well ventilated, especially in your case, for summer heat. Large windows or openings with protective screens , ideal for keeping coop from overheating and for natural light. As to having concerns of your grass being wasted from your hens overgrazing. Remember that chickens are not sheep. They nibble on strands and keep moving. They are really looking after insects more. Also looking to pick up grit. Their poop is not like a dog's , and goes back to earth easily. Your grass will thank you. WISHING YOU BEST IN YOUR CHICKEN ENDEAVORERS
    [​IMG]
     
  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]

    You could house that many chickens in an 8x16 structure well enough.
    I have built an 8x14 and have 19 in it currently.
    I have 11 windows on mine. I will say that it did cost more than 1000 to build though. I bought the panels that are on the long sides used (they had been crates) and the metal roof is salvaged as well. My run is salvaged chain link from fencing I took down and new treated 4x4 posts with new chicken wire top on it. The coop alone cost about 1200 to build.
    My floor is treated 2x6 framing with 3/4 inch plywood and painted with porch paint.

    Here is a couple pics for inspiration for you.
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    I had not put in the roosts yet when I took this pic.

    [​IMG]
    The windows are made of salvaged smoked lexan and open awning style.
    [​IMG]

    This is the bay of nest boxes I built for about 60 dollars. They are built to hold the dishpans so measurements of the compartments are about 13x16.

    Check on Craigs list for deals on lumber and also goodwill, Habitat for humanity.

    Hope this helps.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    YOU HAVE DELUXE BEAUTIFUL ACCOMMODATIONS.. Do your chickens appreciate your effort??????? =D You streched your dollars well !!![​IMG]
     
  5. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you.
    Sadly no lol. Most of my hens are getting older and need to be replaced so the nest boxes actually get used. [​IMG]

    DH thinks they need to lay golden eggs since I spent so much on the coop. [​IMG]
    I am thinking he needs to remember he got a new Harley and me getting a new coop was part of that deal. I think he made out like a bandit.
    We are all happy with the results. [​IMG]
     
  6. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am considering doing something similar to the Op's ideas (but smaller). I agree that they don't eat nearly as much grass as I thought they would. In my experience, as long as your standards for a "pretty lawn" are rather low and include holes dug for dustbathing, your plans should be fine. There will be some spots that are overgrazed but they will not eliminate the grass. It's helpful to be familiar with cover crops to throw out in bare spots--buckwheat for very early spring, cowpeas for summer, rye and mustard for winter. I do have a question, though, if I might ask: Why are there so many windows in the coop? I understand that there needs to be natural light. But I believe typical window screens will not keep out a determined raccoon. I understand there needs to be ventilation. Would a square of hardware cloth and some ridge vents not meet this need? I'm in SC so the heat is more of a concern than the cold. Are the windows functional?
     
  7. WthrLady

    WthrLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And i second the local restore!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  8. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    The windows are all functional. I do not like a dark coop and I wanted to make sure I got enough air movement in the summer to keep it from turning into an oven with the metal roof. The windows are all made by me and they have hardware cloth to keep the critters out. I think in the pic of the inside you can see the fender washers holding the hardware cloth on. I also have left the eve open on the tall side of the coop and put hardware cloth there as well.
     
  9. longbranch321

    longbranch321 Just Hatched

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    Jacksonville, FL
    Thank you, but I think you're underestimating what chickens can do to grass. My chickens eat just as much grass as bugs if not more. They love it. I have also seen half acre pens completely turned to a mud pit by less than a dozen chickens. I have 6 hens already which I've had for a year now and I've been researching this hard for almost a year. Chickens can do just as much damage as sheep. If not moved, they will eat all the vegetation until it is gone. And not only do they eat the vegetation, but they will scratch it to bits as well. This is why the paddock method is better than just open free range if you don't have 20+ acres. By rotating to a new paddock every week, with four paddocks, each paddock gets to regenerate, absorb the nutrients from the droppings, and regrow. Also, while chicken poop may not be like dog poop, it still ads up quickly and is very high in nitrogen which will burn and kill vegetation in high concentrations. But I really don't want poop all over my dock, lawn chairs, fire pit, bicycles, anything left outside lol. I understand how important ventilation is especially where I live bc it's so humid and hot most of the year. What I really need to know is how/where I can get some plans for a coop big enough for 20-30 chickens. I bought/downloaded a package of coop plans online but the plans for biggest coop say it's only for 10-12 chickens...
     
  10. longbranch321

    longbranch321 Just Hatched

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    Apr 15, 2014
    Jacksonville, FL
    Thanks for your suggestions and advice! [​IMG][​IMG]
     

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