help please help needed with coop layout.....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mrs. Feathers, May 16, 2010.

  1. Mrs. Feathers

    Mrs. Feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are at the finishing stages of our coop and run...coop is 8`x 10`fully insullated, shingled roof, wired for electiricy and preditor protected. Our nesting boxes are external to the floor space so we have a full 8`x10`to work with floor space wise. We have included two run doors to allow for dividing the coop and run if recommended and now are asking for ideas for the final stage of dividing spaces to accomodate the needs of our flock. We are raising birds for eggs and meat (sorry little roos [​IMG] ) and are looking for thoughts and advice on how we should divide up the coop.
    Our plan is to keep 8-10 hens and rotate through about the same number of meat birds. The outdoor run is about 450 sq ft. Because our little granddaughter is quite involved, we will be sticking to breeds that are more on the docile end of the scale (we currently have Australorps and Australorp/Ameraucana X`s that are currently 5 weeks and 1 week old and will be trying other breeds as time goes on).
    Your suggestions would be HUGELY appreciated.
    I have attached some older photos to give a visual.
    We will be preditor protecting the underpart so they have a place to go ouside on rainy days (we live on Vancouver Island so there are a few of those).

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    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't have your set-up but your goals are not all that different from mine. I'm just mentioning how I think I would set up your arrangement if it were me and with what you have to work with. I'm sure there are many other ways that can work for you.

    I'm pretty sure your "meat" birds are regular dual purpose breeds and not the Cornish cross. If they are not Cornish cross, they do not need to be separated from your other chickens, other than the normal protecting the younger birds from the older ones. If you either get new chicks or hatch them in an incubator instead of having a broody raise them for you, you will need to keep the chicks separated. For your plan, I would not count on a broody, so you will need to separate them. I don't know where you live but suspect you are in a snowy region based on the slope of your roof.

    I'd pretty much give the laying flock as much room in the coop as I could and still leave room for the meaty section. Your meaties will not live long enough to need as much space as your laying flock. Inside the coop like this, a chicken wire wall should work fine to separate the two areas, but you might want the bottom foot or so to be solid. I'll get to that in a bit.

    Since you have electricity, I'd build a brooder in the meaty section, allowing about 1 square foot for every chick you planned to put in there. You may want to occasionally raise some replacement layers with the meaties, so make it plenty big. I'd probably elevate it to make it easy to clean and to reach into. Make sure you can get to all corners of it for cleaning and to catch the chicks. I made a small net out of a piece of wire and some onion bag netting so I could reach the chicks. Make sure it is draft-free. That means no wind coming up from underneath and have solid sides on at least the bottom 12" of the sides. 18" may be better, depending on how big it actually is. I used a 1/2" square wire bottom but put a sheet of plastic all the way around it, all the way to the ground to make it draft free. Make sure you can keep one corner of the brooder at the recommended temperatures (90 to 95*F for the first week) even during the coldest weather you expect to have chicks in there. I had one section of my brooder at the higher temperatures, but the far corner was down to 70*F when I put the babies in. They stayed around the heat the first couple of days, but they were soon roaming all over the brooder. All 17 lived.

    In the rest of the meaty section of the coop, I'd put roosts for them, allowing at least 8" per chick. Somewhere they won't poop in them while on the roosts, I'd have feed and water. I'd be real happy with 2 square feet per chick in the meaty section of the coop. Depending on the weather, I let mine out of the brooder and into the coop at 4 to 5 weeks of age. With one square foot per chick in the brooder, you can wait until they are 8 weeks old or so before you let them out if you want. But this is why I would want the bottom foot or so of the wall in the coop to be solid. A solid bottom on your wall will help keep the drafts out of the meaty side, even with the pop door open on the laying flock side. It is probably an unnecessary precaution, but something I think I would do to help keep them warmer at night while they are fresh out of the brooder and sleeping on the floor. I leave mine out of the brooder but in the coop for two or three weeks. Partly it is to teach them that the coop is home so they will want to go back inside and sleep there, whether it is in a pile on the floor or roosting. Part of it is that a section of my run is open on top and I have hawks. I want them to get a bit bigger so they are not as tempting a target to the hawks.

    I'd try to give the meaties about 10 square feet each in the run and leave the rest for the laying flock. And have a gate so the laying flock can use that section of the run when you don't have the meaties using it. If you want, after the chicks are about 14 to 16 weeks old, you can integrate them with your laying flock. That might not be a bad idea if you are raising replacement layers. The additional numbers of young birds might make the integration go a bit smoother. You can help prepare them for the integration by throwing some treats on the ground in the run where they eat side by side, even if separated by that fence. And since they are creatures of habit, each flock would probably return to their own sleeping quarters as long as that gate is open.

    Good luck. There are many different ways to do this. Maybe you can pick out an idea or two from what I mentioned.
     
  3. Mrs. Feathers

    Mrs. Feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks ridgerunner...this is extremely helpful advice and gives us confirmation on some of out thoughts and better ways to look at set up for others.
    We do have dual purpose birds and are likely to keep it that way because we also want good natured breeds so the various kids in our lives can be part of the venture. Now we are trying the australorp and australorpXamericaunas.
    We are hatching (two hatches this year sofar and possibly a third) so the advice on the brooder is excellent and just what we needed. Hubby and I were discussing and debating between a raised brooder and one at floor level. I like you idea and I think it is along the lines of what my hubby was thinking giving more space for the meaties to hang out underneath...or storage space.
    We live in the lovely rain shadow of the Olympic Mountain range and have a very similar climate to coastal Washington State with much less precipitation than Seattle (thank you to our American friends for that geographical wonder)...so not much snow...but we did want the odd inch or two we get every other year to stay off the roof.
    We are really enjoying this and learning lots.
    I am going to print off your suggestions and run them out to hubby in the coop. [​IMG]
     
  4. toscany

    toscany Out Of The Brooder

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    Mrs. Feather,

    It is a beautiful structure. The Rulers that once lived in the Taj Mahal would be proud!

    HMB
     
  5. Mrs. Feathers

    Mrs. Feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    hee hee...thanks...we love it...hubby is very meticulous in his work so nothing but the best for our chickies
     

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