Help with subdividing a great old-time coop!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Storybook Farm, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Storybook Farm

    Storybook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2015
    Sugar Grove, WV
    My Coop
    Hi, all

    I have a golden opportunity to make a really fine coop for breeding and production (meat/eggs) for our 40-acre farm. Our desire is to breed and raise chickens for eggs and table, mostly to feed our extended family (we have six kids, four of whom are raising our grands) and ourselves.

    We bought a 30-year abandoned WV mountain farm (gardening zone 5). Here, in terms of winter issues, late Jan thru Feb is most brutal with temps down to zero degrees regularly; winter nights begin with freezing temps in mid-Oct thru lat March, with some relief somewhat week to week, depending on the pattern.

    Here's a picture of the coops we got with our farm:
    This is how it looked 4 years ago, when we bought it. We use the smaller one as a lamb shed now, and there's fencing above the smaller shed now. That bigger shed has (if you click on the picture, you'll see) 5 doors... the last one is to a feed room that's about 8' wide. So, 4 doors remain in an 88' length X 18' depth, and each door enters an area that could be divided into a 22' X 18' section.

    I've gotten that far, but now, how to sub-divide each section? I'm thinking that we could EASILY house four breeds/families per section, even if we never let them out to free range. However, we do want them to free range, and we have 40 acres, so that's not the issue. Currently, the interior of this 1800 square foot coop is open, with posts going down the middle to support the roof. There's a spring box on that left side, above a swimming pond. Here's a shot of the interior, again, 4 years ago.

    Since that time, we've used this building to store stuff, but we've got newer and better storage options now, so this building either finds a good use or will be sold for barn board!

    Just FYI, we have another, much smaller outbuilding that has electricity and we've worked hard to make it house a mixed flock of about 20-25 birds comfortably. I call it Chez Poulez, it's a work in progress, and it's linked to my signature. Here's a quick pic:

    Chez Poulez will be our over-wintering coop, and then in spring, our brooder coop (since it has electricity). We're also figuring out how to incorporate a small bachelor section in here.

    How I think of the whole chicken thing right now is of keeping a relatively small, core, laying flock (dual purpose, really, but in winter I mean) of breeders in Chez Poulez during the depths of the winter months. I'm considering a mix of breeds: possibly, for instance, Chantecler, GNHs and Delawares OR heritage RIRs, GNHs and Rocks. In the summers, then, I want to take my "keepers" and breed/incubate/allow broodies such that I raise 200-400 birds for table, and cull them back hard in October-November, keeping only the best of breeds for the next winter, who would live in Chez Poulez.

    All this to ask basic questions about how to do the interior of the big coop up right. Questions are these:

    1. How much space do how many birds need during breeding season? I have a lot of space, so I can afford to be generous here... Would it be best, for instance, to have four breed groups of, say, 5 hens/1 cock for the 2-3 months of breeding? (I assume that after eggs for hatching are gathered, they'd all range together.)

    2. In each pen, consideration for feeder/waterer placement and also nest boxes/perches.

    Any ideas beyond these questions is also welcome. After I get done work today, I'll try to upload a sketch that has my basic ideas. THANKS!
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! I'd just like to say that I'm jealous of your outbuildings. I've never done more than 75 to 100 birds at a time, and overwinter about 35. You do have lots of space, and it's wonderful. Mary
  3. Storybook Farm

    Storybook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2015
    Sugar Grove, WV
    My Coop
    Thanks for the reply, Mary. I'm guessing that no one has input for me given the lack of comments. I'll just have to soldier on as best I can. Thankful for this site that gives me so much information!
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Nice building, if it's sound and tight it would be a shame to sell it as lumber.
    If you can get power to it you could keep your entire meat and egg concern under that one roof.

    Would be pretty easy to subdivide the inside with some 2 x 2 framing and chicken wire, welded wire fending or hardware cloth.
    Do the same with runs on the outside.
    Maybe a few solid walls for incubation/brooding areas.

    Take a look at My Coop page.
    I used part of large shed for a coop that is can be split in two with a temporary chicken wire wall.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Chipper Chicken

    Chipper Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2014
    My Coop
    Here is nice example of dividing a coop up for breeding. I'm sorry I can't find any more pictures of this coop pictured below right now....

    You have some great space to work with there. I am abundantly envious of that shed! Wow!
    1 person likes this.

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