Housing 50 Hens- Need Ideas

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by minifarmmom, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. minifarmmom

    minifarmmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2016
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    So I would like to increase my flock this year..by a lot haha! I'm wanting to sell eggs at local farmers markets and butcher some birds for personal consumption.


    Show me your coops/sheds that you use to house your birds. Any other tips or suggestions are appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Kershylyn

    Kershylyn Out Of The Brooder

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    I will have to take some pictures and show you our first coop, second coop and third. None of them are very pretty as they are all built with recycled material, the only bought things are the nails. Which is still pretty cool, oh and the chicken wire. The first one is more like a laying box that I had 2 Roo's and 2 pullets in, on top of a rabbit hutch. The rabbit hutch being my second coop when I got more chickens. The third coop is the one we just recently built as predators were getting my flock on a daily basis. I had 43 chickens and they were all rebelling and going to the trees at night to sleep. I can't blame them, as they grew up in a rabbit hutch or my store bought 4 chicken coop, I've simply declared it my baby chick coop. Other than when they were little they were all free range at 3/4 months old. They weren't always cooped up in the hutch, the baby coop and box. They had a fenced in area of about 10x10 or another area of 20x20. We used chicken wire and fenced the whole area up and we had a smaller area fenced up for the mom and her chicks to have her own section. Either way, I made it so that my new chickens were separated from my older flock so they could see one another and get used to each other, without picking and injuries.

    The coop was assembled with the back 20 feet of wire being help up with 4- 2x4s and the front side being wired up to 2 2x4s and the rabbit hutch in the front middle, holding up the wire. I will just have to take a pic. The point I was getting at is my coop wasn't preditor proof. The wire wasn't secured to anything holding it down at the ground, other then the grass growing up through the wire. We even placed some garbage 2x4 pieces to hold the wire down. First the coons got in and got some of my baby chicks. Then a bear came through about a month later and got my young Barred Rock male. I've learned the importance of predator proofing my coop.

    It is getting windy here and I want to get off my pc. So before I go I have to ask, what size flock do you have now and what kind of coop?
     
  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 12x16 shed that would work for 50 chickens. You want a minimum of 4 sq ft per bird. I have divided the shed into a chicken area, duck area, hay storage, brooder, hospital cages plus a people walkway, so I can't support 50 with my current setup, but if you only had 1 big chicken area, it would work. My 15x15 run only supports 22 chickens based on 10 sq ft per bird so I would have to make it twice as large for 50 birds. I currently have 13 chickens and 15 ducks.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    minifarmmom
    "Wow looks great! If you built this yourself, what was the cost of material?"


    The shed came with the house when we bought it 7 years ago. I added the run on the left side. The run cost about $500 to build. The run has a metal roof which was about 1/2 of that.
     
  5. minifarmmom

    minifarmmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2016
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    Thank you. Put up pictures when you can. Currently I have 4 hens. I had close to 20 before predators and the cold killed most of them. Our hens are free range as well. They have a coop that some will go in at night and some of them roost in the trees. So mainly I'm wanting this coop to be for nesting boxes and shelter during bad weather.
     
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mini:

    What are YOU thinking as far as overall size of this new coop?

    Also, when did you get the first 20 birds? Do you expect to manage this new flock the same way as before with birds free ranging, accepting the high death loss due to predators and the elements or are you hoping to avoid that ever again in the future?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  7. minifarmmom

    minifarmmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2016
    Minnesota
    As far as square feet, I'm thinking 150-200 sq feet. Just needing some ideas to get started. Wondering if we should do it ourselves from scratch or buy a prebuilt shed and add nesting boxes and what not.

    The chicks I got in spring of last year all survived the cold- but some were killed by predators. The chicks I received in September this year all died once it got to the negatives. I believe their death was due to their age. I plan to get all of our new chicks this spring and early summer. So yes, I will be managing the flock different this year.
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Are you not providing heat and brooder setting for your chicks? If they are brooded until the correct age there should be no reason to loose them to cold.

    Personally, I wouldn't allow my birds to stay out over night. I teach them from a young age that everybody get's locked in at night and now they all head in when they are supposed to. Aside from the weather and elements or predation... you need to be able to catch your birds if you need to treat for anything and you can't very well do that if they are in a tree. Plus how many of those free rangers are gonna hide their eggs where you can't find them? Probably a few. You need to be able to lock them in their coop and run to show the stubborn ones where they are supposed to lay. That makes it easy to collect those yummy little eggs. The easiest way to catch and treat a bird is after they have gone to roost for the night. They are calm when it's dark. They can't see very well and don't try to get away from you. It's a great pointer for anyone who needs to catch a bird. That is when we collect our birds for processing or treatments. Easy peasy.

    Personally, the tree roosters would be on my cull list so they couldn't try and teach anyone else. Chickens are very much monkey see, monkey do! [​IMG]

    Couple suggestions... avoid metal roofs like the plague, they sweat so bad it's worse than when it's raining... no matter how much ventilation there is. (ask me how I know). Composition shingle roofs don't seem to do that.

    Also, in my location... we are allowed to sell chickens for consumption as long as it stays within a certain # of flock (I wanna say like 100). Since we don't raise CX our birds take 5-6 months reach processing age so it isn't affordable and it's a lot of work. So we are just working to feed ourselves.

    How much space you need depends on the type of birds you get, your management practices, your weather.... Many variables. Larger breeds need more room on roost and in general. Also, if your talking about raising *some* to eat I will presume those to be boys. Which would mean you need a rooster. Roosters need more space. And leads me to the point about us not raising CX... by the time we process, our boys are full on breeding age, And if I didn't have a stag pen for their final stages of development... my pullets and hens would be suffering the mating whims of a bunch of hormonal teenage cockerels who haven't yet learned their manners and are puling out too many feathers along with the occasional chunk taken out of their combs. Without a pen they will try to gang up on a docile pullet and take turns or clamor to be the one seeding her. (ask me how I know that to!) Boys almost always hit that age a little before the girls do. So I would have a plan in place for that as well. If you process well before 16 weeks, maybe it won't be an issue for you.

    So far I've learned the flock is an ever changing dynamic and I have to change my ideas and practices as needed. What works for me in my location might not work for another in another location. But I love being part of this community where we can all share! [​IMG]
     
  9. minifarmmom

    minifarmmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2016
    Minnesota
    Thank you for the info! Yes the chicks are/were in a brooder until they had most of their real feathers. I honestly cannot think of anything else that would've killed them. I just think they were too young to handle the cold so soon. As for them staying out at night, yes I train mine at a young age to come into the coop as well. Most of them did, but there was a select one or two that seemed to "teach" some of them to roost in the trees at night. A lot of times I couldn't find them at dusk/dark when I'd go to lock the coop up. I'm not too worried about it since they are relatively safe up in the trees.

    I'm basically looking for pictures/plans ideas to get an idea of where to start! Thanks everyone
     
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    So, raccoons don't climb trees? Or owls? [​IMG] I'm not trying to be ugly though! [​IMG]

    Could be a lot of things that killed your brood, if you wanted to try and figure it out. Could have been something in your soil or maybe the older chickens can be brutal sometimes. Hard to tell without details. So I will just suggest, when your brood is still little (only a few days old), maybe bring in some of your soil to build immunity before they go out to pasture full time. And also make sure there are cooler areas in the brooder for them to play as it helps develop the feathers and some hardiness to lower temps. Many people harden them off... or move from indoors to garage before fully out. We do it to some of our plants to, it does seem to be helpful. When I first move chicks out, I also provide a huddle box. It helps a lot when they aren't yet ready to sleep on roost. I don't mean to put my nose where it doesn't belong. But since I don't know your level of experience I am just sharing a few details that I hope will be helpful.

    Have you already checked out the coops tab at the top of the page?

    Some of those prebuilt sheds seem nice. Others, you really get what you pay for. As far as building yourself... depends on your skill level and how much time you have. All materials included, the boxed ones aren't too bad of a buy and you don't have to be an engineer to get the building to stand. I would avoid metal for the reason already stated... no matter how much ventilation, it sweats. In cold areas having enough ventilation is KEY to not getting frost bite. Moisture in the air not the cold is what causes frost bite. Guessing you get pretty cold in Minnesota!

    Did you check out the Wood's colony house? I see a link in the signature line of @Howard E just a couple of posts up.

    Good luck in your adventure! [​IMG]
     

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