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How much space is really necessary?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by farmgirl_09, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. farmgirl_09

    farmgirl_09 In the Brooder

    Jan 27, 2011
    My husband and I are finally getting our plans together for our coop. We are actually building a 40x60 building with a lean-to attached to it. The birds will be in the lean-to section of it, which will be 16x30. 16x13 for 60 laying hens and 16x17 for 100 meat birds. I've been reading a lot and trying to get my plans finalized for construction. The books say 1 nest box per 2 birds, 1 ft of roost space each, and 6 inches of feeding space. Is all that necessary? They will have access to about 6sq ft each of outdoor space as well. We live in southeast michigan so there will be days when they are inside all day due to the weather.

    I'm really trying to maximize their floor space. Can I get by with 3 birds per nest or less roosting space? Its fine if they actually need it, we have the space to dedicate it if necessary, I just thought I would give them all of the floor space possible. Do you give your meat birds roosts? Most books say it isn't necesary. The meat birds will also have access to outside, just not as much. I wonder if they'll even use it. It sounds like they just sit around and eat all day. Is that true?

    I'm going to get mostly isa-browns and leghorns with a few others to mix it up, mostly dual purpose birds. I think we'll be ordering from Townline here in Michigan. Also, do you let your chickens out in the snow? I'm thinking its ok as long as its above freezing. Any other tips you can give would be great. I really want to give our girls the best home possible. Sorry for the random thoughts, they kept coming to me as I was typing.

  2. mommissan

    mommissan Songster

    Jul 4, 2011
    Well, everyone will tell you the minimum is 4 sq ft per standard size bird. Looks like you've got that covered. I put 3 nest boxes in for 8 layers and they still cram into one favorite box. As far as cold weather, I see them puttering around in the run when it's -10 F. I put a little greenhouse out in the run filled with pine shavings to give them more covered space to "play" in. I toss scratch and BOSS in so they have something to do. They don't like snow, at first, but they get over it.

    Meat birds I've read don't do much besides sit around. You'll keep them for no more than 8-12 weeks, so how much will you invest in their space? I'd be curious to see what they are capable of. My opinion, happy meat birds taste better. [​IMG]
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You can easily get by with fewer nests. I would go for about 10 nests. If you have 1 per 2-3 birds they will only use half of them.
    If they don't get along, more roost space helps. When they're friends, 6" works.
    My meat birds never use roosts before they're processed. I've given them roosts but it was a waste of time.
  4. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Songster

    Oct 2, 2010
    Slidell, Louisiana
    Hi, Read my post above. .......Don't need to go crazy on nest boxes in my humble opinion. They'll never all get used. Good luck.

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