Is run size different for layers and meat birds?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by christineandallie, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. christineandallie

    christineandallie New Egg

    Feb 18, 2009
    I'm just in the planning stage so;

    I want to have 2-3 laying hens that stay around all the time.

    Then I want to have approx 20 meat birds at any one time but sometimes I won't have any because the freezer will have 20 birds in it.

    As the meat birds grow I figure I'll harvest any roos I find along the way so the group will get thinner before they are 10-12 weeks old.

    Do I still need to alot 10 square feet per bird in the run for these 20 meat birds???

    I was planning on the coop being about 12 x 8 feet elevated about 1.5-2 feet off the ground so chickens can get under it in the summer or whenever. I then planned to have one run that was along a fence line about 3' x 50' = 150 sq ft

    Plus a yard approx 12 x 10 = 120 sq ft.

    Plus the space under the coop = 96 sq ft

    Total run space = 366 sq ft. or enough for 36 "permanent" residents?

    Between these areas, if I'm figuring this correctly the above statement is true.

    HOWEVER, maybe I don't need the 3' x 50' run if I just have the 2-3 layers all the time and I could get away with approx 216 sq ft of yard space?

    Also, 96sq ft of coop space is overkill for 2-3 layers but is perfect for 24 full grown birds. If those birds are all gone at 12 weeks am I making the coop too big also? I don't want to waste money on materials if I don't have to.

    Does anyone know?
    Thank you Christine
  2. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    Meat birds don't need nearly the space as layers. They hang out by the food most of the time.
  3. Chickenfortress

    Chickenfortress Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2008
    Our stupid stinking meat birds needed about as much space as they could reach without extending their necks much. They rarely moved except to get to food or piles of excrement. Unless I was batheing them, then they moved a bit away from the faucet. On the plus side, you won't need roost space for them either. Ours would have popped if they had fallen from the roost. They slept on the ground even when I gave them the chick roost, and its only 3 inches off the ground.
  4. One Acre Wonder Farm

    One Acre Wonder Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2009
    I think a lot of this will depend on the type of meat bird you have but I've read that meat birds need about 2 sq ft/bird vs 4 sq ft/bird for laying hens. I've also read that meat birds poop A LOT! And will you feed them different feed than your layers? If so you may want them to be partioned from your layers.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You will want to have separate pens for your layers vs meaties. Really. For a whole variety of pretty good reasons.

    The more room you give your meaties (I assume you mean like CornishX ?) the more they will exercise... this will give you a more muscular carcass and likely less problem with heart attacks etc, but can also make the meat marginally tougher and cut down on their rate of weight gain. So you have to decide what you're after. FWIW, I raised 10 CornishX last fall in a 4x6 pen plus a 4x14 run and was very pleased with the results (because I processed half at 6 wks - it wouldn't have been enough indoor room to leave them *all* grow on further). But there are lots of other ways to do it too.

    FWIW, I have seen it suggested, and it makes sense to me, that it is actually worth letting your CornishX roos go *longer* than the hens, i.e. harvest the hens earlier than the roos, because the hens just are not going to get nearly as big so letting them go to 8,10,12 wks just won't get you much extra size. The only hazard with letting the males go longer before processing is that you are betting on them not having Problems before you get to them.

    Another thing to think about is having expansion room for if you decide you want more than just 2-3 permanent residents.

    If you want a 12x8 coop, you might divide it in half with a SOLID wall (meat birds STINK STINK STINK, no matter what you do!!) and use half for the meaties -- processing some earlier than others, to alleviate space problems as they get big -- and the other half for storage plus layers. You could give the meaties a 6x8ish run if you want them to get out and move around, and then have a separate run, as large as feasible, for the layers.

    I would strongly recommend against allowing the chickens under the full 8x12 coop, because you WILL have to go under there sometimes to clean or retrieve items or retrieve chickens, and you DO NOT want to be commando-crawling around in chicken poo in that size of space, really!! [​IMG] You could leave the 2-3' of it on the run side accessible to them, but I'd wall it off with something very strong and small-mesh, like 1/2 or even 1/4" hardwarecloth, so they can't get under the whole run (and make sure you digproof that part especially well, as it is just begging for a predator to try to dig in in the privacy of the coop's shelter).

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    I do cornish we put them in tractors as soon as they feather out! They make a big mess

    if you don't you spend to much on wood chips!
    & to much time cleaning

    I give them 4 square feet (if they don't have enough room it will stunt their growth!) oldtimer shared this with me & it seems to be true!

  7. christineandallie

    christineandallie New Egg

    Feb 18, 2009
    Ok well this is all good information, thank you!!!

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