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Meat bird Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickney, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. chickney

    chickney In the Brooder

    I have already placed an order for 25 meat birds this summer and I have started to brain storm of what kind of coop to make for them. I have heard from my friends that their meat birds were not very active the type I am getting are called Cornish X. I prefer making coops up at least 2 ft so the birds are able to hang out underneath. Will this work with meat birds? Are they two inactive to walk up a tred to their coop? The next thing is the space for the birds. I have a dog kennel that I am going to convert into a run. The dimensions are 20ft by 20ft, is this too little space for meat birds to hang out? I was planning on getting some feed back and possibly making the pin larger maybe double that and placing the coop 2 ft above ground. The last thing I would like advice on is the size of the coop. I am planning on butchering at about 5 weeks or so until the birds are large enough. Does this mean I need roosting poles? How big should the coop be? Could I do double story with meat birds? Any advice is helpful. So far for building materials I have an apple bin and other recycled wood I am going to use.

  2. missnu01

    missnu01 Songster

    Nov 16, 2012
    I have heard that meat birds will act like any other chicken if you give them the chance...except they won't limit their own feed...so only feed them so much everyday and they won't get all lazy...at least this is what I have heard, and what I plan to do. They will look for their own food if you make them. I plan on having mine in a separate coop, with limited feed during the day, and lots of free range time in the yard. That way they hopefully won't keel over before I am ready to eat them.
  3. chickney

    chickney In the Brooder

    With our other birds we have a pin and open the gate to let them free-range if they choose to. I think I will do this with the meat birds and then feed them in the evening to get them back into the pin and coop area when the predators come out. Thanks for your advice. Should I build my coop with no anticipation of them roosting?
  4. the1honeycomb

    the1honeycomb Songster

    Apr 23, 2010
    Yadkinville NC-3yrs
    I have raised meat birds and they didn't leave the run once they got a little older. I tried to get them to free range when they were older but they got to lazy. I just treat them the way the other birds are and then process them when you are ready. Mine did roost while they were young.
  5. Peacefield Farm

    Peacefield Farm Hatching

    Jan 5, 2013
    We raise our meat birds in an open floored cage, with half of it covered for shelter. We move the coop everyday for fresh grass/bugs/etc.

    The cornish X will certianly become less active as they get older and won't be able to make it up the slightest incline.
  6. chickney

    chickney In the Brooder

    Thanks everyone!
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  7. chickney

    chickney In the Brooder

    This was the info I was asking for. What are your coop dimensions and number of chickens?

  8. bob98247

    bob98247 Hatching

    Aug 28, 2010
  9. chickney

    chickney In the Brooder

    Wow, Thanks for that link! I will not have a field, but I have a more confident idea of checking out their coops.
  10. MimiEggs

    MimiEggs In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2012
    Rusk, Texas
    Last year we increased our laying flock, so our original coop and enclosure became too small. Moving the girls to the larger area left us with an empty coop and run. Not wanting to waste this very nice coop and run, I thought hey I'll get some meat birds and brood them in the coop, then when they are old enough to go outside all I have to do is open the pop door and they are home, everything will be great.


    My 25 Cornish X meat birds are the stupidest birds I have ever seen! I believe they "bred the brains outta these birds". As planned I brooded them on the floor of the coop and they are now 5 weeks old.

    I opened the pop door at 3 weeks of age because they were fully feathered and I wanted them to get some natural sunlight. I moved their water and feed "outside" to encourage them to "go look" for food and water (as in forage). Hahahahahah, after 2 hours of the pop door being open, they were still inside the coop screaming for food and water. Okay ya need a little help here, so I carefully chunked each one through the pop door to give them the idea -- go this way, food is out here, etc.

    This particular coop is about 2 feet off the ground, made that way for additional predator proofing at night and as an additional shade area for my layers, which also means it has a ramp to go up and inside. Okay so once outside they just stood there, like--now what? I put the feed and water sort of half under the coop and half not under, basically right in the middle of them. As of today they have not gone back into the coop (like 14 days now), although a few of them have "sat on the ramp". We had a cold front come through so I ended up covering the wire that surrounds the underside of the coop with plastic sheeting to help keep the cold air and wind off of them. All the while there is a nice heat lamp "inside the coop" 24/7, gee guys all ya gotta do is walk towards the light and you'll be nice and warm and cozy. But NO, they still won't go inside.

    I can see the coop and run from my kitchen window so I am always looking out there to check on their progress. Three days after I chunked them out the coop door and they had not come out from under the coop so when I went out to feed and water that day, I thought I would move the f & w containers about 5 feet out to the open area of the pen and into the sunshine. You would think they would have followed me (and the feed dish), but NO they just stayed right there screaming for food. It has took me several days of slooooly moving the f & w containers 1 foot at a time to get them out in the sunshine.

    Apparently they also bred out the preening gene because I have yet to see one clean itself. They are fairly dirty and I desperately want to give about 6 of these little boogers a bath, and may yet before this is over. Today I am going to put an entire bag of shaving under the coop house, for warmth as we will have a freeze tonight and tomorrow night, and to hopefully get rid of the smell that is now eminating from under there.

    Now let me say this, I have NOT followed normal feeding schedule for Cornish X. For one thing I do not want them getting too big too fast, please no heart attack here. So they are not growing so fast that one could say they are "fat and lazy". They are simply stupid.

    My recommendation: DO NOT waste your time and money on anything even remotely elaborate for Cornish X meat birds. They will not in any way appreciate your efforts. Of course you will have to have a warm, dry place to brood them out, but once they leave that area they only need ground space and shelter from the elements (and predators). Polyface Farms (Joel Salatin) has a great pen design you could modify for a backyard application. His pens are 10 feet X 12 feet X 2 feet high and they house 75-100 birds. You could cut that down to 5 feet X 6 feet X 2 foot high and have ample room for 25 birds. The only problem you and I will have (since we are not moving the pen every day) is the smell, so adding pine shaving to the ground will help (should) with this. Compost out those shavings for 120 days (or longer) and you have some great mulch for your flowers. The pen my meat birds are in measures 12 feet X 20 feet, they have yet to wander into half that space.

    On the roosting poles I believe the reason they don't "give" Cornish X a place to roost is because since they get so big so fast, and because they don't move around like a normal chicken you end up with a bird that is always roosting, which results in bruised breast meat from the weight of the bird resting on it's breast all the time.

    Good luck.
    1 person likes this.

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