1. ElioraImmanuel

    ElioraImmanuel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2010
    My DH will be building a coop or tractor here in the next week. By Mid July I will have about 50 laying hens. Which do I need? We are in NE Ohio.

    I have two large fenced in areas that they will share with our, very gentle alpacas. By the end of summer we will have 3/4-1 acre of additonal fenced pature. They will also be able to free range our 5 acres when DH fences in my garden, which will be w/i 4 weeks. The previous owner free ranged all of her flock (42 hens being the largest flock) w/o issues.

    Should I have a tractor or coop?

    I want my chx to be as natural as possible so do I avoid extra heat/light for the mature birds?

    What about roosting?

    How should I keep the water from freezing in winter?

    What type of flooring will be easiest to clean, but also safe for the birds?

    I'm thinking that there will be a short run or shoot to lead the chickens to which ever pasture they'll be in for that particular day and an additonal door to really free range.

    I'm not looking to be elaborate or expensive. At this point I just need what will accomplish the job.
  2. Dingleberry

    Dingleberry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2010
    If you have that much space I would do a coop. I have heard that sand ground is the easiest to clean. I covered my coop with the 12" square laminate floring. My other coop has the ability to drop down and get the woodchips out. The woodchips are compostable with their poo. If you do a enclosed run burry hard wire cloth or chicken fence so you don't get burrowing pests inside your run
  3. ElioraImmanuel

    ElioraImmanuel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2010
    We have the room, but if the tractor will meet our needs, I'd rather do that. We rent. Moving a coop would be impossible.

    I guess that I need to know if we need a coop because a tractor would be easier.

    I guess I also would need a fab design for a tractor that would house 50 birds![​IMG]
  4. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    You could build a coop in sections and put it together with screws, so if you had to move, just unscrew your screws and disassemble. I can't imagine a tractor large enough to hold 50 birds. If you built each section separate (floor, door, each wall, roof) you could still have a movable coop, should you have to move. I think I saw someone who had done something similar in the coop section. They had each section built separate and the pictures showed them laid out on the ground before they put them together. Good luck!
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    You can always build your coop on top of an old trailer as a base, too. That works pretty well and is very portable. To over-winter 50 layers in Ohio, I think you are going to need a decently sturdy structure to house them in. How much snow do you get there? That will be one of your most difficult issues in design. You need to consider the snow load and the fact that short little chickens don't handle deeper snow as well as large livestock.

    When we pastured our chickens with our sheep, we put the coop next to the paddock where we fed and watered the sheep every day. The chickens had a little run that was next to the paddock, with a little chicken sized door that could be opened and closed. I would let them in to join the sheep and then they would go off for the day together, to forage and graze in whatever area was open to them that day. They got along great and lounged around, resting in the grass together, too. It was really sweet. We never had a loss to hawks, when the chickens were in with the sheep. The chickens were really good about coming back to the coop to lay, too.

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