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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Northwest_NC_Chicken_Man, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Northwest_NC_Chicken_Man

    Northwest_NC_Chicken_Man In the Brooder

    Dec 16, 2008
    Elkin, NC
    First of all my name is MJ. I live in beautiful northwestern NC in a little town called Elkin. In the spring I am going to start raising chickens. I will tell you my plans and thoughts and I would like to here yalls thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you so very much and God Bless!

    1- I am going to build a 4’ x 8’ chicken coop with a 20’ x 8’ run. It is going to be something like this


    Thanks “Baker’s Dozen” and all the others that have posted information and pictures of there coops. I got some good ideas.

    2- I am going to get Oprington Buff Chickens. I love them and my wife does too. I picked out 6 birds and showed them to her and she picked the Orp Buffs. I love my wife!

    3- I plan on building a smaller lot for about 5 hens and 1 cock to be in and just leave there eggs alone.

    Here is where I need all the help and advice.

    I have looked around on the net and found that at Murray McMurray Hatchery I can get 25 Buff Opr Hens for $59.50. Well on Meyer Hatchery I can get 50 Buff Orp Hens for $66.50. People at work say McMurray is real good & I have never heard of Meyer but I seen it here on the forum as a listed hatchery so I guess they are good too.

    I say go for the 50 chicks, what do yall think?

    Is my coop and run going to be big enough to handle 50 (4x8 coop, 10 nesting boxes, & 20x8 run)?

    If 50 is too much, is 25 going to do it? I would love to have 50 but no more than that. Not right now anyways.

    If not what do yall suggest?

    Is the 5 hens and 1 cock going to be fine left alone to make some chicks?

    Any and All suggestions, ideas, and comments are welcome. Once again thanks for the help and God Bless.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Hi and welcome to BYC.
    I know Elkin fairly well, having lived in Asheville, Weaverville & Barnardsville.
    First thing I gotta tell ya, you're gonna need a bigger coop!
    For standard chickens you'll need at least 4 sq. ft per bird in the coop, double that amount in their run. You can get away with a little less than that if you have a huge run or you free-range.
    Crowded conditions can lead to all sorts of troubles and is best avoided.
    You can start small and increase flock size as you build more coop.
    Meyer and McMurray are both reputable hatcheries, but I've never used them so I'll let others chime in on that.
  3. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    If ya order 25 hens odds are you'll still get at least 1 roo. Taking him an 5 hens an putting them in a separate pen leaves ya with 19. OK for your run but crowded for your coop(house). If your run is covered you could get away with it but 8 by 8 would be better.

    But you could also cull an only keep the best 16. 5 hens an a roo as a breading cage an 10 hens in your 4X8 coop an cover at least part of your run. Still crowded but doable. [​IMG]
  4. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area

    I am also a newbie -- so I can't help (although from what I have learned so far - I think that your coop is too small for 50 chickens and barely enough for 25).

    Good luck!! Keep asking questions -- the experts will give you answers here!!

  5. william9792

    william9792 Songster

    Nov 23, 2008
    graham, nc
    i have a 10x20 coop and 15x60 run, and about 30 RIR's and 5 roos, sometimes it seems small for them. I say start small then make it bigger if you want more. you have to know it takes lots of time to keep it all up when you get alot, i have seen people take on to much to fast and it cause lots of problems. so go slow and good luck. william
  6. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    It will cost more, but I'd double the size of that coop.... I have an 8 X 12 and it's barely big enough for the 24 hens that I have, but I am going to start culling/processing soon. Also the coop that you picked out has a linoleum floor... smart move as it makes cleanup a breeze... we sweep and mop our coop once a week and used the shavings/droppings as fertilizer for the garden.

    Welcome to BYC. I have one Buff Orp hen... She is still to young to lay (16 weeks old now) she is mean to the 13 week old Cinnamon Queen that I have, but I suppose that is a pecking order issue.

    I always say that variety is the spice of life so get a variety of chickens and that way you can decide which ones you prefer. I love my leghorns because they are tiny but they lay BIG eggs... but if I ever decide to process them, there won't be much meat on their bones.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  7. You need AT LEAST 4 sq ft per hen and this should NOT include the roost area. So 20 hens times 4 is 80 sq ft., plus you need 10 hens per roost at 10 ft across and 1 ft front to back which takes you to 10 more sq ft plus another 10 more sq ft for the other 10 hens.
    They have to have an area to roost beyond the area for scratching around. So you would be up to 100 sq ft for 20 hens. This is not alot of space for them. You have to give them room or they will end up pecking each other. They also have to be able to get out during the day to stretch and scratch. Remember you will add nesting boxes and you need an area for food and water that is NOT in the run for bad weather.

    I have 40 chicks in a 7 x 10 area (70 sq ft.). They have a roost, food and water and they are less than 5 weeks old. I figure if I was going to keep them in there, I would need 4 times that amount of space as they will get 4 times bigger.

    So 70 sq ft. times 4 gives me 280 sq ft. for 40 chicks. This would include an area for roosting and feed/water. This woud be about the smallest I would go because I am not a fan of replacing the litter every week.

    My building is an 10 x 16 portable. I could house up to 20 adults in this comfortably. I used this building with about 2/3 of this space for 24 meat birds. In the end it was VERY crowded and I lost a few due to cannabalism, pecking and injury.

    Meat birds do not need a lot of space to stretch, but they do get big fast. Furtunately it was over in 10 weeks. If I was going to do it again I would order 12 birds for this space. 2/3 of 160 sq ft is about 105 sq. ft. So really you are using about 8 sq ft per bird to make it decent. The meat birds never went out. Thinking about it a 2x4 area per bird is just not that much remembering I do not let them out in a run.

    I have a bit over 100 chickens in a fiarly big barn. They do free range and use the barn for roosting, eating and drinking and a shelter during inclement weather. They have lots of places to roost and seem pretty happy. I think it is just enough and I plan to keep the flock at about or a little over this number. I have at least 15 bantam chickens and they are pretty small.

    Today was a very cold day. Most of the birds were in the barn. Many of them were roosting, but a good number were on the ground scratching and being a chicken. I do think they were just about right in space without pecking on each other.
  8. Splash_Guard

    Splash_Guard Set Free

    Dec 3, 2008
    I know nothing about Meyer, but know that McMurrary does employ qualified personnel who can answer any questions you have about their products and about raising chickens in general. If you choose to order from McMurray, get your order in early as there is sometimes a 4 month waiting list. You don't have to order from them to get information, just call.

    Only other suggestion is to deduct square footage for accommodating feed, water and laying boxes. I didn't think about that and mine are a bit crowded. I now see that rimshoes has already given that advice, never mind.

    Good luck to you and happy chickie raising.
  9. peeplessinNC

    peeplessinNC Songster

    Oct 23, 2008
    NC Piedmont
    MJ, have you heard of Shook Poultry in Claremont, NC? They do not ship so you would have to drive to get them. Claremont is right off I-40, about an hour from you. They have Buff Orpingtons, too.

    Here is a link:


    No affiliation, just help with a local source.
  10. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    Endless Mts, NE PA
    Is the 5 hens and 1 cock going to be fine left alone to make some chicks?

    The eggs will be fertile, if you want to collect them for incubating, but unless the hens are broody, they won't hatch them on their own.​

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