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One Large vs Three Small / Feedback Appreciated

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Diavolicchio, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    I've decided that I want to raise a decent numbers of chickens at the orchard, mostly for eggs, but some for meat and a few breeds for breeding. When all's said and done, my plan is to end up with 15 mature chickens each of 7 breeds (3 roosters and 12 hens), for a total of 105 chickens. I'm starting from scratch and want to give a lot of thought to the best coop design to use for this many birds. I'm planning to allocate 4 sq ft per bird, so it looks like I'll need 420 sq ft of coop space. I'm going to allow the chickens to all coexist, rather than separating them. When it comes time to breed the ones that I want, I'll simply use breeding boxes for the period of time necessary.

    My question is this: Does it make more sense to build one large structure (12' x 35') or is there any benefit to going with three smaller ones (10' x 14' each) located relatively close to each other? Just assume that the cost of going either way is equivalent. I'd really like to hear people's thoughts about the pros and cons of each. Would one set-up provide a better overall quality of life for the chickens? How so? Would there be any benefit to having 35 in the run at a time, rather than all 105?

    Thanks in advance for your input.


    John
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi John. Our climate is like yours so you may find some ideas in the winter link below or in other sections of the website. About having so may chickens of the same age at once- I wouldn't do it. Eventually all of the layers will decline in production and you could be left without marketable amounts of eggs and a lot of chickens to support. If it were me, I'd start with 20 or so and build up gradually. It also lessens the chance of disease. Setting up suitable biosecurity is tricky and best done as you study your property and birds. The other danger is getting in over your head with so many- that is a *lot* of work. Can you provide the amount of bedding needed, for example? What about severe weather- do you have sufficient square footage for when they may have to be indoors? Just my opinion...[​IMG]

    I think you will enjoy having fewer and developing your flocks over the years. [​IMG]
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Hmmm...I would think the costs involved in building three seperate units would be more expensive and more time consuming (more cuts of lumber...more wiring if electricity will be available, etc.). That was just my first impression, but since you said don't consider that...

    Before answering (thinking of health considerations), if they were seperated, would they be free ranging together, have one big run together, or three different runs w/the three diff. coops option???
     
  4. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    westchester
    3 different ones I think is best, or one large coop divided up. I say that cause you will want more than some breeding cages as I found they like space in which to mate (not always but it helps) it is also easier to deal with several smaller groups than one huge one where you are constantly pulling out birds and changing them up for breeding. I found when I move my birds around they require some time to adjust and I loose precious egg laying time and all that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  5. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:Lynne?

    You didn't address the question! [​IMG]


    John
     
  6. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:I'd have just one large open run. If I went the route of the three smaller coops (which is the direction I'm leaning) I'd only have one coop in the run at a time. Yes, a little more work, but I'm wondering if it may be better for the birds and their overall long-term health. If there's sickness of some sort, it's more likely to be isolated to one group, no?



    John
     
  7. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    5,772
    15
    269
    Dec 16, 2008
    westchester
    Quote:I'd have just one large open run. If I went the route of the three smaller coops (which is the direction I'm leaning) I'd only have one coop in the run at a time. Yes, a little more work, but I'm wondering if it may be better for the birds and their overall long-term health. If there's sickness of some sort, it's more likely to be isolated to one group, no?



    John

    somewhat as many diseases shed in the dander and really all they need is to share airspace or have you wear the same clothing from one pen to another to spread disease. You can section off the runs too if you want I did. I have a 8X12 coop with 3 seperate pens 1 large 2 small each with their own runs. But you could easily rotate allowing every pen to have a day outside every 3rd day. [​IMG]
     
  8. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    My other thought is this:

    Four of the breeds I'll be getting will be coming as 7 to 8 week old pullets and cockerels. I'd separate them into two breeds each per 8' x 16' coop. The remaining three breeds would be coming as fertilized eggs, would be two months behind the others in age and more likely to be overrun if mixed into a coop with birds 2 months older. I would put these three breeds into their own coop measuring 8' x 24'.

    Yes, I know there are chicken experts on here who are rolling their eyes thinking that I'm making this more elaborate and difficult than it needs to be, but I'm wondering if there would truly be a benefit to going this direction.


    John
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  9. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, John, I didn't answer the question because if you had a small flock, the answer would be self-evident.
    But since you press, I'd be inclined to go for separate housing because of biosecurity, unless you are prepared to subdivide the bigger structure into a hospital coop and physically-separated smaller flock and breeding pens.
     
  10. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:I like this approach a lot. It'll be interesting to see if many others do.


    John
     

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