second coop or add on your advice needed


10 Years
Apr 12, 2009
Pacific Northwest
Hi there, my 3 hens and rooster are 2 years old now (no plans to off them) and I got 4 Welsummer chicks (supposedly all girls). We have a hoop house type run over our small coop so we were planning on adding on to one end of the the run and having a separate coop for the newcomers. That is, in order to keep them separate from the older chickens until they (the Welsummers) are old enough to handle themselves with them. The idea was that they might all integrate in the end and the other coop could be a broody hen/hospital/time out coop.

Then I got to thinking about my ideal Chicken coop and run which was to have a coop surrounded by 4 fenced runs and each year rotating so that one run would be a fabulous weed free, well manured garden. I don't have room to do that but my husband has just rescued some land from the blackberries and we could do another separate hoop style run and coop. This idea being that the new chicks go in that and when they are about 3 months old the two tribes are integrated and the other coop and run left empty (actually the original coop and a tiny run could be separated from the main run for emergencies). This would cost a bit more money but in the end might allow me to rotate the coops and runs so that I get that garden and avoid a big toxic build up in the soil.

I hope I'm making sense (i.e. that you can understand my line of thought whether you think it's a good idea or not) Perhaps I am overly worried about the soil becoming quite toxic to the chickens themselves over time. Is that a legitimate worry??

Looking forward to getting some feedback on this. I do know that I can sometimes make things a lot more complicated than need be and am very happy with the good advice I've gotten here before.

I guess the first thing that popped into my head was how much chickens hate change, and that it would probably affect egg production for a few weeks. So if you rotate them to a different coop/run each year, I'd suggest doing it while they're molting, since egg laying decreases or stops then anyhow. It sounds doable. I'm not clear on the ground becoming "toxic," unless you're just meaning the poo building up??? But most folks rake their runs out every so often anyhow for compost, so I can't see that happening.
I'd also suggest, when integrating, moving the older chickens in with the youngsters. I think that the mature birds being a bit out of their element might help the younger birds get picked on less, since it's "their" territory.
Thanks teach1rusl,
The fall is when I would be doing that and I would be moving the older chickens in to where the young guys had been for at least a month first. Though thanks, I hadn't considered the disruption in egg laying.

And yes, the toxic I was referring to is the soil from the poo. This is something I do need to understand more. You see, I do rake up about (but only about twice a year so far) but there isn't really that much to rake up, mainly feathers. I figure it just gets scratched into the soil. A couple of years ago when I was reading everything I could about chickens I came across posts from people being concerned and replacing their soil not something I have the time or money to do. (and I can't seem to find those posts now)
I've tried to search to see whether this is really an important concern. I mean I am sure there are many people that have had the same coops and runs for decades so maybe this isn't an issue.

My ideal was to have the rotating runs mainly for great gardening but what made me think of doing it now was also the possibility that this run, in time will be host to a lot of things that can make new birds sick.

If you or anyone can clear me up on that or point me to where I can find more information I'd really appreciate it.

thanks again

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