Short term use coops for meat chickens? Need coop advice!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by R_Chickens, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are looking to raise 4 small flocks of 25-50 Cornish X roos for meat this summer. The first two will be 2 weeks apart to allow us to get our butchering methods down and not overload us the first time in *many* years.

    The second two flocks will be as large as we think we can handle in a session (up to 50 each). Looking to put meat in the deep freeze for a few of our families.

    I've looked at the coop designs and am leaning towards an A-frame as these will only be raised 8-10 weeks each. I want to move the run between batches so we don't have to clean up chicken poop. We have plenty of room to move it around in the field- not a yard, so leaving the poop to decompose and be tilled in place is okay.

    We can lift with a backhoe, so weight isn't a problem.

    Cost and security is the issue.

    We want low cost, yet secure. Looking to use hardware cloth. Will have a raised, very basic coop.

    What do we do about the floor of the run? Wire? If no floor, how do we keep it secure from the edges to prevent predators? Electric fence is okay to install for us, too.

    Our predators include just about everything except Kumodo Dragons! ;)

    What is the minimum size I need per 25 birds? I am guessing not as much room as for our long term egg layers? How much shade do they need?

    I know these birds are unique in a lot of ways, so anything special to accommodate them in a coop/run? Is there a problem with them getting up a ladder into a coop near the end of their plump time?

    Advice, pics, gotchas, questions, all welcomed!

    We are in the woods in Western PA. The coops are in an open field backed by woods. Over 90F here is rarely anything extended. We're mostly much cooler than the local towns.

    Thanks in advance!

    - JC
     
  2. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the link to the hoop-coops! It took me a while, but I went through all 234 posts. Good stuff! I *really* like the idea, including for a greenhouse.

    I'll call TSC tomorrow and see their prices for the cattle panels. We picked up a few last fall for the farm, but I don't remember the price. FYI, to haul them, lay them flat on the ground, stand on it and lift the end and roll it up in the air and back down to the middle. Have your buddy hold it in place and start rolling it up. Tie it closed and load the bundle in the back of the truck!

    I didn't realize the original plans (someone was kind enough to post a pdf) were 9ft wide. That's great!

    I guess I'll need at least 3 of the doubles (at 8' long) for 25 chickens to get enough sq footage? That really seems like a lot to me?

    - JC
     
  4. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We built this for 50 Freedom Rangers. I could move it alone every day. We had the chicken wire so we used that but we will likely add hardware cloth for the next batch to increase security.
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice and simple! Is there any reason they need a higher coop than that?

    Update: Tractor Supply has a number of panels in our area. They range in price from $21.99 to $74.99. The cheapest was the "Cattle Panel" which is listed at 16', but doesn't specify the height. I called the store and the salesperson confirmed they are 48" tall. Item 3502077.

    I was thinking about the hoop-coop, but since I would have to add hardware cloth over it and it would have a triangular frame with a ridgeline post, why not just make a triangular coop as some others have? Trying to save materials.

    But now I see krcote's idea of keeping it low and large area may be the best materials-conservative method.

    I would likely allow about a foot of hardware cloth overhang from the bottom all around to anchor and prevent digging of predators. Likely use tent stakes or something.

    What about field mice and snakes? We get them in the summer and they would likely go right under the coop :eek:

    I'm planning to make a small coop, with the run as we're discussing. Too many hungry predators here ;)

    - JC
     
  6. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    for the mice and snakes going under the edge, attach a wire apron and secure it with tent stakes so little creepy crawlies can't get in!
     
  7. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another question: What about the floor of the run? Use one or not?

    If the chickens are going to forage in the grass, would 2x4 welded fencing be okay? I am going to use 1/2 x 1/2 hardware cloth on the sides and top, but that wouldn't let droppings clear out of the bottom if I used that. What about predator exposure with 2x4?

    Or should I go without a bottom floor and just extend the hardware cloth on the sides and extra foot or so all the way around and stake it to the ground around the perimeter?

    Getting to the point when I have to settle on a design....ordered 150 Cornish X for this year (50 for beginning of May, 100 for end of Aug).

    Thanks!
     
  8. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used 2"x4 fencing for run and have had runs with fencing under them and fencing laying flat away from the runs. Watching a chicken try and scratch through 2"x4" wire seems frustrating for the chicken. I perfer to have the fencing on the outside of the run and let the chickens scratch and dig to there hearts content. Make the predators dig through the wire instead.
     
  9. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My emphasis above. That's what I was wondering about. Thanks!

    I think I am going to go with the extra fence on the sides and run it down and then 90 degrees along the ground for about a foot or so and stake it instead of a "floor."

    - JC
     
  10. ChicknGuy

    ChicknGuy New Egg

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    I like that, do you have plans for that?
     

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