Want to try broilers! Help!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 4, 2012
Cabot, AR
Ok, I have looked all over the internet and read different things. My wife and I have decided we want to try to raise some cornish rocks this coming spring. Before we get to spring though I would like to get everything set up. We are planning to get 25 in March and see how it goes. We are building a 4foot by 4 foot brooder. I figured that would give the chicks plenty of room until they are ready to be out from the heat lamp. From there we plan to move them to an enclosed pin as we are limited on our space. We planned to make half of the pin covered with tin for protection from the weather and the other half covered with chicken wire. OUr main question is how big does this chicken pin need to be to house 25 broilers until they are 8-9 weeks old? I would appreciate any help! Thanks!
Are you planning on a moveable pen (chicken tractor) or will it have to stay in one place?

For comparison I put 12-15 in my 5x9 foot tractor and move it every day. Like so:

If you read 'Pastured Poultry Profits' you'll find that they really pack them in there -- 75 in a 10x12 pen I believe, which is 1.6 square feet per bird [not counting the space taken up by feeders and waterers].

Using those numbers I could put all 25 in my 5x9 (45 square feet, 1.8 sq ft per bird) but... I wouldn't.

The pen will not be moveable since we are limited on space. I have some plans I have drawn up for a 10x10 pen but wasnt sure if that would really be big enough for 25 of them, especially if only half of it is covered and half with just chicken wire for the top.
We had 25 in an area about 3x10. It got a little squishy towards then end and ended up moving them to a little bigger area. We probably could have made it work in the 3x10 area. We put them in a big cardboard box until they were big enough to not need a heat lamp.
The Aggies say:
Provide at least 2 square feet of floor space per broiler. Openings on three sides of the building provide plenty of fresh air for the birds. Plastic sheeting can be used to close sides during brooding and in cold weather. Make certain the concrete or dirt floor is at least 6 inches above ground level to prevent flooding. The roof overhang should be sufficient to effectively protect against blowing rain.

I think your 10 X 10 area would be fine for 25. They may fill it up towards the end, but it should give them enough room. The only thing I might do differently would be to cover the entire pen or at least 2/3 of it. That will give them room to get out of direct sunlight and yet not be crammed up together -- sometimes it can get warm, even in spring. In case of rainy/windy weather you could always cover it with a tarp.
10x10 should work fine for 25 birds. I'm planning to build another 5x10 tractor and split my batch between them, which is about the same thing. :)

How are you planning to deal with the litter? If you build solid sides up to... at least a foot, maybe more, then you could do deep litter and not have to scoop it out until they're done. (Just stir it around and add more shavings.) Otherwise you'll need to bed it with something absorbent and muck it out regularly. Be prepared for a LOT of manure and the smell. (See the thread on fermented feed, which apparently helps.)

Chicken wire is only good for keeping chickens *in* not for keeping predators *out*. Unless you have another line of defense, you might find that something else ate your chicken dinner! I also vote for a full solid roof, as well as one solid wall and two half-walls, and hardware cloth for the open bits.


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