https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/how-to-raise-chickens.47660/ for starters.Great ideas. Thank you
Would you be able to link a few articles that you think are helpful?
He also wants a variety of breeds, not just one or two breeds. These breeds must also be heat hardy, because in SC weather could be unbearably hot at times.
@aart, @3KillerBs, + everyone else - What should the dimensions of the coop be (he is planning to build it himself), if they are trying to get 15-20 chickens?
First, this ^^^ is excellent, as always.I've had excellent luck for heat tolerance with Australorps and, surprisingly, Brahmas. Also my California White, though she's not really a dual purpose and will eventuallly make a very scrawny stew hen. Really, any of the common, popular dual-purpose birds are widely adaptable for many climates.
One thing that I think has helped me has been that between the two flocks I've gotten most of my birds from Ideal. Since Ideal is in Texas their breeding flock is automatically selected for hot weather tolerance.
The Usual Guidelines
For each adult, standard-sized hen you need:
- 4 square feet in the coop (.37 square meters)
- 10 square feet in the run (.93 square meters),
- 1 linear foot of roost (.3 meters),
- 1/4 of a nest box,
- And 1 square foot (.09) of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation, preferably located over the birds' heads when they're sitting on the roost.
- 60 square feet in the coop. 8'x8' is easier to build than 6'x10'
- 15 feet of roost
- 150 square feet in the run. 10'x15', 12'x12' or 8'x20'
- 15 square feet of ventilation.
- 4 nest boxes.
They should consider an Open Air style coop -- which is essentially a roofed run with a 3-sided shelter on the windward end. My Neuchickenstein is that type: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/large-open-air-coop-in-central-nc.1443812/ Here in the Steamy Southeast we may need at least double the minimum recommended ventilation OR deep shade so as not to turn our coops into rotisseries.
- 80 square feet in the coop. 8'x10' is the most practical because 7'x12' or 6'x14' require a lot of weird cuts.
- 20 feet of roost
- 200 square feet in the run. 10'x20', 12'x16' or 8'x25' as suits the land available.
- 20 square feet of ventilation.
- 5 nest boxes.
Here are a couple other Open Air coops (the first one is the one that inspired me):
And this article is a must-read to understand why the Usual Guidelines are *guidelines* not *rules*: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/how-much-room-do-chickens-need.66180/
Not sure if it's just some TSC stores that are like this, but mine had a different selection of breeds every couple of weeks and some batches were straight run, others were sexed. If your folks want something specific they should talk to their local store's manager to find out if/when they'll get some in. I went in looking for either Orpingtons or barred rocks and just got lucky that it was an Orpington week (along with ISA browns and straight run Australorps if I recall). A couple weeks later it was Wyandottes and a couple other different ones that I forget.
We recommend big overhangs and undereave venting - its weather protected, easy to frame, and provides easy 24/7/365 ventilation. But sheet metal roofing, which is very popular for a host of reasons (cost, ease of correctly installing, durability) is usually sold in either an 8' length or a 12' length - and you would MUCH rather cut lumber than tin. Trust us on that. So as a practical matter, single slope "shed-style" roofs are easiest to build over structures are best at 6' (with an 8' roof panel), 8 or 10' (with a 12' roof panel), or 14' with a pair of 8' panels. 14' is also easy if you do a traditional hip roof, with an 8' panel falling of either side of the center line.