What happens when chickens have a choice of 2 different coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PacsMan, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2009
    Salt Lake Valley
    Not sure if this belongs in Chicken Behaviors or Coop designs;

    I have about 900 sq feet of run in the corner of my lot. My 11 ladies stay out all day, and only use the coop for eating, drinking, and sleeping at night.

    I was noticing that 900 sq feet is pretty big for a flock of a dozen chickens and I’d like to add more birds.

    I’m thinking of building a 2nd coop and putting in off to the side of my run, in a different place than the first coop. If I build a 2nd coop, and don’t fence the run so that they can choose either coop to sleep/lay in, what will chickens do when they have a choice of 2 coops?

    I'm worried that it will be like building too many nests, and I'll have a wasted coop. Something like, "Oh, I built 6 nest boxes, but they only lay in 2 of them."

    Has anyone ever done this?

    What was your experience?

  2. mamaKate

    mamaKate Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    I've never tried it but I think you're right. Flocks usually stick together and the younger ones follow the older birds. Maybe you could extend the coop you have.
  3. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    depends how many roosters you have, the dominant one will stay in one coop and the rest will go to the other.
  4. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2009
    Salt Lake Valley

    We're in the suburbs and have neighbors...
  5. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2009
    Salt Lake Valley
    Anyone else have experience with this?
  6. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    This is how it works at my house.

    I have 4 coops, 3 with layers and roosters and one with just roosters.

    The only fenced one is the one with roosters so they always go back to the same coop.

    The other 3:
    Original flock and guineas- All continue to return to that coop
    Blue coop, Arucanas and couple of extras that were raised together, and were originally confined to that coop while chicks till I thought they were big enough at which time I hoped they would start going to the big coop. 6 months after the fence was removed they all return to the blue coop each night, not that they have not been caught checking out the big coop, even going in to steal the good food(same in both, but they think they are getting away with something). Newest coop fenced in because younger chickens, Just started letting them freerange, and each night they return to the new coop.

    So in my opinion, if they are raised in one area they will continue to return to that spot unless you force them to integrate with the other group you will always have seperate flocks.

    Note: mine all(except the Roos) freerange, and cross paths with each other, but they are like cliques in school, they pass, but rarely acknowledge the others.

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