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WHAT SIZE COOP & RUN FOR 40 LAYERS?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tomsrunpoultry, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. tomsrunpoultry

    tomsrunpoultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2012
    Very SW Corner of Pa
    I am getting ready to order 40 chicks of various breeds. All will be raised for laying. There will be an outside run for them. We see all four seasons here with winter sometimes being rather harsh. Experts please give me some advice as to size of coop and fenced run. I ask because I am new to this...thanks
     
  2. jamband

    jamband Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2011
    I say 2 sq ft per bird inside, most on here say 4 sq ft. Most on here will say 10 sq ft per bird in the run. I would say waaaaaaaaaay more than that and rotate the areas they have access to....Sustainable numbers in terms of the land handling it are somewhere around 50 birds/ acre

    So a 80 to 160 sq ft coop and a 400 to 40,000 sq ft run should work.[​IMG]

    Wow 40 chickens to start with.....go bi or go home right[​IMG]
     
  3. mb poultry

    mb poultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    i agree, 10 sq feet per bird in the run is not nearly enough if they are confined to it. Sure the birds have plenty of room, but the grass will be gone in a month. We have 30 layers in a 600 sq foot run,which is 20 sq ft a bird, and the grass lasted about a month. A few days a week we turn them into the yard for some greenery, and they don't destroy it.
     
  4. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    We've got a mixed laying flock of about 30 birds living in an 18'X15' single-stall barn, with a surrounding fenced yard that's about 90'X100'. They range in the yard all day. When we first put them out there five years ago, the yard was solid foxtail grass about two feet tall. Didn't take the girls long to knock all of that down and start digging; they destroyed a lot of the turf. Currently we have a surviving patch of grass (short foxtail, I'm sure, but they never let it head up) that they haven't gotten around to destroying yet; it's about 60'X20'. The rest of that great big yard is either mallows or bare dirt.

    So that's what just thirty birds can do to a very large yard, given time. If I could do things over, I'd build a coop in the middle of a "pinwheel" of four large yards, and rotate them quarterly. That, I think, would be the best approach.

    Can't recommend foxtail grass as a forage, incidentally. I have pulled so many foxtails out of eyes that it's gotten to the point where if I see a bubbly eye, I'm fumbling in my pocket for the tweezers.
     
  5. tomsrunpoultry

    tomsrunpoultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2012
    Very SW Corner of Pa
    First, I hope I am not making a mistake by starting with 40 hens. I wanted to have a little egg business along the way and everything I read talks about some of the problems of adding new layers to an older flock. So, I thought I should just start out with what I hoped to have all along.

    The run area is what concerns me. I can probably give them about 900 to 1000 sq ft, but that would be the limit. Any recommendations on what can be put down from time to time to keep the run from being just a mud hole. I have read that alfalfa is good.
     
  6. jamband

    jamband Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With that many chickens in that space t will be destroyed no matter what you do. Really the only way is to rotate them and give areas a break from the chickens and the poop.......like the other poster say 30 destroyed 1/4 acre pretty fast.
     
  7. Glasshen

    Glasshen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2012
    La Fayette, NY
    I have only six chickens, and they are barred rock and rhode island reds, two very "easy" types. They still have me hopping trying to learn "chicken things." These types are good layers, even in winter, supposedly, but there was a dip in eggs, and this was their first winter when they are most likely to lay. SO, if I was going to really try to have a business, I was thinking that I would not start out with the maximum number, but maybe a half or third and add each spring so I would always have young pullets laying some in the winter. And time to concentrate before having a heavy load. And time to build up customers...

    Just my ideas...We don't use all of the eggs the girls give us, so I deal eggs in the locker room at the gym and at yoga. I ask for only a dollar a half dozen, and people love the eggs! The girls are happy that they can contribute to their expenses, and I have fun! But sometimes The demand is more than we can satisfy...so if I had a barn, I'd be ordering more chicks now!
     
  8. RWD

    RWD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 2, 2011
    Wartrace TN.
    To give you an alternate idea, we build a 6'x14' portable coop that will hold 15-20 layers. The coop is on wheels and can be moved forward 14' each day, that way you do not graze and area all the way barren. Sometimes mine move every 3 days during the summer because re growth is faster. The house is elevated so it does not increase the footprint needed to house 20 hens. The house has 6 nest boxes and roost poles. The house is built to deter any type of predator. Look on my facebook page and go to photos, the one that shows a 6x14 being built should give you some good ideas. Also you would only need 2 to get to your forty hens.
     
  9. tomsrunpoultry

    tomsrunpoultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2012
    Very SW Corner of Pa
    Now some of you have me thinking about reducing the number of hens I start out with...and as for the run, I can maybe build two runs and alternate them. Is there anything I can do to the one resting to help it along when they return to it?
     
  10. claudicles

    claudicles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sydney, Australia
    Introducing birds is possible and can be low drama if you do it properly. I'd start small and increase. There are some threads on how to do it but the basic principal is to slowly expose the birds, via adjacent runs or soomething. taking out your top bird when you put the newbies in help too. A rooster makes it even easier.

    If you stick with a plan of a large flock to begin with have you thought about what to do as their laying drops off in a few years? Will you be adding more or culling the lot and starting fresh? That might effect your decision now.
     

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