Over the past month my husband has been working tirelessly on getting our new meat bird coop built. Because we’ve had such a late start to spring, he put it together in our Quonset while waiting for ice and snow to melt. This put us behind schedule as our pullets transitioned from our laundry room, to the garage and finally into the coop at 4 weeks of age.
Being the smart man he is, my husband made the floor and walls in sections. Each piece, either carried manually or moved to the site via the tractor bucket. When things thawed enough, placement and final construction of the coop was flawless!
The finished inside measurements came out to about 7ft x 7ft. With an added “poop shelf” level and roosting bars. This would be sufficient space as a brooder and night shelter for 30-50 meat chickens and a few turkeys.
**Keep in mind, the meat birds will only be kept until 8-10 weeks of age prior to butcher**
The poop shelf can serve dual duty in the sense that chicken wire panels can be added to turn the space below the shelf into a protective and warm brooder area for smaller chicks. Their main function however is to keep 100% of the floor space available for birds that do not have the ability to roost, such as our Cornish Cross meat chickens.
Outlets were installed at the proper level to accommodate multiple heat lamps and so on. A small space heater, full insulation and ventilation will allow us to use the coop year round, no matter the outside temperature.
Birds of every stature can access the outside pen via the fold down ramp. The gradual incline is perfect for the Cornish Cross breed and the poultry door is large enough for good sized turkeys at 4-5 months of age.
Because we needed to rebuild our entire outside enclosure for both the egg layers and the meat birds this made things easy to design. A separated, two part pen will allow everyone the ability to get a little sunshine while staying safe. No worries over the old hens pecking the young chicks and so on. Once the meat birds find their way into the freezer, the dividing door can be opened to allow the layers full use of both spaces.
For the younger meat birds, a wind and rain sheltered feeding station is available at the far end of the pen. As the turkey’s grow larger, this will also give them a sheltered area to eat while keeping the food out of the coop.
Plastic deer fencing covering the top of the pen enclosure lends another layer to keep our birds safe. Eagles, owls, hawks…will not find lunch here! As the birds will be fully cooped at night, other predators such as raccoons, weasels or coyotes could get in but will have no access to the poultry in the coops.
From the garden side of the coop, I will never have to worry about birds messing with my vegetables! In the future I may look into adding an access door to allow the birds to scratch through the garden remnants during late fall.
We are pretty pleased with the setup we have. The new coop’s functionality will be awesome! Never again will my laundry room be subjected to the dust, dirt and poop of newly hatched flock members!
Only one more item is left to be made – a screen door. By adding a screen door such as the one we have on the layer coop, the meat birds can remain inside on rainy day. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the feel of the outside while keeping their head dry?!