Production Poultry Coops
Production Poultry Coops for Meat Birds
If you are interested in raising chickens for meat, not eggs, you will need a coop with different requirements. Poultry raised for meat are commonly called “meat birds” and in the case of chickens are usually a different breed of chicken than those used as laying hens.
Coops for meat birds should be larger so that you can raise 50, 100, or more birds at a time. You will need to make sure your birds have protection from rain and wind the same as laying hens. They do not need roosts because meat birds do not really like to roost. There is no need for nesting boxes since there are no laying hens.
The size of a poultry production coop depends on whether the chickens will live full-time in it, or have access to an outside run or larger portions of pasture, be free ranged or if it will be a movable coop which can be moved to fresh pasture every few days.
Decide on Square Footage
The amount of square footage will be determined by the amount of chickens you plan to raise and if you are keeping a breeding stock in the same coop. It is always better to build or buy a coop larger than you are anticipating using. This protects against needing more space in the future if you decide to expand your flock.
Allow for a minimum of 2-3 square feet per bird inside the coop, and about 4 square feet per bird in the outside run. These are minimum numbers…more space is always better! During winter months, allow for additional square footage per bird. Space is determined based on the breeds you choose, remember the bigger the chicken, the more space the chickens will need. Meat birds are big birds and will require more space than laying hens. Most chicken problems like pecking and aggressiveness can be stopped with more space. Plan for a large sized coop that you can fit in your yard and/or afford.
Consider Which Features You Need
For the urban or suburban homesteader, you may need to consider aesthetics and security of the flock more than poultry coops in a rural setting. There are many plans for chicken coops that look attractive and sometimes they have some elaborate designs.
Coops and tractors must have ventilation, so that gases from bird’s respiration and poop do not build up inside. Chickens love shade, so a coop and run should include shady spots. Areas where hens can dust bathe is a nice addition. This can be as simple as a box filled with dirt or sand if there is n0t a spot on the floor of the coop. Hens with access to outdoors will find places for their dust baths.