The term chicken coop is a generic term. Your coop will work equally well for housing chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese or game birds.
Many people raise ornamental birds. When considering raising ornamental birds it is advisable to make your coop and outside runs at least 2 or even 4 times normal size to prevent plumage damage from outside run wire or a smallish coop.
If you put a poultry wire top on your outside run to prevent them flying out of your pen. You can also raise game type birds like guinea fowl, quail, pigeons, and pheasants. Some people refer to this arrangement as a fly pen.
When designing and constructing a fly pen don’t make the mistake of making it so low to the ground that you can not walk erect in the pen. Unless you are 3 foot 9 inches tall, a four(4) foot tall fly pen is way to low. Think about making your fly pen at least 6 feet tall.
Being frugal ‘Not Cheap’ I always start my new projects by visiting my local hardware (lumber) store. I ask them if they have any ‘Damaged’ lumber on sale at a bargain price. Warped or bowed lumber will work just fine in constructing your poultry house, outside run or fly pen. Damaged lumber can often be purchased for less than 1/2 the price of prime construction materials. Your poultry really will not care if you use a few damaged 2X4’s.
Don’t skimp on buying good quality hinges, latches and poultry wire. Using good quality hardware makes it much easier to keep predators like cats, dogs, racoons, skunks and such out of your poultry run and coop.
Sizing your coop to best fit your needs. Different birds have different space and roosting needs. Chickens benefit from having a roost. 12 inches of roost space per bird is recommended. Turkeys will seldom use an indoor roost. Ducks and geese are ground roosters and have no need for a indoor roost. With the exception of guineas most game birds are ground roosting birds.
Pigeons have quite different roost requirements. Please research their roost needs ‘before’ buying or trapping pigeons.
Chickens require at least 2 square feet of coop floor space. Ducks require 3 square of floor space and geese need 4 or more square feet of floor space.
A 4 foot by 8 foot 4X8=32 square feet. However you must remember some of that floor space will be occupied by roost, nest boxes, feeders and water containers. A 4×8 coop will house about 10 or maybe 12 laying hens. 8 ducks and about 4 turkeys or geese.
The outside run should be 2 or 3 times as large your coop floor space.
A coop that is 8 foot by 8 foot in size is a good size for the average backyard or tiny farmer. Healthy happy birds produce many eggs and quickly gain weight.
If you are unable to design your coop there are many University sites with fact sheets and design plans to assist you in designing and constructing you coop, outside run or fly pen.
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