Changing the chicken set-up...
I was talking to the wife tonight and we were discussing building a new chicken coop. Our set-up now is an 8' x 18' coup with a 16' x 18' enclosed run. It has worked very, very well for the last 5-years. But it is actually attached to my barn and I want to encorporate the existing coup space into my barn renovation.
My question is this. If I plan to have approx 50-layers...how big should the coop be? How many laying boxes?
We have probably 30ish hens now in the existing coop and they seem to do very well, but I do not know if it is optimum or small for that many birds??? I was thinking of building the new coop 16' x 16'. We are doing away with the run and letting them free-range. That is the second question...how do we train the existing chickens that are used to captivity to come back to the coop every evening? Or will that not be a problem...?
Will they be laying eggs all over the place or will they use the laying boxes in the coop?
We have had free-range chickens before...but they never went into the coop at all...they roosted in trees and in my barn with the goats.
Any insight or comments would be appreciated.