Branchline Farms Coop Tour
Join Amanda from Meyer Hatchery as Brittany from Branchline Farms provides a tour of her coop! Branchline Farms is located in Wellington, Ohio and has the capacity to raise 400 chickens, in addition to Boer goats and show cattle.
Branchline Farms stands out from any of our previous coop tours for their large capacity set-up. Brittany starts her chicks in a saloon-style grow out coop behind their home. This coop is predator safe and provides the perfect environment for brooding chicks before transitioning them into the rest of their layer flock. The grow-out coop features two sections to help rotate different stages in age and can act as an overflow area as needed. The brooding area can comfortably hold up to 150 peeps until they reach 3-4 weeks of age.
Other features worth noting in their grow-out coop is the enclosed space to eliminate direct drafts, PVC feeders, and fans installed to help with circulation. You’ll also notice about 6 different free choice oyster shell and grit stations using clip-on coop cups throughout both coops. Branchline Farms recently transitioned from a sawdust flooring to sand, mixed with diatomaceous earth to help reduce odors. So far they like the change as the sand is easy to rake droppings for removal and it has substantially cut down on dust!
Nest boxes are lined with excelsior pads. If you’ve ordered your chicks from Meyer Hatchery, this is the bedding we use at the bottom of the shipping box. The sheets are easy to cut and make for a cost-effective nest pad for easy cleanup and clean eggs!
From the saloon-style grow out coop, Brittany takes Amanda into their barn where you’ll find Branchline Farms production layers along with their goats and cattle. The coop is divided into sections to allow for easy and safe integration as chickens transition from “grower” to “layer”. With winter looming, one heat lamp is securely hung above each waterer, in a clean area, elevated enough to reduce any associated risk. These strategically placed heat lamps provide enough ambient heat, eliminating the issue of frozen waterers. In addition, Brittany typically reduces waterers in the coop from 8 to about 3. This choice not only limits the amount of filling necessary but also helps with water flow to prevent freezing.
Branchline Farms produces about 150 eggs per day and they’re working to increase that number to 200. Keeping a consistent egg production number can be tricky when taking into account seasonal changes such as molting. When asked if Brittany had any tips to share she said: “Don’t rely on one nesting box”. With the number of chickens she has, some hens don’t like laying in the 20-hole nesting box, so she’s often finding eggs throughout her barn. She thinks setting up a few smaller nesting boxes would be of benefit versus one box.
Brittany comes from a 4-H background and attributes her joy to raising animals from her early education. When asked what some of her favorite breeds are, White Leghorns took first place for their consistent laying and egg shape. She also likes Rhode Island Reds, Black Australorps, and Barred Rocks for production. Welsummers offer a nice speckled egg mix to her market basket and she raises about 200 colorful layers for blue and green eggs.
While Branchline Farms does order from Meyer Hatchery, they are no strangers to our Bin Chicks, living near the hatchery. They like the economical variety it provides from Leghorns to Blue Ameraucanas!
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