I'll try just making actual little houses.
Do you know if they need to be fairly close to the actual villagers or as long as the new houses are pretty much in the general vicinity of the original village I should be good.
I guess I could also just make a fenced in system on the outside of the house they are trapped in and plant a garden out there and let them grow their own stuff, I think one of them is a farmer. Come to think of it, they trade fish, coal, and string. so maybe neither is a farmer. that might not work.
The villagers have to be close enought to detect it as a house. According to the Wiki on Village Mechanics, that distance is 16 blocks horizontal and 3 blocks vertical. Here's the link:
The Wiki on villagers indicates that all brown robed villagers will tend crops... and I do notice the crops changing even in the sections of my village that don't actually have a farmer in them... I only have 2 farmers for 20 villagers right now and those 2 farmers don't have access to all the farm crops... just some... but the "rows" I plant do wind up getting mixed up from time to time... indicating that the villagers are indeed harvesting and replanting... just not in the neat rows I put in.