Chicken House / June 3, 2018 / Maryellen.
Protection. You need to keep your chickens safe from all sorts of predators such as foxes coyotes hawks raccoons and rats just to name a few. The structure should be strong and no part of it should be able to be pushed over by a person. That is just the way I rate the strength of my coops...Could I push it over? If no then it is strong enough. There should be no way for rats or foxes to get into your chicken coop to kill your chickens. make sure the fencing goes all the way to the ground. You should also put the wire fencing down under the ground for about 1 foot out from the wire fence. This means when a fox digs at a fence they will simply hit the wire mesh and will eventually give up or try something else. Use mesh that raccoons cant get their arms through. I recommend using 1/2 inch square wire mesh for all the wire mesh fencing on the chicken coop. This will keep your chickens safe and it also looks quite attractive. Remember foxes are quite wily so check over your chicken coop plans to make sure they are predator proof.
Besides that its is useful to find out what breed of chickens you have at the moment or are planning to have in the future. Then you will need to make a decisionwhich means wanting to breed more chickens or just simply raise and take care of your hens. If you chose the former you will need to construct a bigger coop to accommodate the growing number of chickens. This means that you will have to expand your chicken house beyond its original size. Since chicken coops are similar to many other animal housings such as dog houses you can look for different features of the dog house and incorporate them into your coop. The most important aspect of a chicken coop has to be its durability. Chicken coops need to be resilient to harsh weather conditions such as the blazing heat or freezing cold. Besides that a properly built chicken coop will guarantee more productivity and better chickens.
Light. You need light in your chicken coop to stimulate egg laying. Particularly if you want your hens to lay eggs all year round. As a rule of thumb you should have 1 light every 40 feet inside you chicken building. If you are just building a small chicken coop it will be sufficient to have a single light above the watering/feeding section. As a bonus the light(s) will also be a source of heat for your chickens in the colder months. Perches. Your chickens have a natural instinct to perch so you must provide them with appropriate perches otherwise they will perch on nesting boxes feeders and anything else around the coop. This would then lead to these important areas getting covered in droppings which is certainly undesirable. It is as simple as using broom handles for your perches. Again it is important that your chickens have adequate space on the perches so as a rule of thumb allow 8 inches of perch space per chicken. To make it easy to keep the chicken coop clean slip some trays under the perches so the droppings land directly in them you can then pull the trays out to clean them.
Chickens can be let out from the main door or sometimes a smaller door is included in a small chicken coop that can be opened to let the chickens out. Small Chicken Coops will usually not contain the kinds of additional equipment that is found in larger coops; for the most part a small chicken coop is a very utilitarian structure that involves a lot of manual intervention on the part of the breeder. A small chicken coop should be kept simple in order to focus on the raising of healthy happy chickens that have a high egg output. Removing all of the additional contraptions from a small chicken coop settles the chickens and keeps them more comfortable. As coops increase in size the quality of housing for the chickens within tends to decrease making a small chicken coop that much more attractive for the small breeder.
When selecting chicken coop plans to build from you really need to consider more than just the look/aesthetics of the chicken coop designs. Sure its important to have a nice looking chicken coop that fits your overall backyard design but there are some other very important things that need to be incorporated into whatever plans you choose. Space. There is a certain amount of space that your chickens need to be healthy and happy. You must allocate 4 square feet of floor space per chicken. Therefore a flock of 20 chickens should be enjoying an 80 square foot chicken coop. Do not skimp on space. In fact it is better to allocate more space if anything. If your chicken coop becomes overcrowded your chickens quality of life becomes reduced and can cause feather picking and in extreme cases can even cause cannibalism. This is obviously an outcome you want to avoid so never overcrowd your coop.