Chicken House / June 8, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
Choose a coop kit size appropriate for your chickens. There are different sizes of coop kits available in the market. If you have small a number of chickens and you are not planning to expand it then a small coop is applicable. A standard 4x4 coop will house 3-4 standard hens comfortably. However if you have a big number of chickens a bigger coop is needed to house all of them comfortably. Remember each adult chicken needs 4 square feet of free space thus a 4x4 coop provides 16 square feet of space for 4 chickens. Chickens need to run around and exercise as well as to get some fresh air. They also love to scratch around. Therefore a chicken run is important. There are some coops that provide a chicken run attached to it. Most of the time it is included in the coop but you can also buy it separately. You can also do it yourself by adding simple wood frame and some good gauge wire.
Get a good chicken coop guide and building plan. Most of these coop designs have detailed instructions on how to build and materials that you need to make a coop. It just important that you get something that is easy to understand and have clear instructions. Decide on the materials that you will be using. You dont have to scramble to the shop at once. Survey your basement for some scrap lumber. This will help you empty your basement and save money from buying new materials as well. You can even find a lot of bargain materials that you can also use in your coop. Choose materials also that require you less maintenance as well. Chose a location where you will build your coop. This is important to consider especially for sanitation and health of your chicken. A slope or hilly land will be ideal for your coop to facilitate drainage of water. If you are putting your coop in your backyard make sure your coop is facing the sun to avoid moisture and damp areas in your coop.