Chicken House / June 8, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
Nesting Boxes. If you are keeping chickens for the eggs your coop needs to have at least 1 nesting box for every 5 or 6 female chickens. The nests should be comfortable and dark so your hens feel safe in them. You should put straw or wood shavings in the nest boxes and make the boxes at least 4 inches deep. If the boxes are not deep enough your chickens may fight and pick each others feathers. You should keep the nesting boxes clean at all times so the eggs remain clean. Hens should be trained not to sleep in the nesting boxes because if they do they will soil the area with their droppings. You should not have a problem with hens sleeping in the nesting boxes f you have given your chickens adequate perching space. If you find some stubborn hens that do want to sleep in the nests close them off at night.
A smaller coop is easily constructed as it does not contain a large number of unnecessary amenities. It can sit directly on the ground but more often is mounted slightly raised on cinder blocks keeping it safe from flooding and other moisture that can cause the wood and other materials to rot as well as providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The coop usually has a regular size door for access to clean the coop and let the chickens out. Also a smaller coop will consist of no more than one or two windows with an additional ventilation hole on the roof closed with chicken wire. The roof itself is usually slanted to allow water to run off and away from the coop. A small chicken house will usually have roosts on one side with nesting boxes on the other. The roosts are often elevated and closed by a small door in order to ensure that the chickens are safe during the night. A small coop may or may not include an exercise area however breeders often fence off an area outside the door of the building to allow the chickens to roam freely during the day.