Chicken Coop / May 25, 2018 / Maryellen
Selecting the wrong place to build your chicken coop is a big error that people make. Chickens need space and it is essential that you put the coop in an area that is spacious and where there is enough space around the coop for you chickens to run and roam freely. Remember that the chickens need a lot of space to run but you also need to be able to have enough room to move around the coop to clean it and care for the chickens. It is not a good idea to build a coop where you do not have easy access around its perimeter. Also it is important that your chickens have enough sun light and enough shade. Most importantly build your chicken coop away from bushes and brush where rodents or snakes may live or seek shelter. You do not want any unexpected guests in your coop.
To protect your chickens from predators the best thing to do is to bury your outside runs with chicken wire all around the coop about 1 foot deep. This will prevent some very hungry predators such as raccoons cats and even dogs from digging underneath it. You may be wondering how to build a chicken coop that will not only keep your chickens locked up and protected from bad weather and predators yet receive the proper ventilation it requires. If so then you already understand the importance of draft free air movement from within the coop. Chickens much like humans need fresh air and oxygen. The same goes for the removal of unwanted excessive moisture and carbon dioxide. A chicken coop with ample air movement and proper ventilation will help remove the ammonia build up and dampness that may grow inside its walls.
How big? You need to plan ahead for the size of your coop. Each hen needs a minimum of 4 square feet inside and outside the coop. If you get Bantams figure about 3 square feet per hen since they are smaller. Overcrowded chickens tend to peck at each other which can start a host of problems. For cold weather you want the spacing to be adequate so the chickens can stay warm. Have a quarantine area. A separate area to keep new birds for a week or two allows you to keep your flock healthy. Its also a good area to separate a hen if she becomes ill until she recovers. You can also separate the occasional over-aggressive hen that is pestering the other birds. Make sure the coop is wind and water tight. Your chickens need protection from the elements to stay healthy. They like shade during the heat of the day but also need protection from cold drafts. Use closeable windows for ventilation or a line of screened vents built into the top of north and south facing walls.