Chicken Coop / June 7, 2018 / Maryellen.
You should also consider an electrical light source which will help the chickens produce great eggs all the year round. This light could easily be installed at the height of the chicken coops ceiling and this would help in keeping the chickens warm and lay better eggs through-out the year. You should always check if the water and chicken feeders have been put in the right places and the flock has easy access to those areas. You should also take care in placing the containers knowing that the chickens like to make a mess of everything they eat. Try and place the feeders at the back of the chicken at a height where the chickens have to stretch their necks to eat and would not be able to reach the feeders with their feet.
The size of our backyard dictates the number of chickens we can keep as well as the size and the shape of their home. Small backyards require better planning in terms of coop designs in order to maximize the use of small spaces. Unless we are just starting most of us understand the role chicken coop plays in maintaining health and safety of our chickens. Experts estimate that three-quarters of chickens health problems and diseases are easily preventable simply by providing suitable chicken coop and optimized living conditions. In addition even in urban areas chickens are target of many predators. Chickens entire safety depends on the chosen building plan and the resulting coop be it our own plan or the professional one.
Building with used material you already have lying around or maybe a friend or neighbor has lumber they would like to give you and that would certainly cut the costs of building materials down. Also building the housing yourself from a good set of chicken coop plans could save you as much as 50% off the price of buying a coop in kit form or already built. Planning and building your chicken coop should not be difficult or even take a lot of time. Just a few hours of planning will go a long way in keeping the process smooth. Provide shelter from the environment and predators build according to your projected flock size and how much property you have to work with give your chickens enough room to exercise place your chicken coop so they get plenty of sunshine and fresh air and finally size according to your projected budget.
In past times chickens used to live in barns stables and even on peoples balconies. In our modern times we have farming law in place that sets the basic chicken keeping standards including the basics that their home needs to provide. Anyone who has built a coop or kept chickens in the past knows the risk of chickens rejecting the coop if they do not like it or becoming ill and even dying if the coop fails to meet the basic health requirements. For example the coop that retains moist and gives way to air-borne mould is the source of ongoing respiratory problems that may even kill the chickens. Prior to building the coop think of incorporating the following elementary requirements: natural light ventilation insulation electricity suitable floor and floor covering and so on.
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.