Chicken Coop / June 2, 2018 / Maryellen.
Once you have decided on the size coop that you are going to build you should then decide whether you want a portable chicken coop or if you would prefer a static ark. Portable chicken coops gives you the flexibility of being able to move it around to wherever you want to locate it. This can be good for people keeping chickens behind a fence to protect from predators. The fenced in perimeter area around the chicken coop will get worn to bare earth quite quickly as hens will eat much of the vegetation in the fenced area. Therefore being able to move your chicken coops around would be an advantage here. Also a portable coop can be easier to clean depending on the flexibility of the water source you will be using for its cleaning.
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.
You should place windows in your chicken coop in a way that will allow your flock to get as much sun as they only can. Especially in the mornings. Most of the windows in your chicken house should be in a direction of the sunrise. Second use for windows is creating air circulation inside your chicken coop. They allow your chickens to breath with fresh air and save you from dealing with bad smells while you are cleaning the chicken coop. Failing to supply your chickens with an appropriate source of light will decrease their performance and cause them to lay eggs less frequently or during weird hours. So if for some reason you cant supply them with natural light try to substitute it with electrical. This however should be done under supervision of someone who knows how to build a chicken coop.
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.
Building chicken coops is an investment in time and money so you want to make sure that you end up building a coop that is fit for purpose but also has an appearance that you can be proud of. Depending on your budget there are coop plans for many different structural styles which will directly impact the overall appearance of your coop. So when you plan your coop size you also want to think about what sort of appearance your budget allows you to build to. Again looking through some plans of chicken coops will help you choose what you will ultimately build. Throughout this article we have been mentioning that getting the planning part stage of a coop build right is crucial. Making wrong decisions now will cost you time and money but getting those decisions right up front could save you hundreds of dollars. We hope you found this useful and if you want to learn more why not sign up to our free newsletter series in which you will get loads of great information and handy tips on planning and building your chicken coops.