Chicken Coop / June 2, 2018 / Maryellen.
Use appropriate building materials. Wood on the bottom of the coop that is in contact with the soil will eventually rot. Redwood and cedar are rot-resistant and excellent choices. Pine is cheaper and may need replacing in the future or require treatment. Be aware that preservatives put on wood might be poisonous to chickens. Use metal fiberglass or wood shingles for the roof. Perches. Chickens need to perch off the ground at night. You can be creative making perches from broom handles natural branches or 2x2s rounded and sanded (1x2 for bantams). Figure 6-10 inches of perching space per hen or 6-8 inches for bantams. Nesting boxes. Provide 1 nesting box for every 4-5 hens. They will often share a nest. Build the boxes where you can reach in through a hinged door for easy access to collect the eggs.
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.
Speaking of walls the chicken coop walls should have proper insulation installed which will help keep the chickens dry. As long as chickens are dry they can handle cold climates very well but humidity plus cold weather will cause health issues for your poultry. Therefore insulated walls are a must! If you want a good source of light and warmth for your chickens during the cold months of the year and a solid source of ventilation during the hot months then be sure to install the chicken coop windows facing the southside where they will receive direct sunlight throughout the day. On another note if your goal is to raise chickens that will produce great eggs all year round then you should look into an electrical source of light. You should be able to easily install an electrical light at the height of the chicken coops ceiling which will help keep your chickens warm and help them lay better chicken eggs throughout the year. One ceiling light should be enough for a small scale chicken coop for larger chicken coops though try to install one electrical ceiling light per every 30 - 40 feet.
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 next dramatic result of keeping your chickens in a small space is aggression. Chickens that dont have enough room can become aggressive towards you other members of the flock and the chicken coop itself. They also tend to break their own eggs so pay attention to the size of your chicken house. Budget is a very important factor you should consider while learning how to build a chicken coop. It can be the single reason that will kill your entire undertaking. That is why you should always establish how much you can spend before starting to build. There are many ways you can cut the cost of construction. One of the most obvious ones is buying cheaper but still usable materials. This however requires information on what kind of materials are chicken safe and which arent.