Chicken House / June 7, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
Building a chicken coop gives you complete flexibility which allows you to customise key elements to suit yours and your chickens needs. Ultimately you would want to source your designs from a reputable source but there are certain factors that will still need to be taken into consideration. Try and think of aesthetics in regard to your chicken house location after all you do not want to upset any neighbours if you have any by having an unpleasant looking or wrongly located coop that could possibly devalue property or put off potential buyers etc. Keep your coops appeal by maintaining its surrounding borders so it blends into the landscape and not stands out why not think of a nice colour scheme for the roof etc where possible.
Natural light is the best answer here so be sure and have the coops window facing south where it will get most light and natural warmth especially in the winter months. There are also some chicken keepers that have installed electric lighting in the apex of the coops roof as this will keep the chickens laying eggs throughout the year there are a variation of lights that can be used depending on the size and type of coop that you are building. This is more of a tip than anything else but it can save you a lot of frustration. Chickens tend to knock everything with their feet this includes food and feeders. An ideal solution to save having a constant mess on the coop floor is to raise the feeders and waterers to the height of the chickens shoulder this way they can only get their heads in the feeders and not their feet as well.