Chicken Coop / June 1, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
Furthermore the coop should have sliding windows to prevent the chickens inside of it from roosting on the windows and the floor should be sloped in the direction of the door to ensure easy cleaning as well as to make it easier for rainwater to flow out of the coop. Ensuring that the coop is protected from environmental factors is rather critical when building a chicken coop as well. This means that the chickens inside of the coop need to be offered protection from bad weather predators and people looking to steal them. To accomplish all of these elements the coop needs to be placed in a high area and be well drained. It also must absolutely have exposure to the sun to ensure a warm and dry environment for the chickens and strong mesh wire needs to be placed around it to keep predators such as cats and foxes out.
You have already taken care in protecting your chicken coops from drafts. At the same time you will need to maintain ventilation in the coop allowing free air movement throughout. The chickens inside the coop are quite safe with cold being kept out but at the same time they would need air to breathe. It is very necessary that the carbon dioxide accumulating inside your chicken coop be removed regularly replaced by fresh air in order that the chickens can breathe. There has to be ample movement of fresh air inside with cold drafts being kept away from entering the coop. You would want your chickens to be kept warm during the cold months and yet have solid source of ventilation during the hot months of the year. Placing your chicken coop facing the South would be a good idea where the coop may get Sunlight and air through-out the day.