Chicken Coop / June 9, 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.
Choose the site best for your coop. The site needs to be well drained-you dont want your chickens standing in mud! Expose the coop to the south to provide good sun. Keep in mind the prevailing weather patterns in your area. Face the door so the coop is protected from the rain and wind. Complement your home and yard with the right chicken coop design. Matching the design of the coop to your house or neighborhood makes it pleasing to look at and promotes backyard chickens to your neighbors. Remodel an existing structure into a coop. You can turn a garden shed a playhouse the kids outgrew or another outdoor structure into a chicken coop with a little creativity tools and materials. You can even turn a corner of your garage into a chicken house and build a run outside.
Then listen up. As you may know a well built chicken coop will protect your chickens from hazardous elements such as bad weather (heavy rain wind hale snow cold climates etc) but they will also protect them from hungry predators theft and injury. Easy. You want to build a draft free chicken house with windows and doors that can be opened and closed as needed. Make sure the windows and doors both have proper screening systems installed in them such as a heavy gage mesh wire. Building the chicken coop on a high yet well drained area with ensure the least amount of dampness of the coop. Be sure to build your chicken coop in an area that faces the sun which will help warm and dry the soil and coop itself after it rains.