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.
Pre-fab coops are more expensive but easier and quicker to get up and going with your chickens. Just order and the coop will arrive ready to be moved into your yard. You can also order "some-assembly required" kits. Build it yourself. If you love woodworking or want to learn building your own chicken coop can be a great project to hone your skills. You can purchase chicken coop plans and blueprints online. Once your neighbors see your hand-built coop they may set you up with woodworking projects for them! Chicken Tractor- No youre not hitching your chicken up to a plow but the concept of working the soil is the same. A chicken tractor is a movable coop that allows you to move your chickens over fresh grass in your yard every day. They eat the bugs and weed seeds scratch at the soil and fertilize it. And they give you omega-3 rich eggs to boot. Its a win-win situation.
You should always use your sound judgment when constructing a chicken coop. You would be better off in using building materials which would allow you to clean the coop easily. The door of your coop should always open inwards and it is always better to have sliding doors so that chickens cannot come out to roost on your windows. You should consider constructing the floor of your chicken coop with material which you can easily hose without many puddles. Your chicken coop must be built in such a way that it can protect your chickens from hazardous elements such as heavy rain wind hale snow cold climates etc and from being eaten or killed by hungry predators. The coop should protect the chicken from being stolen as well. The coop should be protected from draft with windows that can be opened and shut having proper screening system for example a heavy gauge mesh wire. Your chicken coops must have an adequate drainage system where rain water may flow out keeping the coop dry. You need to position your chicken coop in an area where it gets the Sun which will keep the chickens warm and dry.