Chicken Coop / June 9, 2018 / Maryellen
Last year I decided to build a chicken coop with my wife. Her and I used to be obese and we decided to evaluate the foods we were eating. We decided that part of us getting even healthier was growing more of our own food and eating organic to avoid the chemicals that build up in our bodies. As part of this we wanted to raise chickens for the healthy eggs. After a little bit more trouble than we had asked for we finally did build a chicken coop. I wish that someone would have told me a long ago what mistakes to avoid. To build a chicken coop draw out a plan. Collect all of the materials. Select materials that will be easy to attain easy to work with and easy to clean up. Plan the functionality of your coop. The doors need to open inwards not outwards. If you build it the other way with the door opening outwards you chickens will begin roosting on your windows. Your chickens will spend a lot of time in the coop so they need fresh air designing a coop with sliding windows is a great way to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the summer.
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.
When designing your chicken coop structure you must use sound judgment in almost every aspect of the way. For instance you want to use building materials in which the cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be quick and easy. The doors you install should open inwards not outwards. You dont want your chickens roosting on your windows so it is best to install sliding windows. A question many people ask is how to build a chicken coop whos floors are easy to hose and spray down without much puddling? Well the secret to that is to slightly slope the flooring toward the door. This way when you spray out the chicken coop the water will flow out hence solving your puddling problem.