Chicken Coop / June 9, 2018 / Maryellen
The size of our backyard dictates the number of chickens we can keep as well as the size and the shape of their home. Small backyards require better planning in terms of coop designs in order to maximize the use of small spaces. Unless we are just starting most of us understand the role chicken coop plays in maintaining health and safety of our chickens. Experts estimate that three-quarters of chickens health problems and diseases are easily preventable simply by providing suitable chicken coop and optimized living conditions. In addition even in urban areas chickens are target of many predators. Chickens entire safety depends on the chosen building plan and the resulting coop be it our own plan or the professional one.
Use appropriate building materials. Wood on the bottom of the coop that is in contact with the soil will eventually rot. Redwood and cedar are rot-resistant and excellent choices. Pine is cheaper and may need replacing in the future or require treatment. Be aware that preservatives put on wood might be poisonous to chickens. Use metal fiberglass or wood shingles for the roof. Perches. Chickens need to perch off the ground at night. You can be creative making perches from broom handles natural branches or 2x2s rounded and sanded (1x2 for bantams). Figure 6-10 inches of perching space per hen or 6-8 inches for bantams. Nesting boxes. Provide 1 nesting box for every 4-5 hens. They will often share a nest. Build the boxes where you can reach in through a hinged door for easy access to collect the eggs.
Choosing which size chicken arks to build is a very important consideration and will depend on the number of chickens you intend to keep. There are small medium and large chicken plans to suit your build. A mistake that many first timers make is they build a coop which is too small for the number of chickens that they have. If you cram too many chickens into a small chicken ark your birds will not be comfortable and therefore will be less likely to lay the number of eggs that they would provide if only they had sufficient space. It is better to err on the side of caution and use plans for a larger coop than you think you will initially need and then you have the option for the future of adding more birds at a later date.