Chicken Coop / May 31, 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.
Electrical light is a great idea but you have to make sure that the installation is well hidden and wont become a pecking target. The other thing you have to remember is that with electrical light your bills can get really high so my recommendation is to always search for natural solutions. You have to remember about creating a chicken house of the right size. You should estimate how many chickens you are going to keep and based on that choose an appropriate plan. Each chicken requires from 4 to 5 square feet to feel comfortable. If you are unable to find a perfect fit for your flock always choose bigger coop. Small chicken coops will force your birds to crowd on a very limited space and that can cause disease spreading and in some extreme cases cannibalism.
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.