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.
To begin a basic design/implementation plan is needed to construct the coop. A person who has never built a chicken coop before should look at some pre-existing designs of coops that were built in the past. An individual does not have to be an expert carpenter to put together the coop but he or she needs to make sure that the coop is put together properly. Once a person gets ideas of how the coop should be laid out and constructed he or she then needs to make a rough drawing of how the coop would potentially be laid out on his or her property. The area around the coop needs to be on high ground to ensure that it is not flooded in the event of inclement weather. Having the correct materials and maintenance is also a must for constructing a chicken coop. Materials that are simple to sanitize and clean should be used to construct the coop as the parts of the coop will need to regularly be sanitized and disinfected. The materials should be easy to clean and not expensive.
You have already taken care in protecting your chicken coops from drafts. At the same time you will need to maintain ventilation in the coop allowing free air movement throughout. The chickens inside the coop are quite safe with cold being kept out but at the same time they would need air to breathe. It is very necessary that the carbon dioxide accumulating inside your chicken coop be removed regularly replaced by fresh air in order that the chickens can breathe. There has to be ample movement of fresh air inside with cold drafts being kept away from entering the coop. You would want your chickens to be kept warm during the cold months and yet have solid source of ventilation during the hot months of the year. Placing your chicken coop facing the South would be a good idea where the coop may get Sunlight and air through-out the day.