Chicken House / May 29, 2018 / Maryellen
Choose a coop kit size appropriate for your chickens. There are different sizes of coop kits available in the market. If you have small a number of chickens and you are not planning to expand it then a small coop is applicable. A standard 4x4 coop will house 3-4 standard hens comfortably. However if you have a big number of chickens a bigger coop is needed to house all of them comfortably. Remember each adult chicken needs 4 square feet of free space thus a 4x4 coop provides 16 square feet of space for 4 chickens. Chickens need to run around and exercise as well as to get some fresh air. They also love to scratch around. Therefore a chicken run is important. There are some coops that provide a chicken run attached to it. Most of the time it is included in the coop but you can also buy it separately. You can also do it yourself by adding simple wood frame and some good gauge wire.
Light. You need light in your chicken coop to stimulate egg laying. Particularly if you want your hens to lay eggs all year round. As a rule of thumb you should have 1 light every 40 feet inside you chicken building. If you are just building a small chicken coop it will be sufficient to have a single light above the watering/feeding section. As a bonus the light(s) will also be a source of heat for your chickens in the colder months. Perches. Your chickens have a natural instinct to perch so you must provide them with appropriate perches otherwise they will perch on nesting boxes feeders and anything else around the coop. This would then lead to these important areas getting covered in droppings which is certainly undesirable. It is as simple as using broom handles for your perches. Again it is important that your chickens have adequate space on the perches so as a rule of thumb allow 8 inches of perch space per chicken. To make it easy to keep the chicken coop clean slip some trays under the perches so the droppings land directly in them you can then pull the trays out to clean them.
A smaller coop is easily constructed as it does not contain a large number of unnecessary amenities. It can sit directly on the ground but more often is mounted slightly raised on cinder blocks keeping it safe from flooding and other moisture that can cause the wood and other materials to rot as well as providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The coop usually has a regular size door for access to clean the coop and let the chickens out. Also a smaller coop will consist of no more than one or two windows with an additional ventilation hole on the roof closed with chicken wire. The roof itself is usually slanted to allow water to run off and away from the coop. A small chicken house will usually have roosts on one side with nesting boxes on the other. The roosts are often elevated and closed by a small door in order to ensure that the chickens are safe during the night. A small coop may or may not include an exercise area however breeders often fence off an area outside the door of the building to allow the chickens to roam freely during the day.