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.
Ventilation. Chickens sweat. Sounds strange but it is true. Your chicken coop needs ventilation to keep your chickens cool in the warmer months and to allow the chickens perspiration to evaporate and escape the chicken coop. You should make sure your chicken coop plans include ventilation in the form of vents in walls or small windows but you also dont want it to be too drafty. You need a nice balance. One way to achieve this is to have the vents on the side of the chicken building that DOES NOT face the wind. This is typically the east or the south. This will also allow fresh oxygen rich air to flow into the hen house and the stale air and moisture to escape. Chickens can handle the cold but not the wet so it is vital to the health of your chickens that the moisture can escape.
Protection. You need to keep your chickens safe from all sorts of predators such as foxes coyotes hawks raccoons and rats just to name a few. The structure should be strong and no part of it should be able to be pushed over by a person. That is just the way I rate the strength of my coops...Could I push it over? If no then it is strong enough. There should be no way for rats or foxes to get into your chicken coop to kill your chickens. make sure the fencing goes all the way to the ground. You should also put the wire fencing down under the ground for about 1 foot out from the wire fence. This means when a fox digs at a fence they will simply hit the wire mesh and will eventually give up or try something else. Use mesh that raccoons cant get their arms through. I recommend using 1/2 inch square wire mesh for all the wire mesh fencing on the chicken coop. This will keep your chickens safe and it also looks quite attractive. Remember foxes are quite wily so check over your chicken coop plans to make sure they are predator proof.