Chicken Coop / April 20, 2018 / Maryellen.
What kind of a climate you are living in? Does it rain a lot? What kind of a soil is in your backyard? Is it cold for most of the year? If you are living in a place where the soil is very soft and it rains a lot you should raise your chicken coop above the ground or else it will drown with time. Especially if your chicken house is very large and you own a large flock. If it is cold in your area for most of the time you have to use thicker materials and insulation that will help your chicken to remain warm during harsher weather conditions. If the thicker walls alone dont do the trick you may also want to install an artificial heather that will keep the right temperature when it is needed. For more specific advice on heathers ask a person who has experience in the area of how to build a chicken coop.
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.
Use the 5 elements stated at the beginning of the article to help you in choosing suitable design. Once this is done simply follow the step-by-step guide set in the plan and you will move forward fast. In comparison to building your own ready-made chicken houses are not only costly but most of them come in flat-packs requiring that you do the assembling. In addition to this wood used in building most commercially produced hen houses is cedar wood which is heavily chemically treated to extend its durability in poor weather conditions. This in turn creates concerning toxicity levels for the chickens but neither manufacturers nor retailers readily disclose this piece of information to their customers.
Be sure to replace the water and the chicken feed daily. Build your chicken coop facing the south so that the coop will receive sunlight throughout the day. For the winter months when the days are shorter and there is less sunlight it is important to install a light in the coop. This is not difficult. They have lights that you can just stick to the walls at any local hardware store you do not have to be an electrician it is as easy as putting a sticker on a paper.Installing this light will be well worth the few dollars you spend to do it. It will keep your chickens warm and happy and keep your egg production up in the winter when most chicken farmers experience a fall off of production because the chickens get less light and warmth.
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.