Chicken Coop / May 29, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
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.
In past times chickens used to live in barns stables and even on peoples balconies. In our modern times we have farming law in place that sets the basic chicken keeping standards including the basics that their home needs to provide. Anyone who has built a coop or kept chickens in the past knows the risk of chickens rejecting the coop if they do not like it or becoming ill and even dying if the coop fails to meet the basic health requirements. For example the coop that retains moist and gives way to air-borne mould is the source of ongoing respiratory problems that may even kill the chickens. Prior to building the coop think of incorporating the following elementary requirements: natural light ventilation insulation electricity suitable floor and floor covering and so on.