Chicken House / June 5, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
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.
Bantam chickens have tendencies to jump really high and some can almost fly across an entire field. Therefore you want to make sure that if your chicken coop has an attached chicken pen or chicken run it is covered with a high net or its surroundings have really high fences. The last thing you want is for your bantam chicken to fly over your fence because they are not smart enough to jump back across. Bantams can be quite feisty. As cute as they are bantam roosters can become quite aggressive when their territory is threatened. You may want to separate the chicken coop into smaller compartments with chicken wire. Keep one rooster per every three hens. Be aware of injured bantams. For some strange reason I have had many of my bantam chickens get eaten alive by the other bantams. This may sound absurd but it is true. Chickens tend to peck at each other at times and if they draw blood the other chickens will begin pecking at the blood and eventually killing off the innocent chicken. This is why you should remove any chicken that you notice has been pecked or injured and keep it in its own cage for a week until it heals. By following the chicken coop plans above you should have an easier time raising bantam chickens in your backyard. Bantams can be quite adorable but they require a lot of maintenance and care if you truly want to get the best out of your chicken flock.