Chicken Coop / June 5, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
Use appropriate building materials. Wood on the bottom of the coop that is in contact with the soil will eventually rot. Redwood and cedar are rot-resistant and excellent choices. Pine is cheaper and may need replacing in the future or require treatment. Be aware that preservatives put on wood might be poisonous to chickens. Use metal fiberglass or wood shingles for the roof. Perches. Chickens need to perch off the ground at night. You can be creative making perches from broom handles natural branches or 2x2s rounded and sanded (1x2 for bantams). Figure 6-10 inches of perching space per hen or 6-8 inches for bantams. Nesting boxes. Provide 1 nesting box for every 4-5 hens. They will often share a nest. Build the boxes where you can reach in through a hinged door for easy access to collect the eggs.
Insulating the walls will not only keep your chickens producing eggs but it will prevent your chickens from getting sick. If you build a chicken coop obviously the water and the chicken feeders need to be in a place where your chickens can easily access them. It is important to be very careful in selecting a place to put the water and the feeders.Chickens can make a big mess of things because of their natural instinct to scratch and dig. It is very frustrating to see water and the chicken feed you just put out all over the floor. To prevent this place the feeder and the water at the height of a chicken back. Ideally the chickens will have to stretch their necks up to the food a little bit to eat and drink but they will not be able to place their feet in their food or water.