Chicken House / June 8, 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.
Once you have settled on coop size you want to make sure your chicken coop designs meet your other needs. Unless you plan to purchase these separately you will want to make sure the plans also include sections on building your own feeders and nesting boxes. This simple detail is often left out of most plans. Most people do not know this but its important to position the coop strategically. In choosing the right position for a semi-permanent or fixed option make sure the area will have the right amount of sunlight and is not directly in the direction of the wind. You will also want to make sure that your placement keeps predator threats to a minimum. Most people neglect this fact when choosing chicken coop designs but lumber costs will make up about 90% of your building expenses.
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.