Chicken Coop / May 25, 2018 / Maryellen
As more people strive to be self-reliant they are choosing to raise chickens in their backyards. Choosing the right chicken coop is essential to keeping your flock healthy and happy. Backyard chickens are becoming popular today in many cities including Albuquerque Seattle and New York. Cities across the nation are revising their local zoning and land-use laws to include backyard chickens in the regulations. Before bringing new chickens home to your backyard though you need to carefully choose the right chicken coop for your situation. Be sure to check your local city regulations before buying your chickens. Talk to city officials. How many chickens are you allowed in your yard? What is the distance they need to be kept from dwellings? Any other special regulations?
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.
Selecting the wrong place to build your chicken coop is a big error that people make. Chickens need space and it is essential that you put the coop in an area that is spacious and where there is enough space around the coop for you chickens to run and roam freely. Remember that the chickens need a lot of space to run but you also need to be able to have enough room to move around the coop to clean it and care for the chickens. It is not a good idea to build a coop where you do not have easy access around its perimeter. Also it is important that your chickens have enough sun light and enough shade. Most importantly build your chicken coop away from bushes and brush where rodents or snakes may live or seek shelter. You do not want any unexpected guests in your coop.