Chicken Coop / May 31, 2018 / Maryellen
You have made a great decision and will soon be on your way to reaping the benefits of raising chickens; not only do they produce healthier than "store bought" eggs the make great pets. It is important however to make sure you build your chickens a good home. After all the coop you build for them will be where they lay their eggs and a vital protector from anything that may threaten your chickens. Building a chicken coop is much better than purchasing one already prefabricated. Not only will building your own allow you to personalize it with your unique style you can build it to fit your brood of chickens perfectly you can ensure quality of the craftsmanship and you will save a lot of money! There are some very critical errors that people make when they build their coops. Follow these 5 helpful hints so that you avoid the errors that people often make and build a strong backyard chicken coop.
Then listen up. As you may know a well built chicken coop will protect your chickens from hazardous elements such as bad weather (heavy rain wind hale snow cold climates etc) but they will also protect them from hungry predators theft and injury. Easy. You want to build a draft free chicken house with windows and doors that can be opened and closed as needed. Make sure the windows and doors both have proper screening systems installed in them such as a heavy gage mesh wire. Building the chicken coop on a high yet well drained area with ensure the least amount of dampness of the coop. Be sure to build your chicken coop in an area that faces the sun which will help warm and dry the soil and coop itself after it rains.
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.