Chicken Coop / May 31, 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?
Furthermore the coop should have sliding windows to prevent the chickens inside of it from roosting on the windows and the floor should be sloped in the direction of the door to ensure easy cleaning as well as to make it easier for rainwater to flow out of the coop. Ensuring that the coop is protected from environmental factors is rather critical when building a chicken coop as well. This means that the chickens inside of the coop need to be offered protection from bad weather predators and people looking to steal them. To accomplish all of these elements the coop needs to be placed in a high area and be well drained. It also must absolutely have exposure to the sun to ensure a warm and dry environment for the chickens and strong mesh wire needs to be placed around it to keep predators such as cats and foxes out.
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.