Chicken Coop / May 31, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
When you build a chicken coop you must consider how will you keep the floors clean in your coop. First you will need to cover them with a good material for the chickens to dig and scratch as they naturally do. Hay is unfortunately not ideal for this. Second you should build the coop with the floors slightly sloping towards the door. This way you can spray the hose in the coop and the dirt on the floor easily slides out to the ground below. You will have a clean coop and no puddles of water in the coop. Building a chicken coop is to protect your flock. The purpose of your coop is to protect your chickens from the element and outside predators but you also need to give them proper ventilation. Free movement of air inside the coop is very important but you do not want to freeze your chickens with a draft. Chickens are like humans they can only perform at their optimum levels if all of their basic needs are met first in this case protection and oxygen.
Pre-fab coops are more expensive but easier and quicker to get up and going with your chickens. Just order and the coop will arrive ready to be moved into your yard. You can also order "some-assembly required" kits. Build it yourself. If you love woodworking or want to learn building your own chicken coop can be a great project to hone your skills. You can purchase chicken coop plans and blueprints online. Once your neighbors see your hand-built coop they may set you up with woodworking projects for them! Chicken Tractor- No youre not hitching your chicken up to a plow but the concept of working the soil is the same. A chicken tractor is a movable coop that allows you to move your chickens over fresh grass in your yard every day. They eat the bugs and weed seeds scratch at the soil and fertilize it. And they give you omega-3 rich eggs to boot. Its a win-win situation.