Chicken Coop / May 31, 2018 / Maryellen
The worst error made is not planning ahead of time. It is very important to consider how many chickens will live in your coop? The size of the chickens is also very important. You also need to think about how many nests you want to have in your coop and how big they will be. How will the chickens be fed? Where will you place their food and water? Where will your coop be placed? If it is a shady area be sure to make room for more windows to let in sun light. Do you have enough room for a chicken run to allow easy access into and out of the coop? So there are a lot of questions to answer before you even begin to buy materials an draw up plans. You need to not only build a stable structure but also keep your chickens happy and safe. Planning properly will prevent a lot of problems in the future.
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.