Chicken Coop / May 31, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
A Chicken coop without free air movement and therefore more oxygen will have high carbon monoxide levels and humidity levels. This is not good because uncomfortable chickens do not produce as many eggs. It is also very dangerous because it makes mold growth within the walls very easy. To build a chicken coop properly insulating the walls is very important. The walls of the chicken coop need to have good insulation installed. This will help keep the chickens warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The insulation will also help to keep the coop at optimum humidity levels. When the chickens are kept at the optimum humidity levels they produce more eggs. Insulating the walls will also help to keep the chickens dry. In colder climates when your chickens are dry they can withstand the cold well.
Be sure to replace the water and the chicken feed daily. Build your chicken coop facing the south so that the coop will receive sunlight throughout the day. For the winter months when the days are shorter and there is less sunlight it is important to install a light in the coop. This is not difficult. They have lights that you can just stick to the walls at any local hardware store you do not have to be an electrician it is as easy as putting a sticker on a paper.Installing this light will be well worth the few dollars you spend to do it. It will keep your chickens warm and happy and keep your egg production up in the winter when most chicken farmers experience a fall off of production because the chickens get less light and warmth.