Chicken Coop / March 8, 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.
The next thing you should ask yourself is will you move your chicken coop a lot. If yes you may think about building a mobile chicken house. It will allow you to change location of your flocks home with ease. The only disadvantage of such a solution is the size limitation. In order to create a mobile chicken coop you will have to attach wheels to it. This on the other hand will force you to build a chicken coop which size allows you to carry it. The next thing you have to think about is the hardness of the ground in your backyard. If it is very soft you wont be able to pull your chicken coop through it without getting stuck. Topic of predators is often missed by many people who learn how to build a chicken coop. But this issue is of utter importance and if neglected can lead to loss of your entire flock. You should start from establishing what kind of predators are in your neighborhood. You can do it either by asking people near you or searching this information on the Internet. The thing you are after is the method they will try to attack your chicken coop.
Building with used material you already have lying around or maybe a friend or neighbor has lumber they would like to give you and that would certainly cut the costs of building materials down. Also building the housing yourself from a good set of chicken coop plans could save you as much as 50% off the price of buying a coop in kit form or already built. Planning and building your chicken coop should not be difficult or even take a lot of time. Just a few hours of planning will go a long way in keeping the process smooth. Provide shelter from the environment and predators build according to your projected flock size and how much property you have to work with give your chickens enough room to exercise place your chicken coop so they get plenty of sunshine and fresh air and finally size according to your projected budget.
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.
You should place windows in your chicken coop in a way that will allow your flock to get as much sun as they only can. Especially in the mornings. Most of the windows in your chicken house should be in a direction of the sunrise. Second use for windows is creating air circulation inside your chicken coop. They allow your chickens to breath with fresh air and save you from dealing with bad smells while you are cleaning the chicken coop. Failing to supply your chickens with an appropriate source of light will decrease their performance and cause them to lay eggs less frequently or during weird hours. So if for some reason you cant supply them with natural light try to substitute it with electrical. This however should be done under supervision of someone who knows how to build a chicken coop.