Chicken Coop / June 2, 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.
When designing your chicken coop structure you must use sound judgment in almost every aspect of the way. For instance you want to use building materials in which the cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be quick and easy. The doors you install should open inwards not outwards. You dont want your chickens roosting on your windows so it is best to install sliding windows. A question many people ask is how to build a chicken coop whos floors are easy to hose and spray down without much puddling? Well the secret to that is to slightly slope the flooring toward the door. This way when you spray out the chicken coop the water will flow out hence solving your puddling problem.
You should also consider an electrical light source which will help the chickens produce great eggs all the year round. This light could easily be installed at the height of the chicken coops ceiling and this would help in keeping the chickens warm and lay better eggs through-out the year. You should always check if the water and chicken feeders have been put in the right places and the flock has easy access to those areas. You should also take care in placing the containers knowing that the chickens like to make a mess of everything they eat. Try and place the feeders at the back of the chicken at a height where the chickens have to stretch their necks to eat and would not be able to reach the feeders with their feet.
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.
If they will try to go from the top you should cover the top of your chicken run with a fence. If you are dealing with really big animals that may try to destroy the fence of your run or chicken coop overall use the most durable materials you can find. If you think they will try to dig their way to your chicken house make sure you dig the fence at least a foot into the ground. In addition to these tips you should also remember to tweak the weakest link of nearly all chicken coops and runs doors. Try to find ones that have a tight fit multiple latches and overall there is no way to get in for unwanted animals. As you can see learning how to build a chicken coop requires a lot of time and experience on your part. That is why you shouldnt rush in to the building. Dont hope you will combat all the obstacles along the way. It is plain stupid and you will have to spend more time doing necessary modifications then you would spend on the entire construction only if you would invest more time into crucial preparations. So spend some more time learning how to build a chicken coop and plan your chicken house with confidence.