Chicken Coop / June 5, 2018 / Maryellen
As more people strive to be self-reliant they are choosing to raise chickens in their backyards. Choosing the right chicken coop is essential to keeping your flock healthy and happy. Backyard chickens are becoming popular today in many cities including Albuquerque Seattle and New York. Cities across the nation are revising their local zoning and land-use laws to include backyard chickens in the regulations. Before bringing new chickens home to your backyard though you need to carefully choose the right chicken coop for your situation. Be sure to check your local city regulations before buying your chickens. Talk to city officials. How many chickens are you allowed in your yard? What is the distance they need to be kept from dwellings? Any other special regulations?
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.
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.