Chicken Coop / May 27, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
Taking care of your chicken house is very important. So if you have problems finding enough time to clean it forget about complicated chicken house designs. By creating a simpler construction that is easier to access and keep clean you invest in happiness and health of your chickens. Always build chicken houses that have plenty of well designed access points. They will make cleaning and collecting eggs way easier. By simply making the floor of your chicken coop slightly tilted in the direction of the entrance you will cut the cleaning time by more than half. This simple trick will allow you to hose down your chicken coops floor helping you to save a lot of energy. It is really important to choose the right place for your chicken house. It should stand on an even hard ground in order to be durable and useful to your chickens. That is why you should spend some time thinking about this issue.
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.