Chicken Coop / June 6, 2018 / Maryellen
It doesnt matter if youre a beginner or you already know how to build a chicken coop like an expert you must plan before any building or construction of your new chicken coop begins. This is a vital step for you and your chickens. You need to offer humane comfortable conditions for your birds whether youre keeping chickens to give you eggs for the family for pleasure or as a meat source. Your chickens want comfort with their surroundings have good feed clean water sunshine ventilation and enough room to move around comfortably. All this fluff and comfort is not just for your birds sake but for yours as well. If your birds are healthy happy and egg productivity is good then it makes for an efficient venture for you and your family.
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.
Electrical light is a great idea but you have to make sure that the installation is well hidden and wont become a pecking target. The other thing you have to remember is that with electrical light your bills can get really high so my recommendation is to always search for natural solutions. You have to remember about creating a chicken house of the right size. You should estimate how many chickens you are going to keep and based on that choose an appropriate plan. Each chicken requires from 4 to 5 square feet to feel comfortable. If you are unable to find a perfect fit for your flock always choose bigger coop. Small chicken coops will force your birds to crowd on a very limited space and that can cause disease spreading and in some extreme cases cannibalism.