Chicken Coop / June 6, 2018 / Maryellen
It is a big mistake to simply go with a vision you have in mind. Very closely related to the planning aspect is making sure you have a clear design for your coop. Draw plans for both the inside and the outside. It doesnt matter if you are not a professional it is just important to have direction when you are building. Be sure to also sketch and plan the various angles of your coop. The sides bottom and top. If you are a novice carpenter and it is your first time building a backyard chicken coop keep it simple. As your flock of chickens grows and you learn more about how chicken behave and what works for your space you can always go back and redesign and improve your coop. Stay organized. Before you begin construction on your chicken coop gather all of the materials you will need. this will save you time energy and the frustration. Of course the amount of materials you will need will vary with your design. However most coops will require: wood chicken wire or fence wire insulation nails screws saws various tools and a hammer.
Selecting the wrong place to build your chicken coop is a big error that people make. Chickens need space and it is essential that you put the coop in an area that is spacious and where there is enough space around the coop for you chickens to run and roam freely. Remember that the chickens need a lot of space to run but you also need to be able to have enough room to move around the coop to clean it and care for the chickens. It is not a good idea to build a coop where you do not have easy access around its perimeter. Also it is important that your chickens have enough sun light and enough shade. Most importantly build your chicken coop away from bushes and brush where rodents or snakes may live or seek shelter. You do not want any unexpected guests in your coop.
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.