Chicken Coop / June 6, 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.
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.
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.