Chicken Coop / May 31, 2018 / Maryellen
What kind of a climate you are living in? Does it rain a lot? What kind of a soil is in your backyard? Is it cold for most of the year? If you are living in a place where the soil is very soft and it rains a lot you should raise your chicken coop above the ground or else it will drown with time. Especially if your chicken house is very large and you own a large flock. If it is cold in your area for most of the time you have to use thicker materials and insulation that will help your chicken to remain warm during harsher weather conditions. If the thicker walls alone dont do the trick you may also want to install an artificial heather that will keep the right temperature when it is needed. For more specific advice on heathers ask a person who has experience in the area of how to build a chicken 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.
You should place windows in your chicken coop in a way that will allow your flock to get as much sun as they only can. Especially in the mornings. Most of the windows in your chicken house should be in a direction of the sunrise. Second use for windows is creating air circulation inside your chicken coop. They allow your chickens to breath with fresh air and save you from dealing with bad smells while you are cleaning the chicken coop. Failing to supply your chickens with an appropriate source of light will decrease their performance and cause them to lay eggs less frequently or during weird hours. So if for some reason you cant supply them with natural light try to substitute it with electrical. This however should be done under supervision of someone who knows how to build a chicken coop.