Chicken House / June 9, 2018 / Maryellen
A smaller coop is easily constructed as it does not contain a large number of unnecessary amenities. It can sit directly on the ground but more often is mounted slightly raised on cinder blocks keeping it safe from flooding and other moisture that can cause the wood and other materials to rot as well as providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The coop usually has a regular size door for access to clean the coop and let the chickens out. Also a smaller coop will consist of no more than one or two windows with an additional ventilation hole on the roof closed with chicken wire. The roof itself is usually slanted to allow water to run off and away from the coop. A small chicken house will usually have roosts on one side with nesting boxes on the other. The roosts are often elevated and closed by a small door in order to ensure that the chickens are safe during the night. A small coop may or may not include an exercise area however breeders often fence off an area outside the door of the building to allow the chickens to roam freely during the day.
When selecting chicken coop plans to build from you really need to consider more than just the look/aesthetics of the chicken coop designs. Sure its important to have a nice looking chicken coop that fits your overall backyard design but there are some other very important things that need to be incorporated into whatever plans you choose. Space. There is a certain amount of space that your chickens need to be healthy and happy. You must allocate 4 square feet of floor space per chicken. Therefore a flock of 20 chickens should be enjoying an 80 square foot chicken coop. Do not skimp on space. In fact it is better to allocate more space if anything. If your chicken coop becomes overcrowded your chickens quality of life becomes reduced and can cause feather picking and in extreme cases can even cause cannibalism. This is obviously an outcome you want to avoid so never overcrowd your coop.
Nesting Boxes. If you are keeping chickens for the eggs your coop needs to have at least 1 nesting box for every 5 or 6 female chickens. The nests should be comfortable and dark so your hens feel safe in them. You should put straw or wood shavings in the nest boxes and make the boxes at least 4 inches deep. If the boxes are not deep enough your chickens may fight and pick each others feathers. You should keep the nesting boxes clean at all times so the eggs remain clean. Hens should be trained not to sleep in the nesting boxes because if they do they will soil the area with their droppings. You should not have a problem with hens sleeping in the nesting boxes f you have given your chickens adequate perching space. If you find some stubborn hens that do want to sleep in the nests close them off at night.