Chicken House / June 9, 2018 / Maryellen
Ventilation. Chickens sweat. Sounds strange but it is true. Your chicken coop needs ventilation to keep your chickens cool in the warmer months and to allow the chickens perspiration to evaporate and escape the chicken coop. You should make sure your chicken coop plans include ventilation in the form of vents in walls or small windows but you also dont want it to be too drafty. You need a nice balance. One way to achieve this is to have the vents on the side of the chicken building that DOES NOT face the wind. This is typically the east or the south. This will also allow fresh oxygen rich air to flow into the hen house and the stale air and moisture to escape. Chickens can handle the cold but not the wet so it is vital to the health of your chickens that the moisture can escape.
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.
Chickens can be let out from the main door or sometimes a smaller door is included in a small chicken coop that can be opened to let the chickens out. Small Chicken Coops will usually not contain the kinds of additional equipment that is found in larger coops; for the most part a small chicken coop is a very utilitarian structure that involves a lot of manual intervention on the part of the breeder. A small chicken coop should be kept simple in order to focus on the raising of healthy happy chickens that have a high egg output. Removing all of the additional contraptions from a small chicken coop settles the chickens and keeps them more comfortable. As coops increase in size the quality of housing for the chickens within tends to decrease making a small chicken coop that much more attractive for the small breeder.