Chicken House / June 9, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
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.
Get a good chicken coop guide and building plan. Most of these coop designs have detailed instructions on how to build and materials that you need to make a coop. It just important that you get something that is easy to understand and have clear instructions. Decide on the materials that you will be using. You dont have to scramble to the shop at once. Survey your basement for some scrap lumber. This will help you empty your basement and save money from buying new materials as well. You can even find a lot of bargain materials that you can also use in your coop. Choose materials also that require you less maintenance as well. Chose a location where you will build your coop. This is important to consider especially for sanitation and health of your chicken. A slope or hilly land will be ideal for your coop to facilitate drainage of water. If you are putting your coop in your backyard make sure your coop is facing the sun to avoid moisture and damp areas in your coop.