Chicken Coop / June 1, 2018 / Maryellen
Last year I decided to build a chicken coop with my wife. Her and I used to be obese and we decided to evaluate the foods we were eating. We decided that part of us getting even healthier was growing more of our own food and eating organic to avoid the chemicals that build up in our bodies. As part of this we wanted to raise chickens for the healthy eggs. After a little bit more trouble than we had asked for we finally did build a chicken coop. I wish that someone would have told me a long ago what mistakes to avoid. To build a chicken coop draw out a plan. Collect all of the materials. Select materials that will be easy to attain easy to work with and easy to clean up. Plan the functionality of your coop. The doors need to open inwards not outwards. If you build it the other way with the door opening outwards you chickens will begin roosting on your windows. Your chickens will spend a lot of time in the coop so they need fresh air designing a coop with sliding windows is a great way to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the summer.
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.