Chicken Coop / June 4, 2018 / Maryellen.
When designing your chicken coop structure you must use sound judgment in almost every aspect of the way. For instance you want to use building materials in which the cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be quick and easy. The doors you install should open inwards not outwards. You dont want your chickens roosting on your windows so it is best to install sliding windows. A question many people ask is how to build a chicken coop whos floors are easy to hose and spray down without much puddling? Well the secret to that is to slightly slope the flooring toward the door. This way when you spray out the chicken coop the water will flow out hence solving your puddling problem.
Then listen up. As you may know a well built chicken coop will protect your chickens from hazardous elements such as bad weather (heavy rain wind hale snow cold climates etc) but they will also protect them from hungry predators theft and injury. Easy. You want to build a draft free chicken house with windows and doors that can be opened and closed as needed. Make sure the windows and doors both have proper screening systems installed in them such as a heavy gage mesh wire. Building the chicken coop on a high yet well drained area with ensure the least amount of dampness of the coop. Be sure to build your chicken coop in an area that faces the sun which will help warm and dry the soil and coop itself after it rains.
Building with used material you already have lying around or maybe a friend or neighbor has lumber they would like to give you and that would certainly cut the costs of building materials down. Also building the housing yourself from a good set of chicken coop plans could save you as much as 50% off the price of buying a coop in kit form or already built. Planning and building your chicken coop should not be difficult or even take a lot of time. Just a few hours of planning will go a long way in keeping the process smooth. Provide shelter from the environment and predators build according to your projected flock size and how much property you have to work with give your chickens enough room to exercise place your chicken coop so they get plenty of sunshine and fresh air and finally size according to your projected budget.
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.
Use appropriate building materials. Wood on the bottom of the coop that is in contact with the soil will eventually rot. Redwood and cedar are rot-resistant and excellent choices. Pine is cheaper and may need replacing in the future or require treatment. Be aware that preservatives put on wood might be poisonous to chickens. Use metal fiberglass or wood shingles for the roof. Perches. Chickens need to perch off the ground at night. You can be creative making perches from broom handles natural branches or 2x2s rounded and sanded (1x2 for bantams). Figure 6-10 inches of perching space per hen or 6-8 inches for bantams. Nesting boxes. Provide 1 nesting box for every 4-5 hens. They will often share a nest. Build the boxes where you can reach in through a hinged door for easy access to collect the eggs.