Chicken Coop / June 4, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
The worst error made is not planning ahead of time. It is very important to consider how many chickens will live in your coop? The size of the chickens is also very important. You also need to think about how many nests you want to have in your coop and how big they will be. How will the chickens be fed? Where will you place their food and water? Where will your coop be placed? If it is a shady area be sure to make room for more windows to let in sun light. Do you have enough room for a chicken run to allow easy access into and out of the coop? So there are a lot of questions to answer before you even begin to buy materials an draw up plans. You need to not only build a stable structure but also keep your chickens happy and safe. Planning properly will prevent a lot of problems in the future.
To protect your chickens from predators the best thing to do is to bury your outside runs with chicken wire all around the coop about 1 foot deep. This will prevent some very hungry predators such as raccoons cats and even dogs from digging underneath it. You may be wondering how to build a chicken coop that will not only keep your chickens locked up and protected from bad weather and predators yet receive the proper ventilation it requires. If so then you already understand the importance of draft free air movement from within the coop. Chickens much like humans need fresh air and oxygen. The same goes for the removal of unwanted excessive moisture and carbon dioxide. A chicken coop with ample air movement and proper ventilation will help remove the ammonia build up and dampness that may grow inside its walls.