A chicken coop is where your chickens can live comfortably and stay safe from predators. It’s important to be able to protect your chickens if you want to raise them.
There are a few basics to consider when figuring out the best chicken house for your needs. Always wait to get any chickens until you have a chicken house that will keep them safe and warm. It’s important to have an area out of the coop where they can scratch and walk around.
When deciding on the size of your chicken coop, you will have to decide how much money you can spend and how many chickens you plan on raising. You could figure out how many chickens you would like and then, decide on the size of your coop. It’s best to have one nesting box per chicken.
You need to determine how much you can spend. You could order pre-built coops from your local home improvement store or online. If you have the skills, you could build your own.
You can buy cheaper materials, wait for sales or watch for anyone giving wood away. Just make sure the wood isn’t treated with chemicals that could harm the chickens.
You can mention to your friends or neighbors to keep an eye out for free wood. You will be surprised at how many people have old wood, windows or doors just laying around they need to get rid of.
If you plan on building your own, you will need a hammer, nails, fence staples, 2x4s, 2x2s and some plywood. You will need a material for the fence, as well as hardware for doors and gates. Tar paper will work for the roof and you can even add shingles on it for extra protection.
Weather in Your Area
It’s important to place your chicken coop in the best place. The ground should be solid and even.
Consider the weather in your area. What kind of soil do you have? Does it rain a good bit? Do you have four seasons? How cold does it get? If the soil is soft in your yard? If it rains a lot, it’s best to build your coop so that it’s raised above the ground.
If you have freezing conditions during the winter, you should use thick materials and insulate it properly to keep your chickens warm. A small heater can help too just be sure that it’s in a safe place and has an automatic shut off if it gets knocked over.
Chickens depend heavily on light so plan on having enough windows so the light can shine in. Make sure you place windows on the side the sun rises from. Chickens sleep and awaken according to the sun.
Not getting enough sunlight will have an effect on the egg production. Natural light is best, although you can use artificial light but it can be expensive. Windows will also help the air to circulate. The inside of a chicken coop can get pretty rank so it’s important to let some air flow through.
Safe from Predators
The coop will need to be able to withstand any attempts from predators to get inside. Raccoons are good with their hands and may surprise you with their adeptness. You can bury the fence down at least a foot if there are burrowing animals.
Check all the latches on your gates and doors to make sure they securely shut. It’s best to put a fence around the entire chicken coop to better protect it. If there are trees above the coop, you should put a fence on top of the coop.
Keeping It Clean
Because chickens defecate anywhere and anytime, you will have to clean the area on a regular basis. Make sure that the nesting boxes you use are easy to get to and to clean. It would be smart to keep a shovel and a rake near the door of the coop.
You will also need bedding material for the nesting boxes. Many people use straw or hay but it will need replaced every few days. Untreated pine shavings or chips will work, too.
You want to come up with a cleaning routine and be sure that you maintain it. The cleaner the conditions, the better eggs your hens will produce. It will make it easier on you as well. Small regular cleanings versus long, tiring and overwhelming cleanings will help make raising chickens more enjoyable and less like hard work.
It’s important to create a safe place for your chickens. Your chickens will produce more eggs when they feel safe and secure.