Planning to build a chicken coop? Where do you begin? What is the description or definition of a chicken coop or a henhouse? Well, it simply a shed or building (big or small, beautiful or not so beautiful) where chickens (plus a rooster or two if you so wish) are kept. And what are the essentials of building a sound chicken coop?
Let’s take a closer look at eight of the most essential aspects:
1. Siting and placement for your coop
First, it is very important that you choose a spot to build your coop on a level piece of ground. If you can’t find suitable ground that’s naturally level, it will be necessary for you to level it out yourself either manually by hand or you can hire machinery to do it. Secondly – and this is simply common sense – your hencoop should be situated in a place that’s safe and secured against predators. This is particularly important if your home or property is neither walled and gated nor fenced (with security wire mesh) and gated equally securely.
2. Safety and Protection from predators
As already pointed out and of course depending on where you live, wild animals such as jackals, foxes, bears, coyotes, skunks, mountain lions, wild cats, wild dogs will want a share of your tasty chickens. Needless to say if your coop does not offer sufficient protection for your chickens against these marauders, your chickens will indeed end up inside their stomachs. So, make sure the coop you build is strong enough to provide adequate protection and safety for your chickens.
Just as it is crucial to have protection for chickens against predators, it is equally important to provide protection for them against all bad weather conditions prevailing in your region. Extremely hot or cold temperatures, heavy rain or torrential rain can spell disaster for poorly built or flimsy chicken coops.
Therefore before starting to build, consider carefully the prevailing climate (including seasonal changes) in your area or region. Plan to build an appropriate coop to protect your chickens from all weather related elements.
Warm climates require you to provide enough ventilation. In very cold climates harsh drafts can be fatal for both young and mature chicks. Also make sure you take precautions to keep water from freezing. Try to establish a constantly comfortable temperature inside the coop whatever the prevailing climate might be.
Your design should provide enough floor and ground space for each of the chickens to move about freely during the day time. The minimum recommended floor or ground space required for each single bird is at least 3 square feet. The more the better if you can afford it.
Sufficient ventilation in the form of through draft (where appropriate) to blow away the bad smell is essential always being mindful of maintaining proper temperature.
5. Chicken droppings smell quite bad. To promote good environmental health, proper ventilation is essential. There are a variety of ways to make proper arrangements for good ventilation that is suitable to each type or kind of coop.
6. Sufficient lighting
About 14 hours of light a day is the optimum amount of light that chickens require daily. That means you will have to provide supplementary artificial lighting to make up for any shortage of day light.
The mess created by chicken droppings needs to be cleaned up regularly. The method of cleaning has to be appropriate to the type coop being built relevant to whether it’s portable or fixed.
Consider the size of the coop you intend to build (whether it’s going to be big, medium or small) and strive to incorporate into your building plans aspects that make it easy to perform repeated cleaning and maintenance chores.
While aesthetics and beauty are quite desirable elements of design for your neighbors, don’t hold your breath waiting for a resounding round of applause from your chickens for your efforts. They probably won’t give a hoot! All they want and need is enough food and water, comfort and protection! But then, you never know, you might just get a few clucks of gratitude one of these fine mornings – if you do your job well!