People keep chickens in their backyards for a variety of reasons. Some see it as a popular activity and hobby. Meanwhile, others aim to have a source of fresh eggs and promote small-scale sustainable farming. A few consider fowls as a household pet akin to other domesticated house animals such as dogs and cats.
Whatever reason you may have, you must understand what a chicken coop is and the best practices when creating one. Read on to find out more about the vital information you’ll need to ensure success in your quest of building your chicken coop.
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What Is Chicken Coop?
A chicken coop is a protected indoor structure where your poultry can rest without being bothered by bad weather or pests and other predators. It’s also a good space for chickens to lay eggs which is important if egg production is your primary goal of keeping them. Properly structured and well-planned chicken coops also allow chickens to feed and roost at peace.
Don’t know anything about making a coop via do-it-yourself or DIY? No problem, as there are many free chicken coop plans available online that you can browse to help you out.
Importance Of Chicken Coop
Think of a chicken coop as a house that shelters your beloved brood. Just like a home, a coop should meet the needs of its users to ensure a meaningful stay. Below are some reasons why you need a well-built coop for your pet chickens.
Space for Roosting
Your coop will provide your chickens with a familiar, secure place to roost at night. It also allows chickens to roost while retaining their social hierarchy. This helps to reduce territorial behavior, which can lead to conflict within the flock members. It’ll also ensure that your chickens are well-rested and protected from the elements during nighttime.
Helps Keep An Eye On The Whole Flock
Chickens become accustomed to routines and behaviors, and using your coop as a proper feeding area will teach them to return to the area when it’s time to feed. It’ll allow you to better track and manage your flock, ensuring that each bird is well fed and enabling you to observe your chickens for possible health issues.
Provide A Comfortable Shelter For Your Chickens
Though chickens are adaptable to various climates and weather conditions, they still need a comfortable shelter that’d protect them from thunderstorms, heavy winds, torrential rain, bitter cold temperatures, and severe heat. Your coop will make it easier for your flock to stay warm and healthy during inclement weather.
If your budget is what’s hindering you from creating a comfortable shelter for your flock, there are lots of guides on making a DIY chicken coop for cheaps you can explore online.
Comfortable Laying Space
If egg production is your primary goal for keeping chickens, you’ll need a coop with enough laying room for the hens to lay more eggs. Not only will a coop’s properly sized and spaced laying boxes put your hens at ease, but they’ll also make it easier for you to collect the eggs with minimal disturbance to the birds.
You must provide a healthy and comfortable environment for your hens to produce tasty, nutritious farm-fresh eggs; creating a well-planned coop can help achieve that goal.
Making A Safe And Comfortable Coop
Creating a well-constructed and appropriate chicken coop is no herculean task. With a little tinkering of your options and relying on the knowledge of experts, you can make a safe and secured shelter for your flock. Consider doing some of the best tips below:
1. Plan Everything Ahead
Rushing the construction of your chicken coop will do no good on its overall result. Make sure you have detailed plans, drawings and have considered all of the factors that go into building a coop, including size, portability, cost, and ongoing maintenance.
Thus, start with a number of considerations. Consider your coop’s usability. Take note of the ventilation needs, and consider installing some sliding windows for the hot season.
The doors must be opened inwards rather than outwards, or your birds can find a way out. Lastly, you must determine the number of birds you want to keep in this coop. An overcrowded coop may negatively affect each bird’s health.
2. Choose The Right Material
Although there are different materials from which a coop can be constructed, some are better than others. For a backyard chicken coop, some experts advise using plywood.
Plywood isn’t only inexpensive, but it is also highly durable. For a long-lasting chicken coop plywood, you’ll need to use paint and primer to protect it. Moreover, plywood is simple to cut holes and windows in, providing plenty of ventilation for a backyard flock.
3. Flooring Keeps Predators At Bay
A design that protects a flock from predators is one of the most critical considerations in constructing a coop. Mice, rats, and even snakes are among the most common predators of backyard chickens. Snakes that enjoy eating chicks can try to slither between the coop walls and on the ground to gain access to your flock.
In most situations, having a well-done floor in your chicken coop is a good idea. Your chickens would be protected from burrowing predators who gain access by digging under the coop. Winters are often a little colder on a surface than on dirt.
Having a natural floor might also be the best option for some. The ground can be a fantastic place for microbes and bacteria to help compost, particularly for those who use the deep litter process. Dirt floors are also great for keeping your chickens cool in hotter climates.
Natural floors are inexpensive and need little maintenance, aside from some hardware cloth to keep pests at bay. If you choose a natural floor for your coop, you must ensure that you’ll use precautionary measures against predators and pests.
4. Consider Enough Roosting Space
Woodpiles, coop’s roof, the tops of their waterers or feeders, are all common places for chickens to roost or perch. To avoid ground parasites, they tend to roost off the ground. It’s believed that they sometimes dislike sitting on their feces.
Additionally, chickens are said to also dislike being too close to the ground when roosting. That’s why you must create designated roosting poles that are at least two to three feet off the ground. Make sure each chicken has at least six to ten inches of roosting space.
They’ll need a way to get up to the roosting poles if they’re taller than four feet, such as a plank or wooden strips for makeshift stairs.
5. Ensure Good Ventilation
Experts believe that a coop should have one-fifth of its total wall space vented. For air circulation, you should cut openings into the walls near the ceiling and follow this cardinal rule. The holes should rise above the roosts. Predators won’t be able to penetrate them if they’re sealed with a half-inch hardware cloth that is secured tightly.
Making chicken coop plans can be daunting at first, but it’ll be worth it and may give a lot of benefit for you and your family in the long run. Don’t forget to plan everything before you start constructing your coop, as planning plays a vital role in its overall result.
Consider using the most appropriate and cost-effective material to use. Remember that your goal is to provide a comfortable and safe space for your flock.