Do you know why the chicken crossed the road?
To get to its coop, of course!
There’s nothing more exciting than raising your backyard chickens. What’s more, having the best chicken coop makes the experience delightful.
When you learn to select and build high-quality chicken coops, your flock enjoys:
- Shelter from harsh weather conditions
- A hygienic place to roost
- Protection from pests and predators
Do you know what qualities make a great chicken coop?
You’ve come to the right place for answers.
Here’s a comprehensive checklist to help you select the best chicken coop for your flock.
1. The Appropriate Size for Your Chicken Keeping Needs
Do you raise backyard chickens for their healthy eggs?
For one, egg-laying birds are sensitive. They need to be in a safe living environment to produce the best quality and number of eggs.
Thus, having enough space in each chicken coop keeps them ready for the egg-laying season.
Your flock will also increase in number when some of the eggs hatch. Chicks need to stay in a chicken coop for the first few weeks to grow well.
The rule of thumb when selecting a chicken coop is that the dimensions depend on the number and type of chickens you wish to keep.
This video identifies the space requirements for a chicken coop.
The best coop size should allow the flock to walk freely.
With enough space, you’ll notice an improvement in egg-laying.
Next, it’s important to consider the appearance of the chicken coop.
You wouldn’t want to raise your beautiful chickens in a pale, boring coop. You need to give them a home that’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to maintain.
Most coops for chickens are wooden and need regular maintenance through:
- Painting to improve the outer appearance.
- Cleaning out weeds and dirt.
- Inserting proper screening to muffle chicken noises.
Boost the coop’s appearance by growing some beautiful plants around it. They play a key role in making your chickens feel right at home.
These efforts keep your coop gorgeous and your chickens happy. It also makes you a great neighbor.
2. Has Good Ventilation and Lighting
To get those farm fresh eggs you’ve always dreamed of, your chicken coop needs to have these basic qualities.
Coop lighting is crucial because it triggers the egg production process.
It takes your backyard hens up to 14 hours to produce one egg.
A well-lit coop improves flock productivity and sexual maturity during the mid-winter season. This will cause them to lay new eggs sooner than expected.
It’s also important for baby chicks to receive up to 24 hours of light each day during their first week. This helps with their healthy growth and development.
So, you need to ensure that enough natural light gets into your chicken coop. Here’s how:
- Whitewash the interior to reflect light.
- Ensure the roofing has a small gap for light to pass into the chicken coop.
- Include windows on the south side of the housing.
- Use window shades to control the light intensity in an open-sided coop.
The amount of light your chickens need depends on their age. Have a look at this chart by poultry researchers:
From this, it’s easy to control the lighting in the chickens coop and steadily ensure egg production at night.
Space the bulbs evenly to light up the whole coop. These should have 5 lux light intensity.
After that, you need to search for chicken coops with great ventilation. Without it, the cool and humid conditions can cause your flock health problems.
Begin by checking if there are windows and ventilation holes. These are must-haves in every coop and are important because they:
- Allow free circulation of fresh air, especially during the summer.
- Prevent the air from gratifying and becoming stale.
- Manage ammonia build-up in the chicken coop.
Poultry experts recommend these ventilation requirements:
- Install a window of 8 meters in width in each coop.
- Avoid metal roofing which may increase the temperature.
- Place the coop facing the prevailing wind.
These measures will keep your backyard chickens healthy throughout their lifetime.
3. Includes a Nesting Area for Hens
Nesting hens can be difficult to manage in chicken coops.
Chickens sit in the coop for a long time and don’t like to be moved when they are ready to lay eggs.
During this period, they stay in the chicken coop nest boxes.
According to specialists, the best coop nesting boxes should meet these requirements:
|Front panel||4 inches|
|Perch||6 to 8 inches out of each nest box|
One nest box can house up to 5 nesting hens. So, you need to know how many hens you’ll keep in the coop to build the right number of nesting boxes.
Now you may wonder how to get your hens in the nesting boxes.
You don’t need to lift a finger. Instead, the hens search for suitable places before deciding to go into the nesting boxes.
There they will begin laying their eggs.
Watching over your backyard chickens is as easy as ABC!
4. Protects Chickens From Harsh Weather and Predators
Without this knowledge, you may find it difficult to build a good coop.
Predators find their way into the coop through holes and crevices.
To make your chicken coop secure, you should enclose the area with a wire mesh gauge. This is easy to find at a reasonable price per meter.
Bury the mesh 1 ft deep in the soil and ensure it stands 4 inches above the ground.
For extra protection, lay a new concrete foundation beneath the chicken coop. It prevents rodents from digging under the fence and attacking the flock.
Include a 3 ft grid of bailing twine over the pen for protection from flying predators.
Remember to keep a dog in your yard to ward off unwanted visitors from both your home and your chicken coop.
Furthermore, the chicken coop needs to be strong to sustain harsh weather conditions.
Before building the final product, consider the weather conditions in your area.
Do you experience high or low temperatures? How much does it snow in the winter?
The answers to these questions will make it easy to upgrade each chicken coop.
One easy way to control temperatures is by installing heating lamps within the coop. You can adjust the warmth depending on the season.
Above all, take a trip to your local poultry agent for recommendations.
5. Provides Easy Access to Feed and Water
What’s a home without food and water?
Your chicken coop should make it easy for your flock to access these amenities.
Once you order amazing chicken feeders, place them in your coop. If you’re not sure of the right size or type of feeder, you can build your own.
It costs a low price to build and maintain. You can also turn your chicken coop feeders into planters for container gardening.
How cool is that?
Research suggests placing feeders within the chicken coop at even intervals. This helps to control mites, hygiene, and prevent food fights among chickens.
You also need to space out the feeders and watering equipment evenly throughout the coop. Each chicken takes up 2 to 3 linear inches of space on a feeder. Use this estimate to measure how much space you need.
If possible, watch over the watering area to prevent an increase of humidity in chicken coops.
Learn to Raise Your Backyard Chickens the Right Way
If any chicken coop ticks all these boxes, you should take it home with you.
Now that you’re a certified chicken coop expert, you should work on the rest of your home garden too.
The Gardening Channel has all the information you need to start your garden projects.
Visit the blog today for all the answers to your gardening questions.
Photo from Flickr by Stephan Ridgway
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