Tips On Building Chicken Coops And Runs
When you’re planning your new backyard chicken coop, remember that you’re building a home for your flock and the more comfortable they feel, the more productive your chickens will be. Have a solid plan before you begin and try to take into account all of the things your hens will need to be happy and healthy. Chickens can be quite picky about their homes.
A Fixed or Mobile Chicken Coop?
The first decision you will need to make is whether you want a fixed coop or a mobile structure that you can move around your backyard. A mobile coop is easier and less expensive to build but isn’t as sturdy as a fixed coop. It’s also really only suitable for about 5 or 6 chickens. Mobile coops, however, are easier to clean and you can easily relocate it to give your flock access to more insects, seeds and worms.
If you have limited space and only want to keep a few chickens, a mobile coop might suit your needs. If you want more chickens, have an issue with predators, or need to heat your coop, you should probably spend a little more time and effort and build a permanent structure.
Making Your Coop a Home
When you’re designing your new chicken coop, or selecting a commercially available model, focus on what your hens will need to be productive layers. Make sure to include a few perches and try to provide plenty of nesting areas. Chickens can share a nesting box, but the more you build, the happier your hens will be. Nesting areas should be at least a foot square and about 4-6 inches deep.
Keeping a dirt floor in your backyard chicken coop is always a good idea. Chickens love to hunt and peck for insects, and a dirt floor is also easier to keep clean. If you’re building a permanent coop, be sure to dig under the floor and line it with wire mesh to keep out predators who may try to dig their way in.
Remember to provide lots of ventilation and cover these access points with wire mesh. Chickens need plenty of fresh air, and good ventilation will help with climate control during the warmer months.
Planning your backyard chicken coop is all about thinking of the things that will keep your chickens safe and comfortable. Multiple nesting boxes that are easy to clean, plenty of fresh air, and places for your flock to just hang out. If you treat your chickens like members of the family, they’ll give you lots of fresh eggs and will be more resistant to health problems. A happy and productive backyard chicken coop always begins with a good plan that puts the well being of your chickens first.
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