Essential Features of a Chicken House

by admin on July 11, 2012

How many square feet of space does each chicken need inside the chicken coop?

Having an outdoor chicken yard is highly recommended but if you are unable to provide one, you will need at least 5-8 square feet per chicken inside the coop for a small flock. Larger breeds will need more space than smaller breeds. If you are able to provide a yard and the chickens will spend most of their time outdoors, the coop can be smaller as long as it gives them enough space to roost at night. Figure about 2 square feet per chicken so that they aren’t on top of each other. For the yard area, there should be at least 5 square feet per chicken.

Chickens love being outside. Having a yard for them may eliminate the need to buy grit or at least greatly reduce the need as they will be able to peck and scratch. Dirt is perfectly fine for the chicken yard since chickens instinctively dust themselves to cut down on parasites and cool their bodies on a hot summer day. This helps them stay clean, cool and comfortable.

What are the most important things to consider when building a chicken coop?

The most important things to consider when building a chicken coop are the location, the size, the environment you live in, any animal or building restrictions and any predators in the area. Not considering these factors could delay the building process or cause a major financial burden later on. Whether you are making a small hut for a few chickens or a large coop for a huge flock, these factors will be your foundation.

Location

Location is important for several reasons. The idea that roosters only crow at sun-up is a complete crock. They crow all day long. The more roosters you have, the more they will crow. When deciding on a location for your coop, take into consideration the proximity to your house as well as your neighbors. The location of your coop should be in a dry, partially shaded area. Especially if you have a yard for the chickens, they will need shade in the summer and shelter in the winter. As stated above, chickens love to dust themselves so a dirt yard is ideal. If your yard has grass and plants in it, make sure that none of them are poisonous before you allow your flock to graze (they will eat anything and everything). In addition if you place your chickens or their yard in close proximity to a garden you will have the added benefit of pest control. Chickens eat many bugs that are undesirable in a garden i.e.… earwigs, squash beetles and grasshoppers. On the other hand if these same chickens are able to gain access to your garden they will also delight in eating your squash, tomatoes and corn!

Environment

It is important to take into consideration what type of environment your chickens will be living in. If you live in a climate that is cold most of the time or has harsh snow storms, your coop will need extra insulation. If you live in a very warm climate your coop will need extra ventilation and shade.

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