If you plan to set up a chicken coop in your backyard and want to properly set up a chicken coop, you have come to the right place.
This article will discuss everything you need to know when building a backyard chicken coop. Keep reading to learn more.
A chicken coop is home to your birds. While it is a simple structure, it is one of the most important of keeping your chickens happy and healthy.
Your backyard chicken coop will keep your flock safe from predators, dry during rain, and warm during winter. It will also ensure that your eggs are safe.
The exact specifications of your coop will depend on various factors, such as where you live and the breed of your chickens.
Tips For Building Your Backyard Chicken Coop
When designing your chicken coop, the goal is to construct a structure that will keep your birds safe from predators, diseases, moisture, overheating, and drafts.
A well-designed coop will ensure that your chickens live a happy and healthy life. Here are a few tips for building your backyard chicken coop.
One of the most important things to consider when building your coop is its location. Choosing the right location will protect the chickens and maintain coop hygiene.
Your backyard chicken coop should be built on high ground to avoid mud problems, flooding, and moisture and water buildup.
If the ground is not high enough, you can build an elevated coop to keep your chickens dry.
The coop should be close to your home or in a highly trafficked location in the backyard. This will help to keep predators away.
In addition, the chicken coop should be away from large trees and grass that could shelter predators.
Since sunlight encourages egg-laying, you must ensure that your coop is not always in the shade. Your hens may stop laying eggs if they lack enough natural light.
However, you may also want it near a tree to keep your birds cool in hot weather.
The size of your coop will depend on the number of chickens you plan to raise. Most chicken breeds require at least 4 square feet per chicken if outdoor range space is available.
In addition to the indoor coop, your backyard chickens should have an outdoor space or “run” of about 4 square feet per chicken.
If you do not have outdoor range space, you should give your birds more room inside the coop to spread out. In such cases, you can provide them around 8 square feet of room per chicken.
Your backyard chicken coop will also need space for waterers and feeders, roosting bars, vents for air circulation, and nesting boxes.
Therefore, it is essential to include these objects when sketching your plan so that the birds still have plenty of space.
Overcrowding in the coop can lead to several issues. For instance, it can cause your birds to fight more. This means chickens at the bottom of the pecking order will have limited access to water and food.
Overcrowding in the coop can also lead to cannibalism and increase the chances of insects and parasites entering the coop.
Coop Flooring and Material
There are many options regarding the materials you can use to build your backyard chicken coop. However, some options are better than others.
We recommend using plain, unfinished plywood for the flooring with a deep layer of shavings. Plywood is a better option because it is relatively cheap and extremely durable.
Therefore, you will not be required to replace it too often. It is also easy to cut windows and holes in, providing good ventilation.
However, it is important to note that wood can rot and become a home for parasites like mites. Some chicken keepers nail down rolled linoleum on top of the wood since it is easy to replace and clean.
It is essential to secure your chickens from the threat of predators when designing your coop.
The typical backyard chicken predators are raccoons, dogs, fisher cats, and coyotes. Some snakes eat chicks and may attempt to access your birds.
To keep your coop safe from snakes and other predators that may try to access the coop from underneath, you will need to raise the coop 8 to 12 inches off the ground.
Elevating the chicken coop will also help to keep the wood and other materials from rotting.
The coop door can be as simple as a piece of plywood on a frame, with hinges and a latch. However, it should be large enough to enter and exit easily with eggs.
It should also be a bit strong to keep off predators trying to break into the coop.
It is not unusual for predators to break into the coop through the door. To prevent this, you must secure latches on all vented windows and coop doors.
Notorious predators like raccoons can untie knots, turn knobs, lift latches, undo bungee cords, and slide deadbolts.
Nesting boxes are not an option if you plan to raise hens in your backyard. The number of nesting boxes in the coop will depend on the number of chickens to have.
Typically, you will need one nesting box for every three chickens. Your nesting box should be about 1 to 2 feet square.
You will need to put them lower than the roosts, so the birds do not perch on them. Some chickens will prefer sleeping in the same box.
Therefore, if you are raising large-sized chicken breeds, such as the Jersey Giant, you can provide an additional square foot of coop floor space per chicken.
You will need to stuff the nesting boxes with sawdust or straw, so the eggs do not break. Most chicken breeds will lay at least once every two days.
You can also add a few boxes filled with sand. Backyard chickens often clean themselves with dust-bathing. This will help them stay clean as well as mite-free.
Your backyard chickens will need a roosting area of 8 inches per chicken. This will ensure that your flock roosts off the floor at night.
While you will have to provide enough roosting area, it is important to understand that chickens often crowd together at night.
When designing your backyard chicken coop, it is important to consider whether you will bring electricity inside. Electricity will help with your chickens’ egg-laying and keep the flock warm.
A low-wattage bulb will prolong the day during winter and keep your chickens’ egg production rate more consistent.
Coop ventilation and air circulation help to prevent diseases. At least one-fifth of the total wall space of the coop should be vented.
You need to make wall openings near the ceiling to enhance air circulation. The openings should be slightly higher than the roosts.
Food And Water Supply
Well-functioning drinkers and feeders are important components of the interior of the coop. You should place them away from the roost, so your birds do not poop in them while roosting.
You can also suspend them a few inches off the ground so that they do not collect much bedding when your birds are scratching nearby.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Essentials For a Backyard Chicken Coop?
The essentials of a backyard chicken coop are nesting boxes, space(indoor and outdoor), flooring and bedding, and roosts. Your backyard chicken coop needs good air ventilation, drinkers, and feeders.
How Big Should Your Coop Be?
The overall size of your coop will depend on the number of chickens you plan to raise.
A coop space of 3 to 4 square feet per chicken is recommended. The space should be larger if you plan to confine your chickens for longer periods.
How Often Do You Have to Clean a Chicken Coop?
You should clean the coop bedding out once a week. The deeper the bedding layer, the less often you will have to clean it out. Also, you should provide fresh water and fresh food every day.
While a chicken coop is a simple structure, it is essential for keeping a happy, healthy, and productive flock.
If you are starting backyard chicken keeping, consider our tips for building a backyard chicken coop.