While living an urban lifestyle people often tend to forget the virtues of nature. Even a simple, highly satisfying hobby like gardening is gradually becoming instinct. There are very few people out there who know that keeping chickens in the backyard costs way less than keeping a dog as pet. While most individuals prefer to opt for ready-made coops, others utilize their construction skills and employ different chicken coop plans available in the market.
Building a chicken coop not only takes time, but also careful planning and some skills. Before you pick up your hammer, put out graph paper and analyze everything a chicken requires to stay safe and healthy. Outlined below are a few things you should consider prior to deciding on a coop design.
1. Coop size and shape
Every chicken needs no less than three-to-six square feet of outdoor space, or two square feet of indoor space. For instance, you’ll have to multiply the total number of chickens you are planning to keep with 2 in order to get a precise square footage for your coop.
You need to allow eight to ten inches of roosting space for every hen. Interestingly, the reality on that is that your chickens are going to squeeze together at one end, ignoring the rest of the available area.
No matter what sort of chicken coops plans you are using, it is necessary to include a good ventilation system that isn’t drafty. Appropriate air flow is necessary to allow ammonia from the feces and urine to escape. You need to make sure that your chicken coop has moderately sized vents on both ends. In order to ensure the protection of your hens from wind, position both vents in the opposite direction of the direct wind flow. This will allow the air to enter and leave the coop without blowing directly on the chickens. Always use predator proof screen inside the coop, since it allows you to open the windows in summer.
4. Temperature control
Chickens or hens are most comfortable when the temperature inside the coop is within the range of 40-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Severe environmental conditions – hot or cold – can be dire. You should always opt for chickens that are well-suited to your climate. In summer, provide your chickens higher ceilings, good ventilation and extra space.
5. Clean surroundings
Decent drainage in the areas outside the coop prevents any sort of odor and moisture build-up. Majority of the chicken keepers choose hard-surfaced flooring that can be easily hosed, especially in dry, hot climates. Gravel or sand can also be used, since they keep the chicken’s feet clean. Never use slippery flooring, such as paper, metal or tile, particularly for meat birds. Wire floors are considered as a reasonable option for meat birds in terms of cleanliness, but they might sometimes cause breast sores in some chickens. Try to use deep litter for cushioning these birds, and make sure that it is kept dry and clean.
Carrying out a little research on chicken coop plans and required building materials will make it easier for you to customize the coop according to the available space and budget.