The media is full of horror stories about the additives injected into supermarket chicken meat. The information would make anybody turn vegetarian. Or, the alternative is to raise some chickens yourself. If this is the path you have chosen, you will need to have a chicken coop to protect your flock.
A chicken coop has to keep your chickens safe and healthy, provide you with easy access to the chickens and eggs and for cleaning, and not look like an eyesore. When building your chicking coop, you should take the following six factors into account:
Make a pretty chicken coop
A chicken coop should blend in with its surroundings, particularly if you live in a built-up area. If you don’t have a ready-made blueprint for the design, make your own before you start to build. Plan the color scheme for the chicken coop at this stage also. And, once you have the coop built, clean up any leftover materials and weeds that are left around the area.
When you build your chicken coop, make sure you use material that will be easy to clean and disinfect. Use hinged doors that open inwards and windows that slide open. But the most important element of all is to have the floor sloping slightly, making it easier to hose out the chicken coop.
Build for Protection
A chicken coop needs to protect chickens not only from other animals, but also from the weather. A well-designed coop will not have any features that will cause harm to the chickens, and it should protect your investment from theft by other people as well. If you build the chicken coop in a high, well-drained place, it will protect it from damp. A chicken coop built to face the sun will have the added benefit of the sunshine naturally drying it after rain, and providing light inside. You should also build a fence around the coop with chicken wire, which should go about a foot deep into the ground. This will stop dogs etc from burying underneath the fence to get at the chickens.
Keep It Ventilated
A well-ventilated chicken coop will give the chickens lots of fresh air and stop dampness building up inside. You should also insulate the coop if you live in an area that gets cold weather during the winter. Chickens do not need to be kept warm, but they do need to be kept dry.
Let There Be Light
An electrical light inside a chicken coop will encourage your chickens to keep laying good quality eggs all year round. Otherwise, you can build the coop in a location where it will get lots of natural sunlight during the day.
Feeders and Water Trays
Do not leave your feeders and water trays on the floor of your chicken coop, as the chickens will scratch the food out onto the floor. If you have them slightly raised, the chickens will have to reach up to feed and drink, but will not be able to create a mess.