Sunday, June 9, 2013

Building a chicken coop

Building a chicken coop if not difficult to do on your own. There is an almost infinite variety of housing options for chickens from the mobile "chicken tractors" or skids to full sized buildings or sheds. The size will depend on the number of birds you plan to keep as the other available area to which they will have access.

It is important to have 2 doors. The smaller is for the chickens to to enter and exit, a "pop" door. The larger is for you to use for cleaning out the coop and for maintenance.

Here it is almost finished, only the trim left to paint. You can see the vents on the side. This gives warm moist air a chance to escape and screens keep out wild birds/animals.
All done! Chickens love to roost, so it's important to have some roosts of different heights available

About one nest for every 4-5 laying hens is the general recommendation. We have 8 nest boxes for 10, which is definitely overkill as they tend to gather all the eggs into only one or two. The nests should be about 12-14 inches on all sides.
Here is a view from the inside. You can see some of the additional roosts as well as the pine bedding we use. Another great benefit is that when we clean out the coop the used bedding/manure makes great compost.
A picture of the happy chickens. In the background is the automatic watering device we use. This was one of the best investments we ever made, it keeps the chickens healthy by providing constant access to clean fresh water, and we we don't have to worry about keeping their water full.

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