You want your birds in good physical shape, contented and happy. You want them ready and able to lay eggs for you. There are certain things you should make sure you provide when you are planning your chicken coop.
Here are some chicken coop ideas
Keep the Predators Out
- One of the first things to consider is making the coop safe from predators–and this means all sides. Make sure that all openings are protected with the correct size of wire mesh – 15mm square so that so that predators can not reach inside the coop!
- Make sure that the area surrounding the coop (the “run”) is protected with wire-mesh fencing with the base buried to keep foxes, raccoons and rats from burrowing into the area. Rats would especially be drawn into the area because of chicken droppings, but chickens have a lot of predators who would love to break in, and the fencing needs to be buried at least 15″ into the ground.
- Make sure the chicken coop is well ventilated to prevent respiratory diseases, but if you have a choice, try to keep it directly out of the flow of air. Although chickens have a tolerance to cold weather, wind is another matter and you want to avoid being in the direct wind path as much as possible.
- You want enough room for the chickens to roam around in the coop, so plan at least 4 square feet per bird.
Inside the Coop: Roosting Poles
- Your birds need roosting poles–that is where they sleep! Make sure that there is adequate spacing so they don’t crowd out one another. More on this in a separate post – click here to read our detailed description of why chickens need a roost.
Inside the Coop: Nesting Boxes for Chickens
- If you only have a flock of 3, you only need 1 nest box. (Put 1 nest box for every 4 or 5 birds). Put it in a dark corner of the coop to encourage your chickens to lay eggs.
- Nest boxes should be a little bit off the floor but lower than the roosting pole inside.
Inside the Coop: Feeder/Waterer
- There should be a waterer and feeder inside the chicken coop.
The Cleaning Plan
- Think ahead – plan to make the coop easy to clean. On a separate post, I will describe the cleaning tasks; you will want plans that take into account the easiest way to keep the coop clean.
- For easy disposal of droppings, place a removable plastic tray under the roosting poles.