So, you’re wanting to add a flock of delightful poultry to your property, and you need to build some housing for them before they arrive; how can the job get done right? There are a wide range of options to choose from in terms of designs and structures, but almost all successful chicken coops have these qualities in common:
Let’s take a look at each of these points and discuss how to go about making them a reality!
Your chickens will prefer to have plenty of elbow room (…or shall we say wing room). Be sure that your coop will provide at least 2-3 square feet of floor space per bird. Even though they may be spending most of their time outdoors during the day either free-ranging or in a secure run, there will be days when they will prefer to stay indoors due to unfavorable weather conditions, etc.
This deserves some extra emphasis. Don’t chintzy out on the strength of your structure; the safety and protection of your flock depends on it! Chances are, your coop will at some point be encountered by raccoons, foxes, stray dogs, you name it. Use sturdy materials for both the coop and the run, as well as a closeable chicken door to avoid tragedy.
While it’s important to protect your chickens from wind and drafts, it is equally important to ensure proper ventilation in the coop. Chickens put off a lot of moisture, and continual high humidity can cause bacterial growth and disease in the coop. Install predator-proof vents or windows near the roof to avoid causing drafts down where the chickens will be, and make sure they are sheltered by the eaves to keep out the elements, or at least have protective covers on them.
Assuming you’ll have some layer hens, they will need a few nest boxes. Plan to have at least one nest box for every 3-4 hens (but don’t be surprised if they all try to use the same one anyway!). Nest boxes should be large enough to allow the hens to stand and turn around comfortably, and furnished with some comfortable bedding such as straw or wood shavings. You can get creative designing nest boxes; some people even use buckets or milk crates turned on their sides!
You can make a roost out of anything long enough and strong enough to hold your chickens, preferable something they can wrap their toes around. Provide at least 12″ of roosting space per bird. The majority of the chicken droppings will end up beneath the roosts, so make sure this will not interfere with the location of their food and water sources.
Chickens love to spend time outside if the weather is tolerable; if your poultry cannot free-range, then plan on providing them with a securely fenced-in area attached to the coop. Allow a minimum of 3-6 sq. ft. per bird; the bigger the better.
Don’t forget that you’ll need to be able to get into the coop yourself for cleaning, egg gathering, etc. Design your structure in a way that all these activities can be done easily and conveniently; as time goes on, you’ll be glad you did!
Have you considered purchasing a structure that is already built and ready to turn into a high-quality chicken coop? Cumberland Buildings specializes in heavy-duty, durable, American-made sheds/barns that can be delivered right to your property.
We serve the states of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming, offering a variety of designs that you can customize to fit your needs, even down to the details of paint color!
Contact us today or find a dealer near you, and get a quote on the chicken coop of your dreams!
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