Saturday, February 28, 2015
Raising Backyard Chickens-A Guide to Housing
You can be as simple or as fancy as you want to be when it comes to housing your chickens. As for myself I ended up Googling lots of different chicken coop images and came up with a plan (ok my father in law did) with all the things I wanted for my house. I went with a shed style chicken house.
Here is one site that offers plans for purchase. Craigslist is another place you can look.If you feel like you can't come up with your own plans, there are ready made houses out there for sale. Build your own chicken coop plans are also available for purchase.
A few "must haves" for your chicken house are listed below.
The most important thing you want to make sure your housing is predator proof. Raccoon, fox, minx, and hawks are the main predators in our area. Make sure you have secure walls as well as a roof over their heads.
Allow one nest box for every 4 to 5 hens. Nesting boxes should be up off the ground and over to the side away from traffic. Hens like to lay eggs in a safe, quiet area.
Allow at least 4-6 square feet per bird inside the house. More if the birds are unable to free roam outside.
Provide your chickens with roosting polls. They will prefer these when they sleep. Round poles arranged in a staircase work best.
Allow a window or open area so that the house does not get too damp. You will want a little airflow to prevent any respiratory disease. Not too much though, you don't want it to be too drafty during the winter months.
If you decide to add a run to your chicken coop, its best to dig down 12 inches or so, and bury chicken wire all the way around to prevent vermin and predators from digging their way underneath.