There are certain things that every chicken coop should have to make sure you are raising happy and healthy chickens. Nobody wants to have a bunch of unhappy chickens running around, part of the reason of raising chickens is because they are so much fun! So let me get into some of the basics that every chicken coop needs to have.
First off, you need a roost. Chickens love to sleep in the highest place in the chicken coop because it makes them feel the safest. Chickens also go to the bathroom when they are resting, so it is very important that they do not sleep in their nesting boxes, you do not want to have your fresh eggs covered in droppings. Because of this, you also do not want your roost located directly above your nesting boxes. Your roost should leave the chickens enough head room also so they aren’t bumping their heads when jumping up or down. Don’t worry about having excess space on each side of your chickens while sleeping, because they like to huddle up with each other to stay warm and feel safe.
Secondly and probably the most important is protection from any animals that might want to eat your chickens. If you do not have a floor you need to have fencing buried under the dirt so no animals can dig their way into the coop, and make sure the coop and chicken run are all fenced in, especially if you know there are predators in your area.
Proper spacing for each chicken is required so they can lay their eggs and just feel comfortable. So make sure you have at least 3 square feet for each chicken you have living in your coop, most people give them at least 4, but if you are cramped for space, 3 is alright.
Your feeder should be placed around the height of your chickens’ backs. You want it off the ground so it isn’t getting scratched and things aren’t falling in it. You will also need a water heater so their water does not freeze if the temperature falls below freezing levels. Also, buy a water container that hold enough water for a few days, this way you don’t have to fill it every day and it won’t be a problem if you forget.
The last thing I will list here is to make sure your chicken coop is well ventilated and that you can easily clean it out. It will get pretty dirty from droppings and you need to make sure you can clean it out easily. So if you can’t walk in, make sure you can open the roof or side panel.
Those are my basics that every chicken coop needs to have. Having these things will keep your chickens healthy and happy. Have fun with your amazing pets!
Check out my site for some great blueprints for any type of chicken coop you could possibly need.
John Locke is an expert on chickens and everything related to chickens, come over to his site on blueprints for chicken coops to find blueprints for all types of coops. http://www.squidoo.com/blueprintsforachickencoop
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