If you have chickens or are considering getting them, you have almost certainly researched how to make them comfortable. Whether you raise hens for egg or meat production, they will live longer and be more productive if they are happy and comfortable.And you can certainly ensure your chickens’ comfort by building a chicken coop.
What exactly is a chicken coop? This article discusses what a chicken coop is and much more.
What is a chicken coop?
Simply put, a coop is the structure that houses your hens and/or other poultry. It is a safe place for them to relax, sleep, and lay their eggs, and it is excellent if it is connected to a run so that they may roam, eat, and drink there.
An enclosed area that extends outdoors is called a run, and it can either be exposed to the environment or covered for added protection from the elements and predators.
Why you need a chicken coop
You are probably wondering whether it’s worthwhile investing in a chicken coop. The truth is that a chicken coop is a must-have if you are rearing chicken. Here are reasons that justify that.
1. It protects chickens from harsh weather elements.
The majority of varieties of chicken are surprisingly resilient and can easily withstand temperatures below zero. You’ll be startled to see them moving around on the coldest winter days, pecking, scratching, and generally going about their daily lives. Despite this, you still want to provide them with the best protection against heat and cold. You should create a roost with a location for birds to congregate for warmth, a place to stay dry, and a place to escape the sun.
2. It protects them from predators.
Chickens can hardly defend themselves. Except for roosters, whose spurs may be quite nasty, they have little more to fight with but a beak and cannot sprint or fly far.
Many things out there would like to eat your chickens, eggs, or both before you do. When you don’t take precautions to protect them, a lot of predators might just eat your precious chicken or their eggs.
Even though a coop closure and run cover might not be required, you should, at the very least, provide your animals with complete four-sided protection when they are outdoors and a sturdy roof over their heads when they are indoors.
3. A comfortable place to sleep
Do you enjoy retiring to your cozy bed at night? Your flock can have that same experience in a chicken coop. Thanks to the structure, they have a secure location to spend the night, and you can even add roosting bars and other higher areas. Chickens enjoy sleeping in the air, and a roosting perch allows them to do so while still feeling safe and secure in their elevated position. The roosting bars should be smooth with rounded edges to avoid splinters and make it easier for your birds to grab.
Ensure you provide ample roosting area for your chickens to settle in peacefully. With these qualities, your flock will have a restful night’s sleep, waking up happier and healthier.
4. A safe laying area
You must provide your chickens with a safe and comfortable environment if you want them to produce wholesome, delectable farm-fresh eggs. This is among the main arguments in favor of a chicken coop.
Nesting boxes provide your chickens a practical, secure location to deposit their eggs quietly. As a general rule of thumb, one nesting box should be present for every four hens. To provide your hens with the best laying area, raise the boxes a few inches off the ground, then, line the boxes with dry, comfortable bedding.
Chicken coop necessities
Here are things that your chicken coop must have
1. The right size
The amount of chickens you have should determine the size of your coop. A common guideline is to allow at least 2 square feet per animal, but this also considers the vertical area of a coop because hens like to perch and roost.
2. Nest boxes
Chickens might take their time selecting the perfect nest and look for a quiet area to lay their eggs. You must make sure that you also supply nesting boxes because chickens typically only utilize the coop for sleeping and laying their eggs. Given that they will share a laying area, it is advised to use one nesting box for every three to five chickens. Since some hens will prefer one space over another, the more options you provide, the more options they have.
They are seeking a place that is both hidden and well-lit. Boxes with three sides and a roof work best when they are raised slightly off the ground. For medium-sized laying hens, each box needs to be at least 12 inches wide, 12 inches deep, and 18 inches high; larger breeds need more space despite the possibility that they would all choose to lay in the same box and provide multiple boxes.
Eggs laid on the ground by impatient hens may be soiled or cracked. Nesting boxes should be lined with cozy bedding, like straw. The bedding must be changed frequently to make them clean, dry, and parasite-free.
Another essential component of a chicken coop you should consider when building a chicken coop is roosts. The ground is not where chickens sleep. You will need to give a place for them to roost when they go to bed each night because they prefer to be in the air.
There are a few considerations to bear in mind when adding your roosts:
The distance between roosts and walls should be at least 12 inches. They have room to comfortably hang their head or tail off of this.
Give your birds a few feet of space between the topmost roost and the ceiling so they won’t risk hitting it when they jump up to their roosts. Estimate 12 inches of space per bird when determining the required roosting space.
You can build a roost out of almost anything, but avoid using slippery materials like PVC pipe. If you choose a square board, you should round the corners slightly to allow the hens’ feet to fit comfortably around them. Check out more blogs such as “chicken coop buying guide: things to consider” or “how to get the most out of a small chicken coop.”
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