Basics of Chicken Coops

When raising chickens, besides food and water, the most important thing to have is a chicken coop. Proper shelter will not only keep your flock safe, it'll also keep them happy, secure, and give them a place to retire to each night.

What are the basic pieces and parts to your coop?

Each coop, built similar to your house, will have the standard parts: A roof, floor, and four walls. Once you've moved past the basic pieces, it's important to turn this structure into a structure suitable for hens and roosters.

What makes the coop different from your house?

While the construction may be similar (roof, floor, walls), your chickens will need other items for their comfort, such as nesting boxes.

Nest box: The nest box allows your hen somewhere to retire to each night, a sort of bed, and also provides an area where they can safely care for their eggs. If you're raising your hens for eggs, be sure to check the nesting boxes daily for any eggs they may have laid.

Floor space: While the floor may be pretty standard, you'll want to add an additional feature for your hens, such as wood shaving or hay. Be sure to stay away from cedar. These shavings or straw allows for easier clean up, and is softer for your hens.

Doors: Two doors are really all that's needed in your coop. A main door large enough for you to enter, and a smaller door for your hens and roosters to use.

Vents: Proper ventilation is important here! Otherwise your coop will collect water, mildew, and overall be an unhealthy environment for your birds. Vents can be placed at the very top of your coop. Some turn vents into cute accent pieces for their coop, such as a raised roof or fake chimney.

Windows: In addition to vents, windows are great for summer breeze. Vents help release hot air, windows allow cool air to enter. Be sure to cover these things with chicken wire, as explained in the next bullet point.

Chicken Wire: You may have heard of foxes or dogs getting into coops, that's why it's important to cover windows and entrances with chicken wire to keep these predators from getting in.

Run: Another important feature for your flock is the addition of a run. Consider this the patio for your coop. Chickens need space, and if you do not have the ability to let them roam free in your yard, a fenced in and screen area is adequate and safe for your birds.

Can I decorate?

Sure! Just be careful to clean up thoroughly and remove small pieces. Your birds may be curious creatures, and items such as nails, bolts, etc. can all look appealing.

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