Building and owning a chicken coop can be a daunting task at first, but it’s not too hard as what you may believe. We’re here to lend a helping hand with these top eight vital things that you should have on your chicken coop checklist.
1. Perch for sleepyheads!
We believe that chickens can be absolute sleepyheads, sleeping the same amount or possibly even more than any other animal. Including a perch into your chicken coop will allow a natural place for your chickens to sleep on. It may be a bit of a learning curve for them at first, but eventually, your birds will work it out. Soon enough your chickens will love their new sleeping spot as they will prefer to perch together at night. However, avoid placing the perch above the nest boxes, feeder, or waterer. In terms of measurement, ensure six inches of perch length for any small light-bodied chickens, and most likely around 8 to 12 inches of perch space for each larger breeds of chickens. You can also use a round piece of wood or a square board will both suit great as a perch.
2. Nesting boxes
This is of course one of the vital parts of a chicken coop as it will allow your birds to lay eggs! Our recommendation is to have one nest box for about every three or four chickens, the fewer the better as this means it will be simpler to clean. It will be even easier to clean, disinfect or take apart your nest boxes if they are made from plastic or metal.
3. Food & Water
The creativity and freedom of designing the interior of a chicken coop is all down to you, however most people prefer their feeders off the ground as this prevents accidents and spillages. This can be done by hanging the feeder from the ceiling using rope or chain. There are also modern versions of feeders available that use closed, nipple drinking systems to avoid the issue of shavings or feces getting into the water. This water supply can also be hung on the wall or ceiling to amplify floor space. Companies such as The Chicken Fountain or Brite-Tap offer these nipple drinkers.
4. Insulation & Bedding
In general, the bedding and insulation in your coop should be made of soft absorbent material. Treat your birds nice and avoid slick surfaces such as shredded newspaper which can cause leg problems. This insulation is perfect for the winter, however, be sure not to overheat your chickens in the summer where they will require much less insulation.
5. Good Airflow = Happy Chickens!
Boxing in your chickens entirely is simply not the way. The smell that will comes from an unventilated and uncleaned chicken coop is quite the stench! Not only this but your chickens will be desperate for air in both the hot summer and a “cooped up” winter! A window or two is the solution, however, be sure to cover this with a wire or mesh to ensure no chickens can fly out and that no predators can jump on in!
Whether you want to believe it or not, chickens have quite a few predators such as birds, foxes, racoons and more! Ensure protection with a durable wire mesh around the outside of the coop. Remember to keep the entrance of your coop locked up safely with a padlock. In addition to this, keep your chicken coop fully covered with a solid surface on the top.
7. Watertight & Shade
Chickens behave in the same way that we British folks do, we both hate being too hot or too cold. Ensure that your chicken coop is kept waterproof to prevent your birds getting cold and wet during the winter season. Also, it’s super important to ensure your coop has a shaded area where your chickens can get out of the sun and cool down!
8. Egg Access & Decoration
Ensure that you can very easily gather the eggs that your chickens have laid. The last thing you want is to crawl into your chicken coop every time you want to gather them up! Lastly, add any last touches such as plants and greenery, to add your own personal touch and to give your pet chickens a home they deserve.