Whether you have a lot of chickens or a few, building your own backyard coop is a great way to keep them sheltered and save money at the same time. The most common reasons for raising chickens are obtaining eggs and getting meat. Unfortunately, humans aren’t the only ones who like to eat chickens. Therefore, the coop is one of the most essential pieces of equipment for chicken you’ll need.
A chicken coop must satisfy a few requirements to be a useful structure. It must give the chickens a safe place, allow them to get out of the sun and rain, and provide the birds with places to lay eggs. It should be designed so that cleaning is easy. Along with these basics, the coop must be visually acceptable to any neighbors who are able to see it.
To make sure it will do all of those things, the first thing you should do is draw out a plan. Here are some things to keep in mind as you do so.
One task you will have to do is clean the coop. To make this easier, make the doors open inwards instead of out. Install sliding windows that don’t have any ledges. This will keep chickens from roosting on, and soiling, the windowsills. Put the food and water troughs so that they’re the height of the chickens’ backs. This allows the birds to get what they need by reaching their necks up but prevents them from being able to scratch in the feed and make a mess. Finally, install the floor with a slight slope toward the door. This will allow you to hose down the floor and simply wash the debris out of the coop.
Protecting your chickens from predators and accidents is fairly easy. Just enclose your coop with the aptly-named chicken wire or other heavy-gauge screening. If you let your chickens out during the day, make sure to get them all back into the coop at night or whenever you go away.
Chickens also need to be protected from dampness. Build the coop on a hill or other high, dry area. Aim its open side towards the sun to allow the structure to be dried by the sun after it rains. Another danger chickens can face is worm infestation. Keep some poultry wormer on hand to keep them free of parasites.
With these tips, you should be able to build a coop that provides all of the needed protections and is easy to clean. Set one up, add chickens, and soon you’ll be enjoying fresh eggs and chicken dinners.