The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide

Sep 9, 2019 | Publisher: Mile Four | Category: Home & Garden |   | Views: 21 | Likes: 3

1 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  ​Table of Contents    Chapter 1: Size & Location ……………………………………….. 3  ● Coop Size Requirements  ● Chicken Coop Runs  ● Location & Terrain    Chapter 2: Building a Chicken Coop …………………….…. 10    ● Chicken Predators  ● Weather Protection  ● Coop Ventilation  ● Coop Accessibility  ● Flooring Options    Chapter 3: Necessities Inside the Coop ………………..... 19  ● Chicken Roosts  ● Nesting Boxes  ● Chicken Coop Bedding  ● Chicken Feeders  ● Chicken Waterers    Chapter 4: Choosing a Chicken Coop ……………...……… 30  ● Permanent Coops  ● Portable Coops  ● DIY Chicken Coop vs. Chicken Coop Kit  2 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Introduction  If you are looking into getting a chicken coop, you've probably noticed  there are a million considerations.  Do I need a run? Where should the coop go? How many nesting boxes do I  need? Don't panic! Take a deep breath and close all the research tabs in  your browser.   Everything you need to consider for building or buying a chicken coop is all  covered here.​ ​Whether you are an expert chicken-keeper or you are  thinking about getting chickens for the first time, this guide is for you!    Coop Size Requirements  The first thing to consider is the coop size. Chickens do not like being  crammed in a coop. They will get angry and could attack each other.  3 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  However, when flocks have too much space inside, it can be hard for them  to stay warm on cold nights.  Below is a chart to help you figure out how much space should be in your  coop. These numbers are based on the assumption that your flock will be  spending most of the day in the run.    Keep reading to learn the important aspects of a chicken coop.  4 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Chicken Coop Runs  A run is pretty much a playground for your chickens. Humans don't like to  be "cooped up" all day and neither do chickens!  Your chickens will spend much of their time in the run during the day.   There are many different ways to build a chicken run, but here is a  handy-dandy checklist to follow when planning your run.    5 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Remember, chicken wire is for keeping chickens inside, not keeping  predators out; so be sure to use hardware cloth or something of similar  durability to protect your flock.  As mentioned above in the checklist, the general rule of thumb is to have 8  sq ft per chicken in the run.  Use the chart below to see how much space your flock would need.    6 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Having a covered run is ideal since it protects your flock from predators,  but if you are balling on a budget, you can go without. Just make sure you  keep an eye out for flying predators e.g. hawks and vultures.  With a raised coop, the run goes all the way underneath the coop, which is  a nice added level of protection from dive-bomber predators and hot,  sunny days.    Location & Terrain  The next decision to make is where to put your coop.  You won't want it too close to your house, otherwise, your mother-in-law  will come over and ask why your house smells.  7 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  You won't want it so far away that they are basically on your neighbor's  property. Karen, your next-door neighbor, would absolutely speak to the  manager about that.  Somewhere between those two extremes will be a suitable location.   Chickens need ample sun (for egg production) and access to shade, in  order to stay cool.​​    Chickens were not meant for swimming, or to be wet for that matter. Thus,  it is important to make sure their coop is elevated in some manner.  Either on 'stilts', or just a few inches above the ground…  8 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    Flooding isn't the only thing your chickens need to be protected from.  Keep reading to learn about protecting your coop from common predators.    9 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Chicken Predators  Humans are not the only  ones that think chickens  are delicious.   That's why you have to  make sure your coop is  secure on all fronts.   There are so many ways  different predators can  bust into your coop and  cause a ruckus. Some  steal eggs, some eat  chickens, and some  spread disease.  But don't freak out just  yet, we will help you  prevent that.   Here are a few great tips  and tricks to implement  when building or picking  out your coop.  You can always add  some of these features  in later as you see fit.  10 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    11 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Another factor chickens have to battle is the weather. ​The next section  discusses how to prepare for extreme weather.  Weather Protection  If you live in a region that gets cold winters, you'll want to make sure your  coop is set up to handle frigid temps.   Below are a few important tactics that you can use to equip your coop.    What about a heat lamp you ask? Heat lamps are a controversial method  of keeping coops warm when temps drop really low. They can cause your  coop to start on fire and lose everything.   12 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  If you decide to add a heat lamp to prevent frostbite, just know you have  been warned and please be cautious!  Now for hot summers, there are also a few things your coop needs to have  to help with ventilation and keeping your flock cool.     You can also freeze herbs, such as mint, with treats and put them in their  water bowls to keep them cool and busy.  If you live in an area that is warm year-round, you may want to consider  making your coop with only one or two solid walls.  As long as you have good ventilation in the coop, summers will be a breeze.   Let's take a deeper dive into creating ventilation for your coop.  13 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Coop Ventilation  Ventilation is super important as it keeps the air fresh in a coop, preventing  the build-up of moisture.  If a coop is not properly ventilated, it will lead to respiratory issues for your  chickens, cause materials in your coop to deteriorate quickly, and frankly  smell like your worst nightmare.   Below is an example of effective coop ventilation.    14 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  When you crack your coop windows, this is an open invitation to  predators, so make sure they are covered with hardware cloth to keep  those losers out.   Ventilation can only do so much in preventing disease and health issues.  Keep reading to learn how to make cleaning your chicken coop easier.  Coop Accessibility  Chickens are messy animals. Surprisingly enough when they are sleeping,  they poop. Weird right?  Since they sleep in the coop, this leads to a messy home for them and  more cleaning for you.  It is important to keep the coop clean to prevent disease and other  nastiness. And no you can't just call Molly Maid. You can do it!  The type of bedding you use will greatly affect the rate at which the  bedding needs to be changed. We'll give you the full low-down on that in  chapter 3.   Being able to access the inside of the coop to clean is something you need  to consider. The easier it is to access it, the easier and faster it will be for  you to clean it.   If you have a human-sized door, then you will have no problem.  If you have a smaller coop with no human-sized door, you'll need an  easy-access cleaning door.  15 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide      Flooring Options  The material you choose for the floor of your coop is actually very  important.   If you plan on having your coop in the same spot for a long time, your best  bet is to do concrete floors. If that's not in your budget, there are plenty of  other options.   There are quite a few different flooring options out there. While some  materials may last long and strong for one person, they also can be a  complete bust for another person.   16 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    17 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    With a properly built coop, you can now think about the inside.  Read on to find out what goes inside the coop.  18 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    Chicken Roosts  Roosts, also called perches, are what chickens like to sleep on at night and  occasionally hang out on during the day.  Placement:​ Chickens instinctively like to be high up to avoid predators. A  good rule of thumb is to have roosts be 2-3 feet above the ground.  Since chickens eliminate quite a bit while they are roosting, avoid placing  roosts over nesting boxes, ventilation points, feeders, and waterers.  Consider placing dropping boards below the roosts to catch all their  'presents'.  If you have more space and bantams, consider adding an even higher roost  for them. If you have a heavier breed or even an injured bird, you could add  a lower roost for easy access.  19 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Below are a couple of examples of roosts. It's good to have one or more  (depending on your flock size) in the run to give them a daytime chill spot.  Having one or more inside the coop is an absolute must.     If you are wondering what the sheet is under the roosts on the right, that is  a poop hammock. It's a lesser-known trick to make coop cleaning a lot  easier.   Material:​ For the material, be sure to use wood as it is durable and easy to  grip. The wood needs to be smooth so no one gets their feet poked and  untreated to avoid toxic chemicals.  If you buy a coop that comes with plastic or metal roosts, throw them  away and replace them with solid wood.   20 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Size:​ Roost bars should be about 3 inches thick. The smaller breeds will  want roosts a little smaller than that, so a variety of roost bar sizes would  be good to have.   Shape:​ Birds don't like to sleep flat-footed, so make sure you rounding the  materials you are using.    Use the chart below to ballpark your roost bar length.    Next, we will cover another essential component inside your coop!  21 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Nesting Boxes  Nesting boxes are where your chickens will lay their eggs. Even if you are  raising your chickens for meat, you will need a nesting box.  Creating a safe and comfortable space for chickens to lay their eggs is key.  Use the checklist below to make sure you are meeting your ladies' needs.    22 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Despite what you might think, each hen does not need her own nesting  box. You should have at least 1 nesting box for every 4 laying hens.    Collect the eggs daily and keep the boxes clean. Establishing a regular  routine that works for your schedule is a surefire way to maintain a happy  and healthy coop.   The top of the nesting box pictured below has poop all over it...dang it.  This is due to the flat roof.   Don't be like the picture below. Make sure your nesting boxes have slanted  roofs!  23 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    Bedding is also required in a nesting box and the coop itself.  The next section talks about different types.  Chicken Coop Bedding  No, we aren't talking about Pottery Barn sheets. Bedding is like litter. Your  coop will need bedding to absorb moisture, insulate the coop, and cushion  your flock.   You'll notice there are a lot of different bedding options out there. If you  want to hit the easy button, just get pine shavings or straw.   If you are curious about all the options, check out the chart below.  24 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    25 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    Chicken Feeders  There are tons of different types of feeders. You will want to set your flock  up with a good feeder that has these qualities.  26 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    In the photo below on the left is a basic plastic feeder that can be hung up  to reduce the quantity of feed chickens will waste. On the right is an  example of a homemade, automatic feeder.     27 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Chicken Waterers  Also known as a drinker, a waterer is pretty self-explanatory. It's a glorified  water dish for your flock.  Below are a few things to look for when making or buying a waterer.    Automatic waterers are great because your chickens will never run out of  water, however, that entails a lot of upfront work and potential upkeep  issues. You have to run a water line out and make sure it doesn't freeze or  clog.  For a small backyard flock, you probably don't need an automatic waterer.  There are tons of hand-filled and hand-carried waterers available.   28 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Below are a few common waterer examples.    You can either make your own waterer or hit the easy button and buy one.  Don’t forget to read the reviews on products to help you make the best  decision. Remember, you get what you pay for!      29 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Permanent Chicken Coops  When choosing a chicken coop, you will need to decide if you want a  permanent coop or a portable coop.   Permanent coops offer a lot of opportunities to build pretty landscaping  around the coop, similar to a shed.    Permanent coops and portable coops both have many advantages and  disadvantages.   30 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    Basically, if you have a larger flock and or a smaller yard, you are probably  going to want to have a permanent coop.      31 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  Portable Chicken Coops  Portable coops, aka tractor coops, are meant to be moved around the yard.  This gives your flock new, fresh foraging opportunities and prevents your  yard from being completely destroyed.    Below are the components you'll want when building or buying a portable  coop.  32 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide    With portable coops, you have to move them to a new spot every day or so  to keep the whole operation running smoothly. Unless you are The Hulk or  Mr. Incredible, you will need to make sure you use lightweight materials so  you can move it with ease.   The lightweight materials make it easier for predators to bust in, so finding  the right balance is key.  33 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  DIY Chicken Coop vs Chicken Coop Kits  Now that you know all the considerations that go into a chicken coop, it  will be easier to decide if you want to buy or build your coop.  If you have carpentry skills, time, and access to recycled materials, you are  a perfect candidate to build your own chicken coop.   If not, you may want to consider buying one. Just remember you will still  have to assemble it.    34 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide  If you would like to search for DIY coop plans, go to  www.milefour.com/blogs/chicken-coop​ ​to search from hundreds of plans.   Thanks for reading The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide. We hope you  enjoyed it!       35 The Ultimate Chicken Coop Guide 

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