So you’ve finally seen the perks of raising backyard chickens and decided to take the leap. We don’t blame you! After all, children love them (don’t worry, they are often kid-friendly) and they make for exciting companions. Plus, they are great little garden helpers! However, raising backyard chickens is certainly a step up from raising chicks, as they require a bigger and more secure home. This home is often a coop and is where your chickens go to rest, eat, drink, find shelter from the elements, and even lay eggs.
It’s easy to get lost with all the information and rules for setting up the perfect coop, especially if you have chosen to do so in an urban environment. But fear not! We will guide you through some of the main requirements and tips to get you and your backyard flock started.
While coops may come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, ALL must meet the following criteria in order to keep your flock happy and healthy:
- Must provide protection from weather conditions, predators, and injuries
- Must be set up on dry land with good drainage
- Must provide ample space for each chicken
- Must have separate areas for nesting and roosting,
- Must have sanitary areas for eating and drinking
- Must provide adequate lighting, which may include artificial lights for year-round egg production
- Must provide proper ventilation and be draft-free
- Must have a secure, fenced chicken run
- Must provide environmental enrichment for chickens which may include sandboxes and string bunches, to promote natural behaviors.
A coop’s maintenance is just as important to a chicken’s health as the coop itself. Chickens will poop everywhere! While this may be good for your garden (fun fact: chicken poop makes for good fertilizer when composted properly), it is not good for your chicken’s health. Over time, your coop may become damp due to the moisture that your chickens and their droppings emit. This can become a big health issue if their coop does not have proper ventilation to help keep humidity levels low. Additionally, be sure to prioritize maintenance by cleaning your chicken coop at least once per week.
- To facilitate cleaning, strategically place nests, roosts, and feeders in easily accessible places.
- When choosing your coop or the material to build a coop, always choose items, such as cedarwood, redwood, and plastic, that are easy to clean and disinfect.
- Visit our blog article, “The Importance of Cleaning a Chicken Coop” for more maintenance tips.
As a good chicken owner and a good neighbor, it is important that you check with your local government to make sure you are following proper city regulations for chicken-keeping. To get you started on this, please click here for more information.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you feel more prepared to be an expert chicken coop builder! If you have any questions that you would like more information on, please let us know!