Buying a chicken coop can be more difficult than one thinks, considering all the choices and factors one must consider. For example, what materials should you use? Should you buy a plan, or a ready-made coop? How big should it be? What preventative measures should you take in regards to weather, and predators?
These are just a few of the issues you need to take into consideration when buying a chicken coop. The following tips will help you sort out what you need in order to have a pleasant coop-buying experience.
The general rule of thumb is 2-3 square feet per bird inside the coop, and 4-5 square feet per bird outside in the run area. You may want to buy or build a bigger coop than you initially need to accommodate expansion. Birds that will be used for meat will generally require even more space.
Consider your local climate: if you live in a colder part of the country, you will need to install special heaters to keep the chickens warm and comfortable in the winter; alternatively, if you live in a warmer climate you will need to install cooling equipment.
Your chickens will definitely attract predators ; you will need to install chicken wire around the coop and free range area to keep unwanted animals out. Be sure to install it about a foot into the ground so it will withstand all weather conditions.
Be sure to have plenty of ventilation in the coop for your chickens; install sliding windows and a door that opens inward. Chickens need fresh air and light; this will produce higher quality eggs.
Decide whether you want to buy a ready-made shed, or purchase materials to build your own. You will have to consider your budget and your handyman skills before making your final decision.
If you live in a suburb with neighbours, you will need to consider an aesthetically pleasing design. Your coop will be visible by several of your neighbours, if not your whole neighbourhood, so keep that in mind when painting your coop.
The floor of your coop should be slanted towards the door. This will allow you to clean and disinfect the area without water forming a puddle inside; the water will flow outside.
By following the above guidelines, you will have a better experience when it comes to buying your chicken coop. Happier chickens=better eggs!