Ready- made chicken coops also known as chicken runs, can easily be purchased from most farm stores, but it is always far more interesting and exciting to make your own. Chicken coops secure your chicken from raccoon and dogs and spare you a lot of effort because most of what you will do, is make sure they are well fed and are in a clean environment. So either way, bought or self-made you will definitely need to think about the following;
Tips for chicken coops
- Consider the size- the size of a chicken coop will be determined by the number of chicken you will be hosting but I would advise you make it spacious. When a lot of chicken are placed together under limited space they tend to fight and would even cannibalize each other.
- Plan first- if you happen to know about woodwork or you are a carpenter then you need to have a place and draw out how you want your coop to be like. Planning always makes everything much easier trust me, it will save much time.
- Make the chicken coop easy to clean and maintain- make sure that if the chicken coop is a fixed one, it has a well fitted full-size door. This enables one to access the chicken coop easily without having to bend too much. If the poop is dry you can use an ice scraper to clean smooth surfaces.
- Consider the predators- chicken are a favorite snack for predators the same as they are for people. Dogs, hawks, raccoons to mention but a few so you have to have a chicken coop with a top and make it a wooden floor to prevent tunneling in. Finally make sure the wall is solid and strong. When a raccoon is determined trust me it will rip into your coop if it can.
- Get the right kind of coop- by this I mean make sure it has comfy nesting boxes, that egg laying has to be hard work, and enough space for the chicken to move around. A minimum of about 4 sq. ft. of ground or floor space per bird especially if you are going to keep them confined all the time.
If you do not have an area that either can be or you just plain don’t want to dedicate to a permanent site the “Chicken Tractor” may be something you want to consider. Where did that name come from anyway? It does nothing on it’s own. You have to provide the mobility and it will need to be moved regularly or the vegetation where it sits will be killed and brown spots will appear where it is, or was, located. The same criteria as mentioned above remain a consideration as well with the exception of the flooring. Leave that out so the chickens can graze the area where located. Access to the nest boxes and food and water supply from outside is important as well. These mobile coops are generally not large enough for comfortable human access. Also steering. I have yet to see one with turning taken into consideration. This seems important to me. You can’t always go in a straight line. I have already torn 2 sets of wheels off the one I have built. Weight also must be considered especially if moving by hand is desired. Wood gets heavy in a hurry. Trying to move several hundred pounds of wood and wire around while not running over the chickens inside is no walk in the yard.
This, or one similar, “I Think” is to be the next project. Of course I still have the tree clearing and the barn building in progress. I will keep you posted as to the progress and practical aspects of my work.
Not this model necessarily I am looking at pvc to cut the weight.