When setting up your chicken coop, there are several things you need to include in order to keep happy, healthy chickens. Keep reading to learn all about these chicken coop must haves!
For most breeds, you should have at least 4 square feet per chicken. If space allows, more room is always better. Keep in mind that once nest boxes and roosts are added the coop will feel smaller, so it’s always good to have extra room if you can.
Nest boxes are absolutely essential for laying hens. Without them, they won’t feel comfortable laying eggs. A good size for each box is 12’ x 12’, with one box for every three hens. You can repurpose milk crates or plastic tubs, or build your own out of wood. The boxes should be at least two feet off the ground and can be fastened onto shelves or directly on the wall.
Roosts are also essential, because chickens feel safer when they can sleep away from the ground. Roosts should be 2 feet off the ground and 12” away from the wall, to allow room for their head and tail. Make sure there’s at least 2 feet between the top roost and the ceiling, so your chickens don’t hit their head trying to jump up. You’ll also need 12” of space for each bird to roost comfortably.
You can make roosts out of ladders, boards, sturdy sticks, or anything else that’s straight across and provides good grip for your chickens.
Chickens need good ventilation to create air flow and access to clean air. There’s a lot of dust, manure, and feathers involved with keeping chickens, and letting all of that build up without any ventilation is bad for their lungs.
Openings like windows or small spaces in the eaves of the roof are an easy way to create ventilation. Just make sure they’re covered with something like chicken wire so predators can’t get in. When creating ventilation, make sure your coop is still water-tight. Check the roof, windows, and floor for any places that might leak.
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