You might be wondering why raising chickens in the backyard is becoming more and more common these days. Well, its increasing popularity has varying reasons. While some just love the taste of fresh eggs, others simply enjoy the sight of chickens every day.
But then again, raising chooks at home is no easy feat. You can’t just choose certain chicken breeds and allow them to roam freely in your yard. Of course, you need to plan carefully. Once you have decided whether you are going to raise egg-laying breeds or not, you need to pick a suitable chicken pen.
However, before you decide to buy or build one, you must understand what components you need in the design. Take note that every element can affect your chicken’s overall well-being so it is best that you familiarize all of them. You can begin with the following:
An enclosed run is an area where chickens can move around freely. It is usually made of chicken wires or hard cloth and is designed to protect chickens from potential predators like dogs and raccoons.
Normally, a chicken run is constructed in full-human height, but there are others that are a few feet taller, depending on the preference of the owner. If the run is taller and bigger, the better and more effective it would be as this gives the flock more space to spread their wings.
As the name suggests, a nesting box is where chickens lay their eggs. It is generally recommended to have at least one nesting box, with a size of 1 cubic foot, for every 3 to 4 hens. Also, it is advised to have an exterior door to allow access for collecting eggs.
Chicken nesting boxes are normally lined with sawdust, shredded paper, or wood shavings. Others use grass clippings from the lawn that are not treated with chemicals. But no matter what nest liner is used, it should be changed at least once every four to 6 weeks.
You can always create your own nest box. Depending on the available materials and the budget, you can build something that is durable and at the same time, is efficient. For instance, if you have clean wooden boxes, you can just have them scrubbed. It can be difficult to clean, but it is also more convenient.
Considering the fact that chickens can be messy, it is just right to consider having ventilation in a chicken pen. If proper ventilation is observed, poultry raisers can enjoy lots of perks. Aside from removing unwanted ammonia fumes, it also keeps your birds cool, especially during the hot summer days.
There are different types of ventilation you can install in your chicken coops. These are as follows:
This type of ventilation allows air to flow naturally through openings without any help from a power grid. It is by far, the cheapest, safest, and easiest method that is used by poultry farmers today.
Wind Turbine Ventilation
Wind turbine ventilation makes use of spinning turbines that are often mounted on the roof of a coop. When the wind blows, the blades will spin, sucking warm air out of the coop. Although this can effectively bring in a fair amount of air, this is only limited because it only works if the wind is blowing.
Mechanical ventilation utilizes an electric fan. Even though this type is opted in dusty environments, there are some vital drawbacks. It has to be cleaned more often or else, its performance will fail. As a result, it will only become a fire hazard.
Chickens prefer to sleep in the branches of trees at night. Because of that, roosts are created. A roost is more or less similar to a branch, but this one is added inside the coop or in the run. Still, this is made from actual tree branches.
When choosing a roosting pole, make sure you provide at least 5 to 10” of space for every chicken. In addition, put a 10” space between every pole if you are using one.
To be able to maintain a chicken pen, certain accessories should be kept in handy. These include shovels, hays, straws, and other tools that may be needed in the process. In order to easily access these things when needed, they should all be integrated with the coop.
An access door is extremely important for poultry raisers. Without this, it would be impossible for them to check on the condition and the status of the birds.
Access doors may come in varying sizes. But what’s important is that it should be large enough so that the caretakers can easily fit in when cleaning the coop.
In the long run, you might want to have more tweaks and alterations to your coop, but that won’t really matter. As long as you are familiar with these parts, you can definitely avoid the major drawbacks of having a poorly designed chicken coop.