Essentials for the Chicken Coop

Building a Chicken Coop There are two basic types of chicken coops: stationary coops and movable Chicken Tractors. Chicken Tractors are made of light-weight materials, usually have at least two wheels and have a permanently fenced run area attached to them. They are small and are intended to be moved around the yard or property so that the chickens will always be able to forage on clean ground.

Stationary Chicken Coops are located in a permanent spot. Usually, they are some type of structure like a shed, small building or fenced area with a enclosed for the birds to take cover.

Coop size is determined by the number of chickens you will be housing in it. The rule of thumb is: 4 square feet for each standard size chicken and 2 square feet for each bantam size bird.

This post corresponds to the podcast that Posey did for the Remnant Mama Show on Hebrew Nation Radio – Talk’n Chicken – Part 5. You can listen or download from the player below.

Both types of Chicken Coops should incorporate the following items:

Predator protection – they should be secure and predator should not be able to gain access to the chickens at any time.

Ventilation at the Roof Line – the chicken’s waste produces a toxic gas that rise toward the roof of the coop. Roof-line ventilation allows it to escape the coop – thus preventing the birds from developing respiratory illnesses.

Roosting Area – A stable flat surface up off of the floor for the chickens to roost on during the night. We suggest a 2X4 that is not permanently attached so that it can easily be removed and cleaned as needed. Do not use round dowel rods or branches for the roost as they encourage foot injuries, ailments and Bumblefoot. These round items make great day time perches.

Bedding on the Floor – this is to absorb moisture from the chicken droppings and makes the coop cleaner for the chickens to move around in and easier to clean for the humans. Suggested bedding media: Wheat Straw or Pine Shavings (small size is best). DO NOT use Cedar shavings – toxic to chickens

Nest Boxes –  one box for every 3 to 5 hens and placed up off of the floor. Size is usually 12 inches square and are best when covered on the top. Pre-made nest boxes are available from feed and farm stores and online. We use plastic cubes (designed to store items) that we purchased from Target. Benefits of the plastic cubes: super easy to install and clean out, ample size for even large fowl chickens, private and they can’t look over and peck at each other, no assembly or measuring needed. Include soft bedding material inside the nest boxes to give the hens the natural nesting environment and to help prevent the egg from breaking when laid. We use pine shavings.

Additional items you may want to include as part of your coop design are:

Windows that can be opened and closed – to help keep the chickens cooler in the warm summer months and warmer during winter. Must have hardware cloth screening for predator protection.

Hanging Feeder – we like plastic (light weight and easy to clean)
Hanging Water Fountain – we use plastic so that we can add organic apple cider vinegar to their water several times a year or as needed

Crushed Oyster Shell – we put it in a rubber bowl and set on the floor and allow them to consume it Free Choice

Crushed Granite Grit – placed in a rubber bowl and available near their food to allow them to eat it Free Choice

Handy Tools to Use in your Chicken Coop

Pitch Fork
Broom
Wide Shovel
Small Whisk Broom and Dust Pan
Kitty Litter Scoop
Wide Metal Paint Scraper
Large Feed Scoops
Flat-Bottomed Catch Net on a long pole
Plastic Dog Carriers – to transport chickens
Large Metal Dog Crate – to house broody hens and babies, to use as a hospital unit for injured or ill chickens, to to transport several chickens at a time.

Layout of our coop:

Key to graphic:

1 Front Door2 Screen Door into Chicken side3 Window with hardware cloth screen4 Chicken Door aka Pop Door5 2X4 Wooden Roosts

6 Concrete Block Piers for Roosts

7 Nest Boxes – Double Stacked (6)

8 Ramp to Upper Level Nest Boxes

9 Hanging Water Fountain

10 Hanging Feeder

11 Granite Grit in rubber bowl12 Oyster Shell Chips in rubber bowl13 Feed Storage Drums (hold 50# bag)14 Storage Cabinet15 Bales of Wheat Straw

16 Pine Wood Shavings – Nest Material

17 Dog Crate – Isolation Pen

18 Folding Plastic Top Table

19 Lattice Wall Divider – small holes

20 Stand up Tools (Broom, Pitch Fork)

21 Solid Cube of Seeds, Feed, Treats

Our Nest Box Setup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope that this information is helpful. We’d love to hear what you do, please share with us. If we can help you or answer questions, please email us and we will be sure to answer you.

Every Blessing,

Avi & Posey


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