10 big mistakes first time coop builders make
MISTAKE #1: Not Planning Before You Build.
When you are ready to build a chicken coop you must plan every aspect of the coop before you even pick up a hammer.
To build a chicken coop find a quality plan. Collect all of the materials. Select materials that will be easy to attain, easy to work with and easy to clean up. Plan the functionality of your coop. The doors need to open inwards, not outwards. If you build it the other way with the door opening outwards you chickens will begin roosting on your windows. Your chickens will spend a lot of time in the coop so they need fresh air, designing a coop with sliding windows is a great way to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the summer.
When you build a chicken coop you must consider how will you keep the floors clean in your coop. First you will need to cover them with a good material for the chickens to dig and scratch as they naturally do. Hay is, unfortunately, not ideal for this. Second, you should build the coop with the floors slightly sloping towards the door. This way you can spray the hose in the coop and the dirt on the floor easily slides out to the ground below. You will have a clean coop and no puddles of water in the coop.
MISTAKE #2: Not Giving Your Chickens Proper Ventilation.
Building a chicken coop is to protect your flock. The purpose of your coop is to protect your chickens from the element and outside predators, but you also need to give them proper ventilation. Free movement of air inside the coop is very important, but you do not want to freeze your chickens with a draft. Chickens, are like humans, they can only perform at their optimum levels if all of their basic needs are met first, in this case protection and oxygen. A Chicken coop without free air movement and therefore more oxygen will have high carbon monoxide levels and humidity levels. This is not good because uncomfortable chickens do not produce as many eggs. It is also very dangerous because it makes mold growth within the walls very easy.
MISTAKE #3: Not Insulating the Walls.
To build a chicken coop properly insulating the walls is very important. The walls of the chicken coop need to have good insulation installed. This will help keep the chickens warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The insulation will also help to keep the coop at optimum humidity levels. When the chickens are kept at the optimum humidity levels they produce more eggs. Insulating the walls will also help to keep the chickens dry. In colder climates when your chickens are dry they can withstand the cold well. Insulating the walls will not only keep your chickens producing eggs but it will prevent your chickens from getting sick.
MISTAKE #4. Not Putting the Water and the Feeders in the correct place.
If you build a chicken coop, obviously the water and the chicken feeders need to be in a place where your chickens can easily access them. It is important to be very careful in selecting a place to put the water and the feeders. Chickens can make a big mess of things because of their natural instinct to scratch and dig. It is very frustrating to see water and the chicken feed you just put out all over the floor.
To prevent this place the feeder and the water at the height of a chicken back. Ideally the chickens will have to stretch their necks up to the food a little bit to eat and drink but they will not be able to place their feet in their food or water. Be sure to replace the water and the chicken feed daily.
MISTAKE #5 – Not Having a Good Light Source.
Build your chicken coop facing the south so that the coop will receive sunlight throughout the day. For the winter months when the days are shorter and there is less sunlight, it is important to install a light in the coop. This is not difficult. They have lights that you can just stick to the walls at any local hardware store, you do not have to be an electrician, it is as easy as putting a sticker on a paper. Installing this light will be well worth the few dollars you spend to do it. It will keep your chickens warm and happy and keep your egg production up in the winter, when most chicken farmers experience a fall off of production because the chickens get less light and warmth.
MISTAKE #6: Not Protecting Your Chickens from the Elements.
Your coop is a haven for your chickens, much like your house is for you. A well constructed chicken coop will protect your chickens from hazardous elements such as bad weather.
Here are the basics for weather proofing your coop:
- Make sure the doors and the windows are sealed properly so that they do not let a draft
- Build the chicken coop on an elevated area where it can be drained easily and the least amount of dampness of the coop.
- Build your chicken coop facing the fun sun. This will keep the coop dry after it rains and warm when it is coldout.
MISTAKE #7: Not Protecting Your Chickens from Predators.
Build a chicken coop not only to protect your flock from the elements and to protect them from predators.
Here are the basics to protect your chickens from predators:
- Do not build the coop near brush where other animals maylive.
- Bury your outside chicken runs with chicken wire. You can lay the wire on the ground and then cover This will keep predators such as raccoons, cats and even dogs from digging underneath the run.
Building a chicken coop is fun and easy, but you have to follow these simple steps to avoid big problems in the future. Raising chickens on a farm or in your suburban or urban backyard is a fun experience. Just do not commit these errors.
MISTAKE #8. Not Having A Poop Plan
When installing the roosts it is a good idea to install poop pans below them to catch the droppings. Position the feeders and waterers so they don’t splattered. You will also need a plan to remove the poop from the coop.
MISTAKE #9. Not Counting Your Birds Each Night
Each night just before dark the chickens know it’s time to go into the coop. It was a routine evening chore for one of the kids to run out and shut the coop door to protect them from raccoons. Shut the door, fix the latch, what could go wrong? When a hen gets broody, she may want to be undisturbed by egg gatherers and will look for a hiding spot to roost. The hen will stay with her new nest and won’t go into the coop at night. But camping outside at night leaves the hen vulnerable to predators.
MISTAKE #10. Not Enforcing An All Dogs On Leash Policy For Visitors
One of our free‐ranging hens was chased and killed by a friend’s dog right before our eyes. The friend leashed his dog and went home. Unfortunately, the dog returned the next day, without the owner, and chased down and killed the entire flock. We learned two lessons from this experience: establish an “on‐ leash” rule for dogs if your chickens range freely, and keep the flock cooped for a few days after a predator attack.
It’s vital that you do as much research as possible before starting to build your first chicken coop. Having your own backyard coop can be a fun and exciting experience, especially when you have farm fresh eggs to wake up to each morning.
There is much more to “the chicken coop experience” than simply building a coop. You need to know what kind of chickens to get, how to care for them, and how to ensure they have the best living conditions possible. You need to know what materials to use for your coop and which ones you avoid, you need to know how to place your coop in your yard for proper sunlight conditions.
There is so much to consider before putting in that first nail or screw!