The Chicken Coop
There are many ways to build chicken coops, however, the most important things to consider are the security of the coop against critters, the minimum space needed for the fowl, weatherproofing the coop, and cleanliness. Chickens need space, about five square feet of space each, less for smaller ones. They will thrive if they have fresh air, plenty of sunshine and room to wander and find morsels like bugs, and worms!
It is also important for them to have dirt in which to bathe. This helps ease the bothersome mites on their bodies. You should see all of them on a clear day, burrowing into the fine dust of the barnyard where the dirt is dark and cool, fluffing the dust up and over themselves! Dust flies everywhere! Little backsides swish vigorously into the hollows, pushing even more dirt out of the way. And there they sit, content, dusty, and warm. What a different way to bathe!
The original chicken coop is actually an old tack barn outfitted with roosting beams, laying boxes, a suspended feeder and a water source. There are small windows for light and air. The coop is dry and windproof through the winter, and cool and dark in the summer months. We keep a fan going during the hotter months as heat often stresses and could kill adult birds. The floor is made of wood covered with straw and is easily accessible to muck out when necessary.
The second chicken coop is one Tim built for the Araucanas (called the Easter Egg chicken because they lay the blue and light green eggs, you know, the Martha Stewart eggs!), the Bantams, and the lone Polish Top Hat rooster, who is very aggressive! This coop has its own separate entry, but has a common chicken-wire wall out in the yard. Both of these coops have immediate access to an outside area and are protected by chicken wire which totally surrounds the coops, and covers the top. With the dry, pine needles falling through the chicken wire and hanging through, it looks like war-time camouflage! This wire keeps the critters out.
The third chicken coop is located behind the garage and is surrounded on three sides by chicken wire, the garage wall makes up the fourth wall, and the roof is green, corrugated plastic. It is tucked away next to the wood bin behind a wooden fence which encloses the area. The Barred Rock chickens, mixed Bantams, and Araucanas live here. Lancelot (our peacock) that adopted us also lives here since his run-in with a stray dog. He was almost dinner! As he has recovered from his wounds, and his wing feathers have grown back, he is free to roam the property . He can fly very well now which helps him to escape any predators.
An important part of the chicken house, a fan!