There is nothing quite like having a nice backyard chicken coop if your city ordinances will allow it. Chickens can be used for a number of different purposes, though in urban situations they are most often used for the harvesting of eggs. Before you can place chickens in your backyard however, you are going to need a good coop, and for this reason, we will discuss a few essential steps to building your very own chicken coop.
You have a choice when it comes to your building, you can either build it from scratch, or you can use an existing building. If you happen to have a shed in the backyard, you can convert it into a chicken coop if you so desire so long as you clean it out adequately. For example, you must make sure that the insulation is covered, and that any toxic substances are removed. If, like in most sheds the insulation is exposed, you should place plywood sheets over the walls. In addition to that you should make sure the roof is high enough that the chickens do not leap and break their necks against the ceiling. On that note, you must also ensure that there are no exposed nails in the roof above the rafters.
Step 2: The Outside Yard
There needs to be an outside area for the chickens to enjoy, complete with a passage for them to leave the coop on their own. The exterior yard should be comprised of chicken wire so that larger or smaller animals cannot squeeze through the fence. In addition to that it will keep the birds from poking their heads out and exposing them to danger.
When you are building your outside yard, make sure you have an external door so that you can enter and perform maintenance when required.
Step 3: Feeding
It is important that you install a decent feeding system into your chicken coop, either with an automatic feeder or a long trough of some type. When you feed your chickens, you will need a mixture of food and egg shells to supplement their diet, both of which could be purchased at a feed and tack store.
In addition to food you will need to set up a watering system for your chickens, which will generally be a galvanized automatic watering system. Keep in mind that this will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis, and clean water supplied as often as possible.
Step 4: Roosts
Your chickens will require a place to sleep and lay their eggs, and this is known as a roost. Roosts are generally square, though they can be round if you wish to improvise by providing buckets rather than an expensive roosting system. Each roost should be filled with straw or some other type of appropriate bedding, and should be cleaned out on a regular basis.
Building a chicken coop is incredibly easy, just make sure your birds have adequate space to move around, and that they are warm in the winter. During most times of the year, you should ensure there is a heat lamp installed, though it should be placed high enough that your birds do not burn themselves touching it. These tips should get you started and help you to build the perfect backyard chicken coop!
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Ted Leger –