Every backyard chicken coop design must consider three main issues: productivity, cleanliness and hygiene.
The design of your chicken coop should allow at least 3 to 4 square feet of space per bird. Chicken need enough room to mill around and remain productive.
While they are very social animals and enjoy having other chickens around, they can also become cranky. When behaving normally, chicken will huddle together, scratch and feed together and generally stay close.
However, if something interesting catches their attention, they could peck at another bird that comes too close. It could be a territory that they are foraging and consider their own, or any number of other things, even a little droplet of water running across a wire. The chicken sometimes get cranky and aggressive enough to peck at each other, occasionally even to the death. This is sometimes aggravated when other chickens see blood – they could help peck the victim until it is seriously wounded.
Ample space helps prevent that problem, and many others. When building a backyard chicken coop, it is important to first determine the number of chickens you plan to house there.
Chicken droppings contain ammonia and create dampness inside the coop. Aside from that, every animal and bird has their own unique odor that impacts the air quality.
The design of the chicken coop must allow proper air ventilation to keep the air inside circulating. Choosing the proper materials is a very important factor in this. Chickens are survivors but they are not exactly hardy. One death, often caused by dampness, can affect the other chickens as well.
Aside from ventilation, the chicken coop must be insulated to keep the chickens warm in cold weather.
Food and Waste Management
It’s important to raise the planned chicken coop above the ground to keep your flock healthy, and for easier cleaning and maintenance.
Poultry leave dropping everywhere. When not well managed, the droppings emit gasses that are not good for the health of the chickens but can also bother people.
When building a coop, provide perches designed along a feed spot. Chickens are one of those birds that are likely to poop while feeding. The perches and feeders should be designed for easy cleaning.
Also, when designing the feeders, raise the elevation as high as the chicken’s backs to prevent the them from scratching their feed and creating a mess when feeding.
This design consideration also applies for the water pans. Clean water must be available to the chickens every day.
These are some the basic elements when building a backyard chicken coop. In addition, light sources are also an important consideration, as well as the appearance of the chicken house. These however depend largely on material choices and aesthetics.
For chickens, as long as they have an appropriately sized and dry space, good ventilation, and plenty of clean feed, they will be healthy and content.