Buying a chicken coop can be confusing, especially if you are a first-time chicken keeper. Here is an insightful list of six things to consider when buying a chicken coop that will help you select the perfect backyard coop!
- #1 - Let your motivation dictate the coop that you select. What do I mean by that? For example, if you are looking for a place to hang out with your chickens, you may want to consider getting a coop with a porch! Alternatively, your goals may be more focused on egg production. If gathering eggs is your main initiative, then figure out how many eggs you would like to collect in a week and work the numbers from there!
For example, I have 3 people in my family, and we eat 20 eggs a week! Chickens lay 5 eggs on average a week, so I will need 4 hens to accomplish my egg quantity goals. 4 hens require 20 sq ft minimum (5 sq ft x 4 hens), so my coop should measure at least 4' x 5'!
- #2 - Consider your lifestyle. Are you super busy and sometimes travel on the weekends? If so, I would recommend getting a coop that is intuitive as it relates to daily functions. I would also recommend adding features such as an automatic chicken run door and predator safety screens! If the lifestyle you envision as a chicken keeper involves your children taking on some ownership of your flock, then ensuring your coop is as sanitary as possible is an advisable approach! One way to achieve this would be to identify a coop that allows for the ability to gather eggs and open a run door without having to enter the area in which the chickens reside!
- #3 - Consider your surroundings! Let's face it, we all contend with predators, so make sure the coop you select is predator-proof! This can be achieved by using a high gauge hardware wire cloth, locking doors, and security latches on all openings! Another element of your surroundings that should be considered is where the coop will be situated on your property. A bit of advice here, avoid muddy areas and provide some opportunities for the chickens to enjoy shade in the summer months!
- #4 - Look for a chicken coop that was designed with the well-being of your chickens in mind! - There are a few key measurements and rules for building a healthy chicken coop! A chicken coop should have approximately 1 square foot of ventilation per 10 square feet of coop. This is particularly important for chickens because they have the propensity to develop respiratory challenges over time. - Additionally, you'll want to make sure your chickens have enough space for their daily activities, including roosting and nesting. When building a chicken coop, you will need 1 nesting box per 4-5 chickens. Also, keep in mind that your coop will need 10-12" per chicken for the roosting bars. If you follow these basic principles, your flock will be more likely to remain healthy and happy for the long term!
- #5 - Make sure you get a coop that makes chicken keeping easy! If you have not already noticed, most chicken coops are not easily accessible. If you can find a walk-in chicken coop, you will be much better off as they are easier to clean and much more friendly on your back! - Another simple suggestion that will go a long way is to find a coop that also allows for storage! Feed bags can be up to 50 pounds and a real pain to carry long distances, so having secure storage will make your life as a chicken keeper significantly more pleasant! - Finally, consider how sanitary your coop will be and how easy it is to clean it! For example, look for a Clean Out the Coop feature and make sure you can achieve your daily chores without having to enter the dirty part of the chicken coop!
- #6 - Make sure that your coop is cute! While this might not seem like an important factor when buying a chicken coop, it is! You want to love visiting your chickens and be proud of the addition of their home to your property! If you love your coop, you will spend more time with your flock!
Like anything else, buying a chicken coop is an investment. The better you're set up, the more you will enjoy chicken keeping, and the happier your flock will be!