Your coop provides your flock with the safety and security they need to live happy, healthy lives. Without adequate shelter, chickens will be more prone to stress and less likely to produce large clutches of eggs. Likewise, it’s important that chicken owners do whatever they can to provide their flocks with the best living environments available. In this entry, we’ll look at a few key factors to keep in mind when building and maintaining a shelter for your flock.
Is it protected from water intrusion?
There’s nothing nastier than a soggy henhouse. Moist litter promotes all kinds of problems, diseases and sickness for poultry. Typically, we recommend elevating your coop above the ground if possible. This will not only keep the floor in your coop clean and dry, but also protect your flock from prowling predators such as weasels and raccoons.
Is it sanitary?
Chickens might not be known for their good personal hygiene habits, but that doesn’t mean they like to live in squalor. A dirty coop can promote stress in your chickens and also leave them vulnerable to disease. When cleaning the old litter out of the house, we recommend holding your breath or putting a mask on and then throwing hot hydrated lime all over the floor and walls. This will dry up any lingering viruses and bacteria. Next, put down clean straw or pine shaving. Clean droppings regularly, and keep your chickens well supplied with fresh bedding.
Is it well ventilated?
A crowded henhouse with hot, stagnant air is not an ideal environment for egg-laying. Typically, you should have about 3-5 square feet of space for each adult bird in your flock. The coop should be well ventilated, but not drafty. That is to say, there should be air moving around your chickens, but not blowing directly at them. Your chicken house can get very dusty inside over time. This dust consists primarily of shed feather cells, skin cells and feces. It is important to clean the house and power wash the interior at least 2 times a year.
Do hens have access to natural light? Shade?
Ideally, your henhouse should provide your flock with both well-lit areas, and space to cool down in the shade on hot days. Chickens are warm-blooded, but they still need protection from extreme temperatures.
Want to learn more about caring for your flock? Give us a call and we’ll do our best to answer any of your questions. From the CACKLE COOP.