How to Setup a Chicken Coop and Run
Raising backyard chickens for the first time necessitates setting up a chicken coop and running. That way, chickens will feel safe and secure in their coop, where they will roost every night. They'll eat, drink, lay, and generally be active in the coop. Breeding and incubation of eggs may even be an option. Thus, you must first properly set up the coop before purchasing your first flock.
Chicken coops are available in a wide range of sizes and styles. While some people prefer a stay put coop, others prefer a movable one. You should also think about building a chicken coop out of pallets before buying one or building one yourself.
So, continue reading to find out how to set up a chicken coop!
Reasons Why Chicken Needs Coop:
A chicken coop isn't just a cutesy ornament; it serves a practical purpose as well. Foremost, a chicken coop provides a place for the chickens to live. Below are some other benefits of chicken coop for them.
- Lessen the effects of adverse weather conditions such as rainstorms, snowstorms, wind, and sun.
- Protection from raccoons, hawks, rats, and snakes are known to nest raiders and predators.
- Nesting or roosting hens need to feel safe and secure to increase productivity.
- A separate area where the flock can eat and drink to keep tabs on their nutritional intake.
- Simpler ways to take care of the flock, learn about its habits, and collect eggs
- Small flocks in mild climates don't necessarily require a coop, but the advantages of a chicken coop can be beneficial to any backyard hen.
Steps in Setting Up a Chicken Coop & Run
When building a chicken coop, there is much room for creativity, but following these steps can help you ensure that you're doing it right.
1. Choose a suitable coop/run for your hens
If you’re purchasing a chicken coop, there are several factors to consider, including the size, security, run, and cost. There is a direct correlation between flock size and the size of the coop. The higher the cost, the more secure and spacious the coop.
On the other hand, you can let your chickens roam around your yard as a substitute for a run. Also, it's crucial to keep in mind that your chickens will eat just about anything, including the flowers you grow. So, if you're letting your chickens out in the yard during the day, make sure they're protected from predators.
In addition, you may prefer an OverEZ XL Coop made with a metal roof and heavy-duty material. Most likely, your coop will not leak water if it has a metal roof to help the snow slide off. In addition, painting the outside of your coop with house paint will help it last longer.
2. Set up a roost and nesting boxes
Set up additional nesting boxes if you don't already have enough for your flock in your coop. When constructing your chicken coop, be sure to include nesting boxes in a location that is both dark and easily accessible from the outside. Nesting boxes can be filled with straw, shavings, or bedding pellets.
While the roost should be located in the coop so that the chickens are protected from predators at night, high or low, it's up to you where you want to put it in your coop. All the hens require a comfortable night's sleep in which they can wrap their feet around the roost.
Roosts are critical in the winter months to keep them warm. Moreover, to make cleaning the coop a little easier, consider placing the roost close to a wall. On top of that, you have to avoid placing the roost above the feeder, waterer, or nesting boxes because chickens poop on the roost.
3. Place absorbent bedding
It is possible that the bedding will be used to line the nesting boxes and the coop's floor. To reduce the frequency with which the coop must be cleaned, make sure the bedding is absorbent. Wood shavings are the best bedding option, while sand and newspaper are the worst.
Nonetheless, you can make cleanup easier and the material more absorbent by layering your chicken coop with newspaper and wood shavings.
4. Add feeders and waterers
Many different types of chicken feeders and waterers are available. What matters most is that your chickens have access to clean, fresh water at all times. They should be kept outside of the coop to perform optimally on the run.
Before dusk, chickens tend to avoid eating because they cannot eat while in their roosts. Feeders and waterers should be placed in areas where your chickens spend most of their waking hours. Make sure to keep them off the ground but low enough so that all the chickens can easily access them.
Some people prefer feeders that can hold more food, so they don't have to be refilled as frequently, saving them time. This method will work perfectly as long as the feed is protected from the elements. During the sweltering months, most waterers rely on gravity to keep the water supply constant, and the chickens are drinking. The waterer should be cleaned and refilled regularly.
Aside from birds, other animals, such as mice, rats, raccoons, and squirrels, can also be drawn to the feeder. The wire mesh should cover the entire run, from the sides to the top. Predators trying to burrow under your coop's wire mesh will be discouraged if you bury it about 18 inches deep.
5. Light up the insides
Lack of sunlight causes hens to produce fewer eggs, which is why many flocks cease production entirely in the winter. If you're thinking about what should be inside a chicken coop, consider installing some mood lighting and an electrical heat package in their coop. If you want to encourage laying, use bulbs that emit a warm glow, such as those in this chandelier.
6. Install vents
As a result, chickens are susceptible to illness if their coop's air does not circulate properly. To keep that from happening, installing vents would suffice. Because of the screened-in space between the coop's walls and slanted roof, warm air can escape without disturbing the hens' sleep.
7. Set up fences to keep predators out
For most of us, the most critical consideration in raising a flock is how to protect them from predators. It's not uncommon for backyard chickens to be preyed upon by roosters, coyotes, and even snakes. Also, chick-eating snakes may try to slither their way into backyard chicken coops by slithering between the coop walls and the dirt floor.
Since chickens, like cats, tend to roam. You don't want your chickens wandering into the street or wandering into the garden of your next-door neighbors. To keep your flock safe, you should erect fencing or chicken wire. Predators are also kept at bay.
Every night, make sure to lock up the coop. The hens must be herded into a confined space and secured with a gate or barricade. Predators will not get in through the doors or the nesting boxes if they are locked.
Finally, "hardware cloth" should be used to cover any coop openings. It's a wire mesh stronger than chicken wire, but it's not as flexible. You should note that chicken wire is designed to keep chickens contained, not protect them from predators. Chicken wire is easily ripped apart by a hawk or other determined predator.
Keeping the Coop & Run in Perfect Condition
Make sure to remember that chickens require fresh food and water every day and regular cleaning of their coops. The walk-in design, built-in storage, and even a rain-collection system can save time cleaning the coop's interior.
Every two weeks, swap out the bedding. It doesn't matter how breathable the bedding is; it will eventually wear out. As waste builds up, you'll have to toss the old bedding and nesting materials and buy some new ones.
Most importantly, it would help if you sanitized drinkers and feeders. Thus, drinkers and feeders should be thoroughly cleaned and refilled every two weeks to keep them fresh and clean, while the nesting boxes and perches should be sanitized. Every two weeks or less, give these two a good scrub down. Otherwise, bacteria may accumulate, which is harmful to the chickens.
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Be Creative and Have Fun Setting Up a Chicken Coop!
In addition to keeping your chickens happy and their coop functional, you can also have fun while setting up a chicken coop.
Since the Buffalo Backyard Store promotes having pleasant and enticing outdoor spaces, we encourage you to utilize bright, cheerful colors of flowering window boxes to add personality to your home's exterior design. Rustic signage, such as "fresh eggs" or the chickens' names, can also be a charming addition.
Rather than building a traditional coop, you might want to consider repurposing an old dog house or child's playhouse, or you could come up with an interesting design concept like a silo or church steeple. Finally, to have fun and benefit both you and your flock, you can build a chicken coop in any way you like as long as it is safe for them to live in.