Looking for the best chicken coops? We've got all the details here in our homestead handbook. Identify the finest chicken coop for you and your flock.
There is no such thing as a perfect all-in-one housing for your chicken. Since housing must be outlined and tailored to fit you, you might spend a fairly good amount of time browsing just about everything. There is also your location, the weather and amount of land you have you need to take into consideration. How much you plan to spend will be based on how many chickens you decide to get, which breeds they are and the intent as to what you want them to do for you. If you live in a densely populated area where neighbors are close, you need to plan a way to zone your chickens to avoid complications. There are several types of sheltering options you can choose from:
- Confining your chicken in a portable shelter or floorless portable shelter that is fenced
- Allowing your chicken to roam free-range
- Confining them in an outdoor or building or one that is indoors
- Confine them in a cage
3.1 – Providing a Shelter
If you live in a rural area, chances are it would be easier (and less expensive for you) to let your chicken frolic around your property as they please; at least to some degree. There is typically no fence involved for chickens that live in a free range. It was a common practice used back in the day until the mid-1900 were when an increase in urbanization started to make way. Since urban areas have a limited amount of space, people have to be more mindful of neighbors who may not appreciate the joys of having a chicken around like you do. Or maybe they aren’t morning type folks and don’t like the idea of hearing your chicken sound off as early as 5am. Fortunately, there are those of you who don’t have to deal with that. You can let them enjoy all the open space and dirt available – it’s a fun background for them.
It’s not all too bad to have a fence though. It keeps your chicken safe from the environment, especially from predators. The only disadvantage a fenced range has is that it can be ruined pretty quickly by your friends constantly scratching and pecking at it if you aren't watchful. As if that weren’t enough distress already for you, they may even leave you trails and trails of droppings as a present. The smaller the place you live in, the sooner it can become a hardpan or a pile of mud, the outcome relies on your climate. The first plan you should make in designing the perfect housing for your chicken is to determine what type of land you have to prevent it from unsanitary. If you live in a tight space and own a few birds, you can work things out by leveling the area you have and covering it with a few inches of dry, clean sand. Each day you should rake the sand smooth to cover any holes and remove debris. It shouldn’t be too much work or take too much time for those who have little land. If you live in a larger yard, the main advantage is the preservation of vegetation. Since chicken likes to move around where their housing is, they can get grass to depreciate progressively it. Those with more space will not have to worry about their vegetation. If you live in a pretty adequately sized property with no trees, consider providing one or a couple if you can. It is a great refuge for chicken from predators, and it provides great shade. If you add a tree or built shelter, it persuades the chicken to move about more often and away from their main shelter where there would have been a lot of impact by those busy feet. A range shelter is a good investment as it protects your chicken from the harsh weather and is an ideal spot to place a waterer and a feeder. It can come from the most basic material, and if you wish, you can construct it yourself look at if you want to build them yourself.
Here is some more material to help your journey:
3.2 – Grow chicken eggs, meat, and a Garden with Little Land
It may initially seem very difficult to accomplish, but it is very easy and very possible to imagine seriously being a mini farmer. Many people are reluctant to raise a chicken or build a garden because they simply do not know it can be done when they are not living in rural areas. This section will exclusively teach you how to raise successfully and grow both even with little land available. I previously mentioned when you live on little land, expect to take time everyday raking and sanding your land your chicken live on since there is going to be plenty of movement going on. It is pretty easy to do, but the main concern people worry about on is how and what type of shelter will work fit. For people who live in a restricted amount of land. I recommend you build the shelter on your own. It is easy, and I will provide a video that gives the step by step installation process. This chicken coop takes as little as 2 square feet and can easily house 2-3 chickens with adequate space. It can also double as a transport carrier when you do have to move the shelter temporally elsewhere. If you can afford a little more space, you can build upon that. Two chickens are plenty enough to give you at least a dozen eggs a week for your household. 1 hen typically lays 1 egg a day. A few are plenty enough when you aren’t planning on feeding an army or use your chicken for marketing. If you are not keen on breeding them around the clock, you can also raise them as you need them which is the preferred choice for people who don’t live on a lot of land.
You can read chapter nine that will provide you in more detail various ways to raise chicken no matter what size land you have. A last tip I would like to share is if you are short on space, you can buy or build a shelter that has levels. Two levels are often good enough to have more chicken, but you can add more. If you can’t go forward, backwards or sideways, go up. Here are a few pictures you can develop ideas from:
If you are planning to use your chicken for meat at well, it is helpful you know how long it takes for a chick to reach maturity. It takes 4-8 weeks for meat to grow fully. It is a good idea to keep at least a minimum of 3-4 chicken, with at least one being male and the other female. You do not need to have a lot of chickens in your yard especially when it is not needed. You can just breed more as it does not take long for a chicken to be big enough to consume.
That was Chapter 3: Chicken Coops from our Homestead Handbook: Raising Backyard Chickens