Chickens need a safe and comfortable home just like any other animal. Their home is called a coop. For people who wish to raise chickens in their backyard, it is highly recommended to construct a coop where the birds will be kept safe from bad weather and their predators.
But first, you have to plan well for this particular poultry backyard project. Planning means deciding on the number of chickens you will raise, the size of your coop, the materials you will use, the design and the location. If this is a first for you, you can just start with a few say, three chickens and find out how you're doing as you go along. You can add a few more later on if you feel you can manage well.
Other important factors you will have to take into account are the ventilation and insulation of your coop as well as the lighting. Just like humans, chickens also feel the heat of the summer season and when proper ventilation is not provided, the birds can get sick. If you're building a closed coop, you can install vents ideally on the south or facing the east or you can create large holes on the north and south areas preferably at the point where the walls meet the roof.
For the cold winter months, the insulation will help keep the birds dry and warm so do not forget this as well. You can use Styrofoam sheets and place them between the walls and ceiling.
Lighting is as vital. Remember in your Science subject in the elementary grades, you were taught that plants and animals need light, water and air to live. Chickens, therefore, need natural light as often as they can. If you're going to put your coop in a dark or shaded area, build a structure that has openings to allow sunlight to enter or you can also install light fixtures for your birds.
Placement of feeders is another important aspect. Feeders are containers where you put the food of chickens. These have to be placed at a higher level and not on the floor to keep dirt away. Make sure that you place them in a way that you can easily reach them when feeding your chickens.
When building the structure, you do not have to make a complicated one. Start simple if possible. Keep in mind that chickens require sufficient space to move around so determine the right measurements. The standard measurement for each bird is two to three square feet. As your chickens grow, though, additional space will be needed. Do further research if you're special about the chicken breeds and their minimum space requirements.
You can use cheap wood materials combined with chicken wire for the coop. GI sheets can be used for the roof but be sure to build this in a sloping style to keep the water running when it rains.
Raising chickens is a nice hobby and one which can benefit you and your family. You not only have poultry meat for your meals but you can also enjoy chicken eggs for breakfast.