Portable Chicken Coops – Things to Consider
From fresh eggs to a beautiful bug free backyard, raising a keeping chickens offers a family numerous benefits. Upon making the decision to have chickens, one must consider how and where the chickens should be kept. The most cost effective method is to build a coop for the chicken. Now many have their own opinion as to which chicken coop works best, but the important thing is what works best for you. Most commonly, if you have the acreage, letting the chickens roam around and make their way back to a permanent structure is the way to go. However, for those that may not have all that space, a portable chicken coop is a more suitable home for the birds. Below, is information on things to consider when building or buying a portable chicken coop.
First and foremost is the health of the chickens. The healthier the chicken is, the happier it will be. With happy chickens the production of eggs will be very good. To have happy birds you must provide them two things, space and air. Crowding chickens together is not only cruel but extremely unhealthy. Estimate and plan for about 4 to 5 square feet per chicken inside the coop, and as for the outside enclosed chicken run (if you plan on having one), 8 to 10 square feet per chicken will be needed. When roosting, the birds will need about 3 feet of horizontal room so they can sleep comfortably. Another thing that will make them more comfortable is adequate circulation of air. This is important because the air can become stale and actually poison the chickens. This happens due to the excrement that comes from the birds, so consider a portable chicken coop design that has windows that can open and close.
Now that comfort has been discussed, safety of the chickens comes next. As mentioned above, windows are helpful in providing clean air but they can also be dangerous if not shut before nightfall. Predators such as snakes will make there way in either for eggs, or the chickens themselves. The walls of the portable chicken coop that you purchase or build should have strong, solid wooden walls. Snakes are notorious for curling up in a hen nest and taking up residence, and when collecting eggs, you do not want to reach in and find a snake in the nest. Lastly, take note that ground predators will try to get under a portable coop. In order to combat this you can add wire mesh so that the birds can still snack on the grass, yet not become a snack themselves. Chicken wire is typically used for fencing and is great for keeping the birds inside a chicken run, but is definitely not good for the structure of a chicken coop.
Portable chicken coops are great for those that are just beginning their homesteading experience. Right away the benefits are noticeable, especially the production of fresh eggs. The yard will also reap the rewards of being fertilized, flea and tick free, and trimmed. All of this will cost you absolutely nothing except for the cost of feed for the chickens and the labor of moving the coop from place to place. Not only will the birds enjoy venturing around the backyard, but you and your family will enjoy fresh eggs from your happy, friendly pets.