Raising chickens is a rewarding past-time that can be performed anywhere in the world, no matter what type of environment you live in.
You can get a regular supply of fresh eggs that you know won’t contain any sort of chemicals or unnatural hormones. Even if you live in an urban environment and had thought that you didn’t have the space or the right sort of facilities, chances are good that if you use a small chicken coop you can easily raise chickens of your own.
Of course, this means you won’t be able to raise as many birds as maybe you’d like to, but you can still raise one or two chickens even if you live in cramped suburbia, just as long as you have at least a small patch of grass or dirt for them to stretch their legs on. There’s a difference, after all, between a small chicken coop and a cramped one.
The basic space requirements for your birds should be as follows:
- At least 4 square feet of space per bird in the coop itself.
- At least 10 square feet of space per bird in the “chicken run,” or outside section of the coop.
- At least 9 horizontal feet of perch space for your chickens to sleep on.
Keep these space requirements in mind, and you can ensure that your hens will lay plenty of eggs. Stressed birds will lay fewer eggs, and cramped birds are stressed birds, so that’s why this is important even when building a small chicken coop.
Some Design Ideas
In essence, what you will be building is a regular-sized chicken coop, only scaled down to house two or three birds instead of a whole flock. You’ll still want to follow all the tips and tricks of designing and building a home for your chickens.
* Include adequate venilation – Adding a window to your coop’s design will make sure your birds get fresh air and stay healthy. Chickens don’t like to be too hot or too cold, and ventilation will keep them comfortable.
* Build a rooster – When they sleep, chickens like to be able to perch off the ground for safety in the wild. It’s no different in captivity, so make sure they have somewhere they can feel safe while sleeping.
* Try adding a nesting box – Nesting boxes can encourage your hens to lay eggs in one place, which makes it much easier for you to collect them. This will also encourage some chickens to lay in the first place, as they will feel safer in the box.
In a small chicken coop, of course, you will also want to limit size. Don’t go overboard and add all the convenient features you can think of. It is a good idea to be able to get into the coop yourself, though, as this makes cleaning much easier.
For construction materials, if your coop is outside you’ll want to make sure that the walls are constructed of something solid that your birds can feel safe in. Coops with walls entirely of wire are not usually a good idea, as it will stress out your chickens. However, wire is good for keeping the external runs safe from predators, so don’t discount that out of hand, either.