You’ve finally made the plunge and want to start living a more sustainable lifestyle. Valid and admirable, but now you have to determine exactly what you are willing to change in your life to meet this goal.
Some people will install solar energy panels while others will start recycling items that they normally wouldn’t. some others even start to go green in their garden and look to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing the number of trips they make to the grocery store (in turn, reducing the number of trips made by carriers to bring the produce to the shelves) by providing their own fresh produce – both fruits, vegetables, and even herbs.
A Close Look
Why not take that concept a step further if you have the room and the time? How? By raising chickens in your backyard that will provide you with fresh eggs on a daily or semi-daily basis. They don’t require a lot of maintenance in terms of raising them to be strong layers but they will need you to provide the basic necessities for life! For starters – a home or a chicken coop.
Building your own chicken coop is actually pretty straight forward, which the majority of people are surprised to find out about. You don’t need fancy materials, tools or even a contractor if you are willing to get your hands dirty instead! You need some elbow grease, some guidelines and a free day on the weekend!
Why are Chicken Houses Important?
When it comes to raising chickens for eggs – do you really need to install a chicken house? Is it that important to the cause? The answer is: yes! Without a hen coop, you are asking for trouble or damages to your chickens.
A chicken coop does the following for your chickens:
- It provides a stable place for your chickens to rest, feed, and lay their eggs.
- Protects them from changing weather conditions such as wind increases, temperature changes (especially during the transitions between fall and winter and heavy rainfall.
- Protects them from outside predators that could be drawn to your home due to the presence of another animal – foxes, cats, coyotes, etc.
Features of a Sturdy and Accurate Hen House
Now that we know the purpose of a chicken coop, it’s time to determine what features should you install during your construction or ensure that standards are met.
Here are some of the main features that your chicken house should possess to ensure the safety and protection of your chickens:
- Sturdy roof construction that has no visible leaks, holes, or missing pieces. You want a solid roof that will protect your chickens from all danger. This also provides a place of protection against the hot sun in the summer.
- Solid walls that cannot be penetrated by predators. Think wood or brick, chicken wire or chain-link fencing.
- Facing an area in your backyard that receives daily sunlight but also has shaded areas so your chickens do not overheat.
- A ratio of space versus chickens should be used as overcrowded conditions can stress out your chickens and prevent them from laying eggs.
- Dry earth underneath the roof for your chickens to rest and sleep. If your chicken coop attracts condensation and moisture forms – it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. This, in turn, can cause infections or diseases to arise in your flock and create issues in laying eggs.
- Ventilated areas that allow for air circulation but do not allow weather elements to come inside the chicken coop. air circulation prevents disease, mold and even frostbite during the winter as frost does not get a chance to form. The fresh air will also benefit your chickens as they are like us – living creatures that feel better in the fresh air.
- An opening that allows your chickens to enter and exit the chicken coop without having to be herded in or opened by a person. This not only allows the chickens to determine when they will rest but also will allow the caregiver (you) to exercise time management.
- Perches located on the walls and floor of the chicken coop. The recommended material for coop floors varies depending on your needs.
- A removable wall to allow you to clean the interior of the chicken coop from droppings or spoiled food.
Why are Chicken Coops Elevated Off the Ground?
There is one common thing that is noticed when it comes to the construction of chicken coop, whether it is made from recycled materials (pallets, wood chips, etc.) or it’s a contractors dream design and that is the majority of chicken coops that are built to specifications are raised off the ground.
Typically raised by a couple of inches or more, chicken coops that rest on directly on the ground are more prone to disease, mold, and bacteria. They are also at the mercy of predators that could dig their way inside the coop and cause damage.
If your chicken house is raised off the ground, even if predators are able to breach the walls, they don’t get very far as the chickens are up above their heads.
Also, this allows for better air circulation when a chicken house is raised above the ground and prevents a buildup of droppings, dust mites and more. Cleanup and maintenance are definitely easier when the coop is raised and it becomes easier for the caregiver to gather eggs, spread feed, and complete other maintenance tasks.
As you can see – raising chickens for fresh eggs is a commitment but it is the type of commitment that is perfect for a young professional who doesn’t have the time to devote to the raising of numerous animals due to a busy career and personal life. It’s the type of commitment that rewards your hard work on a daily basis but it doesn’t require 100 percent of your time – which is why more people are looking to raise their own chickens in their backyard.
Not only will you have fresh eggs to use in numerous dishes for your table, but you are also able to gift these eggs to your closest friends and family members to encourage them to live a more sustainable lifestyle as well.