Have you decided to start keeping chickens? If so, you’ll need to buy or build a coop. Given that backyard chickens are becoming so popular, you’re certainly in good company. There are a few things to consider when setting up your birds’ home, however. Read on for some tips on coop setup from a Middletown, DE veterinarian.
It’s a good idea to elevate the coop a little bit. When it’s raining, or when snow is melting, this will help keep your flock’s feet dry. Consider installing a ramp to let your hens in and out of their run.
Did you know that light cycles affect egg production? This is one reason that hens lay fewer eggs in winter. Add some lighting for your girls. You will need the right type of light, however: a blue-white light won’t stimulate your hens to start laying eggs.
Even if you are in a suburban area, you’ll have to protect your birds from predators. Make sure your coop is secure! Use latches that can’t be opened by foxes or other animals.
Who says chicken coops have to be boring? Add a touch of color by painting the window frames. You can also add things like window boxes, shutters, or even paintings to make the coop look nice. You’ll find tons of great ideas online.
Chickens benefit from being able to roam about, peck, and scratch. Animals need to be able to follow their natural instincts and behaviors. However, they aren’t entirely safe out in the open. Consider screening in a large run for them. Ideally, you’ll want to connect this to a fenced-in area, giving your birds maximum room to roam without compromising security.
Your birds always need fresh air circulating, even—and perhaps especially—when it’s cold. Don’t forget to add vents! Stale air can make your chickens quite sick!
You’ll need to get in and out of your coop every day, to clean, collect eggs, and give your birds fresh food and water. Go with a setup that allows you to enter and exit without having to bend or scooch over. Trust us: you’ll thank yourself later!
Do you have questions about your birds’ health or care? Contact us, your Middletown, DE veterinary clinic, today!