Chicken Housing

The house

Check the code

Depending on whether your birds are free range or permanently housed.  9 birds per square metre.  Protect birds from draughts and rain but also have adequate ventalation.

Have nesting boxes at least one box per 4 hens (although chances are they will try to use the same nesting box and at times it will look like some strange version of chicken Tetris)  Have a door or flap of at least 30 x 40 cm.  Be easy to clean.

Have perches of around 5cm in diameter with rounded edges – at least 15cm per bird.

Optional – insulation and guttering

Site to facilitate drainage and minise the risk of natural hazards.

The run

Having a good sized area to run around is great if you want your chickens to free range they will decimate your garden.  So either fence off the garden or fence in the chickens.

It could be as simple as warratahs and chicken wire.

Ensure that in your run you have adequate shade and access to water.

Windbreaks

Chickens like a bit of fun – consider adding toys – a dust bath area, plants to scratch under.  Protection from predators

Chicken domes and tractors

These are mobile coops that allow you to move the chickens around.  Either on wheels or skids.  Great way to clear the vege garden after a harvest.

Make sure they still have access to water and food (pellets) and that they still have shelter.

Maintanence

Clean out waters and feeders regularly

Aside from changing bedding in nesting boxes etc

Take the time to at least once a year give your house a thouroghly deep clean

Wear a dust mask

Remove litter and wash out entire hen house with high pressure water and dish washing liquid or detergent.

Leave coop to dry

Spray with sanitiser and leave to dry or sprinkle with DE or spray with Neem oil.  AIr out the house for as long as possible

Add clean shavings and bedding material

Now that you have an awesomely clean hen house how about checking out those chickens?!

Hot Hens

Poultry are happy at around 21C so it is important tat in the hot summer months they have adequate shade.  Chickens can not sweat – they regulate their temp by breathing, so having ventilaton in hen house helps keep CO2 and moisture from building up

Cold Hens

In winter chickens will use a lot of energy keeping warm.  Having a warm house will help them.  Consider insulation in the coop at the very least in the roof.

Be wary and make sure insulation such as polystyrene or batts is not accessible by your fowl as they will peck it

Location, Location, Location

Take advantage of prevailing winds to aid in ventilation of chook house.  You want air to circulate around your house.  Will the area flood?  Can the chickens get to everything they need without learning to quack?  Is it muddy in winter?  Hot and dry in summer

How far do you need to go to get to it?