With the price of eggs rising, more and more people are ‘flocking’ to chicken ownership. Of course, making sure that your birds have a great coop is half the battle when it comes to chicken care. A Greater Cincinnati vet offers some advice on this below.
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want a moveable coop or one that will stay put. Moveable ones are cheaper, and allow your feathered buddies to enjoy pecking different parts of the yard. You can also take it with you if you move. However, permanently placed coops are bigger and sturdier.
Small coops can be quite inexpensive and easy to move around. However, unless you put the coop on something, you’ll need to stay in a bent-over position for cleaning and gathering eggs. Convenient feed and water systems are also things you’ll be glad you added.
If the coop is too crowded, your chickens may have to battle for perch space, and will be more susceptible to stress, illness, and injury. If it’s too large, their body heat won’t keep it warm enough in cold weather. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need three feet per bird if your flock has an outdoor run, and five feet per bird for those that don’t.
Technically, chickens do not multiply at an unusual rate. However, due to some odd universal loophole, chicken owners often find themselves with three, four, or ten times the number of birds they thought they wanted. Keep that in mind as well!
Before you do anything, make sure you are allowed to keep chickens. Here in Cincinnatti, it is legal to keep hens but not roosters. The coop must also be cleaned daily, and manure disposed of properly.
No matter what design you go with, there are some musts. First, make sure the coop offers proper ventilation. You should also have doors that open inward. Last but not least, make sure your coop is predator-proof.
Add things like flower boxes, swings, and paintings to make your coop look nice. To pamper your birds, incorporate chicken favorites like xylophones, swings, and Bluetooth speakers, so they can enjoy music or audiobooks.
As your Greater Cincinnati animal clinic, we’re here to help. Contact us anytime!