The Chook Pen
Housing your chooks needs careful consideration and all depends on how much money you want to spend and where to put it in your yard. Here's some simple ides for you.
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Before I start to put details on this page, it wouldn't be a bad idea just to check the legal requirements from you State's DPI, in NSW you can check here https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-and-livestock/poultry-and-birds
What are the basics and what are we trying to achieve? and lets not forget the recommended size of coop for the flock we intend to have. Ideally, you need approximately 0.4 Sq Mtr floor space per bird. And this must be your starting place. Its just not good enough to get a few baby chickens and expect to raise them in one of these small commercially made flat packs. Babies have a habit of growing, whatever the species are, we all know this. So just remember the 6 tiny fluffy lovable things you bought at the market of from a seller will grow to a larger bird of either gender, some of which will weigh 5.00 Kg!
One of these cheap on-line coops are just not good enough to house any more than ONE chicken. So please "Caveat Emptor" Buyer Beware and try to build you own. Yes it can be difficult if you don't have any wood working skills but there are so many more ways to overcome this as I'll explain as I go on. So please read the entire page.
To begin with here are some basic essentials; Read this right to the end, and you'll never forget the advise I give you to save you time and money.
- Make sure there enough room as explained above. And remember you will always need to have easy access to your birds, so height is also important
- Whatever you decide, its wise to ensure you have adequate ventilation, accumulated moisture can lead to some respiratory illness
- Protection from the weather. Your coop should be insulated in some way against extremes of temperature. You'll need shade from the sun and protection from the rain
- Predator control. Use strong wire of small mesh size including not only the sides but also the top and bottom too. Always make sure any doors and windows have secure catches. And then its wise to make sure your flock are secured in the hen house before the end of day. Now taking all this into consideration, you can start to see and imagine the size of your coop
- Lighting. Chooks need a minimum of 15 hours of lighting every day to promote egg production. If its possible, its wise to have access to a safe electricity connection to the coop
- Cleaning. When you design your house give a thought to how you'll keep it clean. If you cant have easy access to the inside then cleaning, egg harvesting, catching your chooks, food and water supply are all so much harder if you cant get inside.
I'm going to suggest to you, something that can fit into a medium sized budget and will last you many years and could suit up-to 6 to 10 birds depending on the size of house you purchase. I'm separating the terms house to run as both are separate issues but are all part of the same conjoined coop.
For the house and let's concentrate on this, the nesting place, the sleeping place, call it what you want, you could spend a few hundred dollars on timber, nails, screws and sheeting for sides and roof. And believe me, by the time you've run back to the hardware store to get the timber you forgot, or to replace the piece you cut too short, you've possibly spent a couple of hundred dollars or so. But, but, you could get a flat pack garden shed for as little as $230 for a 1.52m x 0.78m x 1.95m high garden shed with a single door (prices as at 06/2020). Better still but depending on your budget, you could go further up market for a 2.26m x 1.52m x 2.08m for around $440 and you have already built more than 60% of your coop. These sheds are easy as to assemble and can be done in a weekend by a husband, wife and kids team with no need for special tools except a screwdriver. The only thing you now need to do now...is build the run and fit out the house. This one simple message is going to save you time and money I'll give you information about setting up the house and building the run on this page