Where and how you house your chickens is the first thing you need to consider as a prospective chicken owner. There are many options available to fit a variety of aesthetic preferences and price ranges. However, with so many options on the market, it can be a daunting decision to choose which one is right for you and your chickens. But don’t worry! We’re here to help, check out our roundup of the best chicken houses and coops on the market today.
Should A Chicken Coop Be Fox Proof?
It’s important to make sure the chicken coop is fox-proof, whether you live in an urban or rural area. Adult foxes can easily climb six-foot walls and squeeze through 10cm-diameter holes. They can also chew there way through thin wire and tunnel underneath. Despite all these ways a fox can sneak up on your feathered friends, there are ways to protect them.
It is crucial to reinforce the wire mesh that is provided with your chicken house with a thicker, stronger alternative to prevent foxes from biting through. A thicker wire mesh can be found at a local home improvement store and attached to the existing wire with industrial staples or metal ties. This can help to prevent foxes from burrowing underneath the wire, a permanent wire mesh bottom can be attached to the coop, leaving large enough holes (roughly 15cm x 15cm) for chickens to reach the ground underneath.
If you want to prevent foxes from digging near the coop, you could install a mesh skirt.
Why You Should Invest In An Automatic Door!
An automatic chicken coop door opener is a life safer, especially in the colder months, and the dark mornings. It allows your chicken to roam free at a designated time, preventing you from waking up early to let them out. ChickenGuard is a popular choice. It comes with an integrated timer, full manual door control, and a failsafe mode. It runs on 4 AA batteries and is easy to use. You can secure the control box to the front of your chicken coop, set your opening and closing preferences, and you’re good to go. The buttons are extra big so you can easily press them with gloves on in the winter! It’s a long-term investment, saving you from crawling out of your warm, cosy bed on a cold, harsh winter morning.
How Far Can A Coop Be Placed From Your Home?
There is no set distance a chicken house should be from your home. It depends on various factors. Before you decide on where to locate your coop, you should consider what the RSPCA recommends: protection from the sun, bad weather, and wild animals; access to dry soil; and foraging and dustbathing areas. Also, it’s crucial to consider the size of your garden and how much space you have available for your feathered friends to roam.
You need to make sure you stay within the bounds of UK nuisance laws when keeping chickens in your back garden. Local councils are obliged to investigate any complaints made about noise, odour, and the attraction of vermin, so it is vital that you practice good hygiene.
Do Allotments Allow Chickens?
Yes, under the 1950 Allotment Act, you’re allowed to keep chickens on an allotment as long as they are not used for commercial or profit.
What Size Chicken Coop Do I Need?
Chicken and hen houses normally come with a recommendation for how many chickens they can comfortably hold. However, a rough guide is two to three square feet per chicken inside the coop and eight to 10 square feet per chicken in an outside run. The more space the better, and the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) recommends getting a house that can fit more hens than you want. For example, if you want four hens, buy a house that can fit six. This just ensures there is plenty of room for your feathered friends.
If your chickens are too closely packed together, it can cause a number of problems, including aggression, build-up of ammonia, or decreased egg production. So it’s important to pick a coop that’s big enough for your flock.
What Are The Best Types Of Chicken Coops?
When choosing a chicken coop, consider the needs of you and your feathered friends. The coop should be warm, dry, comfortable, secure against predators, and have enough space for your flock.
1. Plastic Coops
In recent years, plastic chicken coops have become increasingly popular.
The greatest advantage of plastic coops over wooden ones is their ease of cleaning- many can be washed and dried within 30 minutes! Maintenance is also minimal.
It is important to note, however, that plastic is not a breathable material, so adequate ventilation is essential! Chicken houses that are poorly ventilated can cause condensation, which can cause all sorts of nasty illnesses, including respiratory disorders.
2. Wooden Houses
Wooden coops’ main selling point is that they have a lot more choice when it comes to style (and there are some really fancy options out there!) But they also give you a lot more freedom for modification, and you’ll definitely be able to find a wooden hen house that suits your garden and your children’s specific needs.
3. Moveable Chicken Coops
The main selling point of chicken arks, also known as chicken tractors, is that they can be moved. Depending on the size of your garden, this gives your girls the opportunity to roam to a different spot every day.