As part of the growing trend toward locally grown food and self-sufficiency, people living in towns and suburbs are choosing to keep chickens in their backyards. This hobby combines the enjoyment of caring for lively birds with the satisfaction of producing fresh, healthy eggs. If you’ve decided to keep poultry, you may wish purchase one of the many flat-packed chicken coops for sale online. These vary in terms of design, size and materials with some models providing better ventilation and lighting.
Certain design features can help keep your chickens happy and healthy. Look for coops with a hen house that is raised off the ground with an attached ramp to allow the birds access. This will help keep the nesting area dry and free of vermin. A pull-out tray beneath the hen house will make it easy to keep clean. A nesting box that can be accessed from outside the coop via a pull-up lid will allow you to collect eggs without disturbing the hens.
Websites selling coops will often advise you as to the number of chickens they can house. Beware of overestimates since crowding can lead to many problems. As a rule of thumb, you should allow six square feet of space per chicken. Multiply the length of the coop in feet by the width and divide by six to determine the number of chickens it can comfortably accommodate.
Buy a coop made from the best materials you can afford. Wood should be pre-treated to repel water and resist rot. Panels should be half an inch thick to increase the sturdiness of the structure and allow it to withstand all weather conditions. The sides of the run should consist of galvanized steel mesh to protect the hens from determined predators.
Good ventilation is vital in a chicken coop. It allows moisture to evaporate, helping to prevent poultry diseases brought on by damp conditions. It also prevents gases such as ammonia from building up to toxic levels. To keep chickens from being subjected to cold drafts, ventilation panels should be located under the roof of nesting area.
Sunlight will encourage the chickens to lay more eggs and also help to heat the hen house in winter. The nesting area should be equipped with at least one glass or Perspex window. Look for coops with hinged windows that can be opened to provide extra ventilation in warm weather.
When comparing prices of chicken coops for sale, the general rule is that you get what you pay for. More expensive coops tend to be made of better materials and incorporate more features. A cheap coop that will put the health of your chickens at risk, be damaged by the weather or be invaded by vermin and predators is not a bargain. Remember that you will have to clean your coop, care for your chickens and collect eggs on a regular basis, so a coop designed with your convenience in mind is generally worth its price in the long run.
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