Chicken-Coop Primer

| 1/5/2017 10:01:00 AM

Tags: chickens, coop, predators, safety, maintenance, Anna Twitto, Israel,


Above: our current chicken coop in the process of construction. As we ran out of chicken wire, the spaces at the top were temporarily covered using an old plastic tablecloth cut to pieces and stapled to the wooden frame. 

A reliable chicken coop is a must if you don’t want your chickens to end up as the dinner of some fox, stray dog or whatever local predator you have in the area. Do yourself a favor and make an initial investment in a chicken house, a real sturdy shed you wouldn’t mind taking shelter in for the night. As we’ve moved house several times, we’ve had to make do with some makeshift coops that caused us a lot of alarm and frustration. We lost a lot of chickens to predators, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t learn from our experience.

Don’t leave any cracks bigger than the width of your little finger – not between the floor and the sides of the coop, not between the walls and the roof and not under the door. At the approach of a predator, chickens can and will panic and squeeze out of openings you would think are too small to even poke their heads through. Cover windows with close-fitting steel wire.

Consider the Appropriate Size

Naturally, there are some considerations beyond safety: your coop must be big enough for your intended flock. I suggest building big but starting with a small flock, so you can expand it later on without the coop becoming crowded. Your chickens will also need a roost and nesting boxes.

A roost doesn’t have to be more than a simple wooden plank, but make the extra effort of sanding it down really finely to prevent your chickens from getting wood splinters in their feet – this can result in Bumble foot, a nasty ailment that can make birds limp and isn’t very pleasant to treat.

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