Sure enough, you do not want your chickens to be free-ranging their way into your neighbor's backyard. Your neighbor may ignore it for the first time, but then if it happens over and over again, you don't want him to knock on your door and tell you to mind your chickens. You decide to restrict your chickens in a coop. However, you do not want to spend a fortune for doing this. Building a chicken coop seems exciting, but you lack plan and design. Here's some help.
The designs depends on your needs. If you do not want a permanent structure in your backyard, go for the mobile one. If your need isn't for a big structure, go for small coop. If you believe in best out of waste, you can be innovative and add some extra features such as the feeder, roosts, water container, and nest boxes.
Location: A backyard coop works the best. It is within your property line and poses no threat to your neighbors. Make sure that the offensive chicken smell doesn't bother your neighbors though.
Design: Take care that the design does not demean the worth and style of your house. If you have space constraint, a small coop is the ideal choice. If mobility is your concern, coops in the form of tractors are good options. Depending on the availability of space, the size and the design can be decided.
Budget: The size depends on how much you are willing to spend. If money is a limiting factor, concentrate on some material that can be used from your attic.
Space: To improve the quality of the lives of the chickens in a coop, an ample amount of space has to be allotted to every chicken. The minimum recommended floor space for every chicken is 4 sq ft. Enough space reduces cases of cannibalism, over crowding, and feather picking.
Lighting: If you want your chicken to lay organic eggs throughout the year, you need to keep the coop lit to stimulate egg production.
Ventilation: If you live in warm climates, be sure that the coop is well-ventilated to keep the chickens cool. Regular inflow and outflow of fresh air reduces the chances of them getting sick.
Predator Risk: Dogs, raccoons, fisher cats, bears, and coyotes are the most common predators that pose a risk to chickens. The risk can be eliminated by elevating the coop, and by fencing the doors with proper strength mesh wire.
Litter Treatment: The difficult part of maintaining a chicken coop is cleaning it free of litter. It can be designed in such a way that cleaning becomes easier. The floor could be built with a slope, so that when the coop is washed, the dirty water flows out through the door.
Diet: For your chickens to live a healthy life, free of any sickness, and produce eggs around the year, good food and freshwater has to be provided.