When starting a backyard flock, many people decide to build their own chicken coops. However, not everyone has the time, tools, or skills to do so. Buying a readymade chicken coop is a perfectly acceptable alternative. However, since you’ll be relying on someone else to build it, you’ll need to ensure that it has everything your flock needs. Below, we put together a few things you should consider when buying a readymade coop:
Make sure it has the essentials
Every coop needs the essentials for your chickens to be happy and to make your flock easy to manage. What are those essentials? They include the following:
- Pop door
- Good ventilation
- Nesting boxes
- Acceptable hen space (see below)
- Easy access for cleaning
Look at the quality
A coop may be cheap, but chances are it sacrifices on quality. You don’t have to buy the most expensive coop you see, but don’t buy the cheapest you can find, either. You can check the quality of a coop by looking for the following things:
- If there are gaps where the boards meet
- Thickness of the wood (should be at least 10mm)
- If the hinges and hardware are rust proof
- Types of locks
- If it’s plastic
- If the windows are protected with hardware mesh
Check the size
Coops should have plenty of room to allow your chickens to be comfortable. This will all depend on how many chickens you have and how large they are.
Larger breeds require 4 square feet of space per bird, while smaller breeds can get by with 3 square feet of space per bird.
Bantams, which are even smaller, can be happy with about 2 square feet per bird.
However, the more space the better. So, if you can afford more space, then by all means do so. But at the very least, you should be following the above guidelines. If you don’t have enough space, then your chickens may start exhibiting antisocial behavior such as pecking and bullying.
Chicken tractors vs. stationary coops
Chicken tractors are mobile chicken coops that can move around your backyard. Chicken tractors can be beneficial to a flock as it allows your chickens to roam without wandering off or getting attacked by predators. Many chicken owners are turning to tractors to keep their flock happy.
However, chicken tractors can be difficult to maneuver around if you don’t have a riding mower or ATV to pull it along. That’s why stationary coops are still an excellent choice. So long as your chickens have plenty of space in the run and coop to move about, they will still be quite happy.
Think about your climate
If you live in Florida, your chickens will need different accommodations than someone who lives in Maine. Hot climates require coops with plenty of ventilation and shade to keep it cool. Colder climates, meanwhile, need to have insulation and protection from the cold winds.
Once your coop is ready, it’s time to order your chicks! At Chickens for Backyards, we have plenty of breeds for you to choose from. Look through our website today to get started!