- Choose the Right Size Hen Coops for Your Breed(s)
There are 60+ different breeds of chickens in the U.S., alone. They range in size from the large, husky Rhode Island Red chicken to the significantly more petite Bantam chicken. The size of the backyard hens you’re raising is key in deciding on the best hen coops for you. In general, you will need about 3-5 square feet per hen. The more space you provide for your biddies, the happier and healthier they will be. This is not an exact science, by any means, but you should aim for the side of the spectrum (smaller vs. larger) that correlates with the relative size of your birds.
- Choose Chicken Runs and Coops that Make Feeding, Watering, Egg-gathering and Cleaning Easier
Some of the most important daily tasks for any urban farmer are the feeding, watering, and cleaning of your chickens, as well as the gathering of your hens’ eggs. Accordingly, choosing hen coops that help make these tasks easier for you is crucial. You should pay particular attention to such details as: whether or not your hen coops have a wide door that allows you to insert and remove feed and water dishes easily; whether there are doors behind your nest boxes that let you gather eggs easily without having to go inside; and how easy it is for you to maneuver inside your hen coops allowing for simple clean-up of the premises.
- Choose Chicken Coop Accessories that Maximize Your Hens’ Comfort
For healthy hens, you should provide for their comfort. There are a few key accessories that can aid in this task immensely: a) Make sure your chicken huts have an adequate number of nesting boxes (you will need about 1 per 4 chickens) for your hens to lay eggs inside. b) Provide electricity to your hen coops, and install a heating lamp. A heating lamp will extend your hens’ natural laying cycle so that you can enjoy excellent egg supply year-round, and it will keep your chickens warm in the winters. c) Choose hen coops with a roosting pole to make a cozy perch for your chickens. d) Place a manure box under your hens’ perch, as most of their droppings will fall as they are perching on their roost. This will make for cleaner and more hygienic chicken huts for both your birds and you.
- Choose Chicken Huts that are Right for Your Weather
Make sure your hen coops are right for your weather conditions. They should provide adequate shade and heat relief in the summers, and protection from harsh winds and frozen precipitation in the winters. Depending on where you live, you may need elements such as: insulated coop walls and a heat lamp if you have particularly cold winters, or an elevated coop if your area is prone to flooding.