So you’ve decided to get some chickens! Or maybe you have some already, but they need a new home. Maybe you’ve started looking on Pinterest for chicken coop ideas or even YouTube for how to make a chicken coop yourself from scratch.
Well, we’re really glad you ended up here because we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about chicken coops.
WHERE TO START?
Check with your local council
Before you buy a chicken coop, be sure to check with your local council in case there are any regulations in place. Non-rural areas tend to have strict restrictions regarding the amount of chickens allowed as well as their sex. A noisy rooster may upset a neighbour and could eventually lead to an unwanted visit from the council.
Ensure you have enough space in your yard
The next thing to think about is whether you have the space in your yard for chickens and a chicken coop and whether you want them to be able to roam free in the yard during the day. This will also determine how many chickens you should keep because allowing them to roam free during daytime hours means you only really need enough room in the coop for them to roost at night (or when locked up) and to lay their eggs. With our chicken coops, we recommend keeping 3-4 chickens per coop.
You should also consider how the placement of the chicken coop might discourage or prevent pests or predators, such as foxes, from getting access to it. Locating the coop on sturdy, hard ground, or even concrete is well worth considering.
WHERE SHOULD I PUT MY CHICKEN COOP?
WHAT SIZE CHICKEN COOP DO I NEED?
There are a few things to consider when deciding what size chicken coop you should get:
- The size of your chickens
- Whether your chickens will be roaming free during the day and only roosting in the coop at night and nesting for short periods during the day.
- There needs to be enough roosting space for each chicken. The RSPCA recommends 200mm of perch for each hen. If you overstock, you risk causing stress to your hens which in turn may interrupt egg laying or, cause other issues such as excessive noise, feather picking, bullying and fighting.
- Chickens are quite social and it’s recommended you keep at least 3. This way, if one passes away, your chickens will still have a friend without needing to introduce new hens, which can be difficult.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CHICKEN COOP
As well as size, we also recommend considering the following features:
- Well-designed chicken coops made from timber are great because they are naturally breathable and are not as susceptible to condensation.
- Ensure your chicken coop has a waterproof roof and a design that will give the chickens shelter from the elements, including a raised area to keep them comfortable and dry.
- You will need easy access to collect the eggs. Trust us on this one!
- Make sure you pick a coop that is easy to clean with features like removable floor trays in the nesting area.
Bunnings has a great selection of chicken coops for you to choose from that cover all these bases.
HOW DO I ENCOURAGE MY HENS TO LAY EGGS?
If you want your hens to lay eggs, they need to get a minimum of 12 hours of daylight each day. If you want to increase the chances of your hens laying eggs, 14 – 16 hours of daylight each day is likely to yield the best results.
DO NOT keep a light on 24/7 in their coop, the chickens will think it’s still daytime. Chickens need sleep to maintain their immune system and a lack of sleep can lead to stress and behavioural changes.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a rooster for your chickens to lay eggs. The presence of a rooster will determine if an egg is fertile. An unfertilised egg will never hatch into a chicken. As mentioned before, make sure you check with your local council to see if there are any regulations in place regarding keeping roosters.