How to Build a Chicken Coop
When you are raising a chicken flock in your property, you are responsible for providing them the basic necessities in order for them to grow healthy and thrive happily. Just like humans, chickens are dependent on food and shelter to survive. Before you pick and buy a chicken breed for your home, make sure that everything is ready to accommodate them, from the right coop design to the type of feeds that will keep them alive and flapping. With proper research, newbies can get more information about housing and feeding, which they can use to ensure a flourishing home- scale poultry business.
There are a lot of coop types that you can choose from. However, you need to consider some factors to build the best one for your future livestock. Factors including ventilation, available space, hygiene, climate, litter method, waterers and feeders, flock numbers and bedding materials are things that you should consider to ensure that your flock have the best chances of survival against the elements and diseases. You should determine if you want to build a permanent coop or a tractor-type, which is easily removable and replaceable. Weighing the pros and cons about this matter will surely help you set up the best housing for your livestock in the future. If you decide to let your chickens roam your property, then there are also benefits in such action, like lesser weeds and more feeds for them.
A chicken coop should be customized according to factors, like weather protection, safety, nesting, and space.
Space is a crucial aspect in building a coop since chickens need to roam around and breathe through feather and poop. It is also best if the location is well- shaded to avoid direct sunlight or heavy downpours from damaging your chickens. The canopy of a tree or a roof is enough to provide shade and also protect your animals from the sight of aerial predators. An old outbuilding can be repurposed to serve as the coop without having to start from scratch.
The bedding materials, ramp, roosting perches, nesting boxes and other props should also be present since each has a purpose for the chickens to thrive and cluck happily. Choose predator and pest- proof materials in building your coop. The nesting area should be elevated enough to ensure that the chickens’ feet are dry during the rainy season while the barn doors must be well- spaced to allow easy access for cleaning the inside. The screen will also ensure proper ventilation and more sceneries than solid walls and doors. Vents could also be installed in between walls or in the rood so the hot air would escape. However, you must keep the vents well- measured to prevent drafts in the coop. Illumination is also crucial, especially during winter to ensure that egg production is still ongoing. Bulbs with warm yellow glows are recommended since bluish lighting is not effective in triggering the laying.
Cleaning and feeding should be done regularly, which is why choosing the right coop setup is necessary. A walk- in design is most recommended because cleaning is easier. It should have a rain- collection system, a built- in storage and a metal trash can, which can be used as a food stash. Do not mind being creative if you can afford it. Embellishments like flower boxes will add beauty to the surroundings, without being a nuisance to the chickens.
Building a chicken coop can be a tedious task, especially if you are new to the business. In order to get it right the first time and avoid the risk of sacrificing the health of the chickens, you can follow a chicken coop guide to build your own. Using the tips above, you may be able to build one within a tight budget. There are other helpful guides from the internet that you can download for your convenience. However, if you have the money to spare or are not into DIY projects, you can buy a ready- made coop. Amazon has a few amazing options, depending on the number of your chickens. You can choose between a portable or non- portable one.
Download Free Coop Plans
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How to Start Raising Chickens
Home scale businesses are quite popular because they only require a manageable amount of time, effort and money to get started. When it comes to poultry farming, chicken are some of the animals that could be raised without too much problems. This type of livestock can be raised easily with many benefits for the owners. Keeping chickens are also inexpensive, depending on the breed you choose to grow. Some celebrities that are known for raising backyard chickens include Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Miley Cyrus and Martha Stewart. Aside from making great pets and food, chickens are also considered to be hardworking gardeners. From their constant eating and digging of weeds, to their potassium- rich manure, raising chickens will be an excellent decision for your household.
Raising chickens is not all fun and games. First, you need to determine the total costs in providing a healthy environment for the chicken to grow and lay eggs in. You should also determine the best chicken for your backyard without losing perspective on your purpose of raising poultry livestock, whether it is for money or just plain fun. There are factors that you should consider in choosing the right breed, including climatic hardiness, egg and meat production, predator awareness, broodiness, foraging capability, ornamentability, and flightiness. You should also determine the right balance of hens and roosters in your property to get more eggs in the process.
Keeping your flock happy is an essential part of the process. There are articles that could help you regarding chicken behavior and anatomy. You can also get help in terms of choosing the right combs and wattles for your pets. Whether you are on a shoestring budget or not, getting started in raising chickens should be done carefully and with a conscience. There are local chicken laws that need to be followed, so tread properly when it comes to keeping property livestock.
Raising a livestock in your residential property might be an interesting prospect if you are into supplying eggs and chicks to small scale businesses in your city or town. However, you need to consider the competition in such a market. Aside from the pricing livestock owners should also be aware of the quality they provide to their buyers. Quality eggs and chicks are not myths. You will be able to produce them if you implement the proper ways of hatching eggs and raising chicks. By doing these, you can assure that your buyers will not consider anywhere else when it comes to their chicks and egg supplies. Selling the best will also be great for your business since you can adjust the pricing to get the value you deserve for your hard work on your home- scale poultry farm.
Hatching eggs could be done through incubation and candling. If you are a neophyte when it comes to this, it is best to read about incubation and candling articles to determine the right method for your business. There are homemade incubators and brooders that would work for small- scale hatching, so make sure to consider those before investing in store- bought options. Incubation problems are possible, but you can diagnose them before they ruin the majority of your egg production.
Hatching and raising chicks is also part of your responsibility in the poultry business. Make sure that eggs are incubated properly to avoid the risk of deformities and malposition in chicks. You should also determine if broodiness is good for the chicken breed you are growing. Another idea that will work is to brood ducklings and chicks together because they are similar in a lot of ways. You can always make use of an incubation cheat sheet and chart of fowl species to ensure that you keep the chicks healthy and happy within the coop.
Aside from maintaining their bedding, the growth and health of the chickens also rely on feeds. Each type of hen reacts to different kinds of feeds, so make sure to do your research about chicken feeding. Your knowledge will surely be useful if you have mixed varieties in your property, such as laying hens, non- layers, cockerels, broilers and mixed age flocks. You also need to know how much to feed and giving feeding treats to keep your poultry in top shape.
Home-scale poultry businesses certainly have its perks. You can earn a living from it without taking much of your effort, time and money. As perfect as it sounds, you cannot let go of the responsibility in terms of taking care of your livestock and maintaining their health and growth in the best possible way. In your mission to improve your livestock’s living conditions, you are faced with problems regarding pests, predators and even the threat of diseases. Being well- versed about these topics will not only keep your chickens healthy and safe but will also secure your business for the long- term. Also, nobody would want sick chickens in their backyard, especially if children are present. Taking care of chickens will also affect the surrounding environment and people involved in poultry management.
There is no environment that could ensure the safety of your chickens from predators and pests. Predators are likely to prowl at night or within the day, but they will surely get a piece of meat whether you are on guard or not. Some of them are raccoons, coyotes, eagles, hawks, weasels, snakes and even your own cats and dogs. As for pests, they will suck the blood of your chickens without your knowing. When these are common occurrences, you need to take the necessary steps in keeping your livestock safe, like improving your chicken coops, installing sensor lights to scare off night prowlers and even spraying pesticides to keep death at a minimum level.
Diseases are also a major contributor to the dwindling quality of chicken and egg production. Make sure that you are knowledgeable enough about quarantines and Biosecurity methods to limit the spread of the disease. You can also result to buying livestock medicines and vaccines to keep new and recurring diseases in control. For injuries and other emergencies, you need to contact a livestock expert to clear the issue and implement the best treatment available.
Considering Other Fowls for Business
Handling a home- scale poultry business will not only be great for the family’s finances but also allow each member to learn how to become responsible in taking care of animals. Whether they sell chicks and eggs or treat chickens as pets, a livestock in your backyard has a lot of benefits. Chickens are fairly the easiest to grow and make money from; however, there are also other fowl varieties that could be considered for your home- scale poultry farming. These include quail, geese, turkeys, ducks, pheasant, guinea fowl and peafowl. Each livestock is different when it comes to breeding, hatching eggs, raising and feeding. Choosing the best type for your backyard is crucial to help you stay in the poultry business longer without too many problems at hand.
Raising fowls are fairly easy if you are knowledgeable about their behavior and anatomy. While all of them can be raised in any backyard, there are factors that you need to consider before putting them there. These include predators, hygiene, housing, climate, nesting, and feeding. Some fowls are better off in a coop while others thrive well when roaming freely. Do your research about the best conditions for certain fowls and you will be rewarded with top quality eggs and newborns in no time.
All fowls are vulnerable to diseases and could experience deformities when hatched. Learn about the best breeding and hatching techniques to keep your livestock healthy, from the moment they are hatched up to the time they are ready to be sold. If you are growing them for meat, it is also recommended to provide the proper vaccines and treatments to keep them in top shape. While some fowls cannot be mixed with other types, there are conditions that will allow you to breed two or more in your backyard. An example of this is chickens and ducks thriving together.