Coops are night-time resting places for poultry, especially chickens. They simulate the security chickens would feel in the wild when nesting high in trees. Coops are usually completely enclosed, lockable 'houses'. Successful coops are a little bit sturdier than the willpower of the predators they must guard against, have nesting boxes and perches, provide for a moderated climate, and are usually regularly maintained by humans. The needs of the birds, intensity of predation, and nature of you climate determine the construction of the coop. A coop can be a distinct building with an adjacent yard, or it can be a diffuse provision of services within a more naturalized habitat with predator protection provided by a perimeter fence or not at all.

Inputs[edit | edit source]

  • Building materials - A one time investment of building materials is required.
  • Chicken feed
  • Water
  • Bedding

Outputs[edit | edit source]

  • Seed-free and manure-covered mulch
  • Dust
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • More chickens
  • Heat

Coop Components[edit | edit source]

  • Nesting boxes
  • Perch
  • Door(s)

Area and Dimensions[edit | edit source]

On-line resources suggest minimum of 1.5 to 4 square feet per bird in night quarters, or 10 square feet per bird if confined.

In closed quarters provide 8-10" of roost per bird, roosts should be 2" diameter with rounded edges.

4" of feeder space per bird

Egg boxes seem to be just about any nook big enough for a chicken to get into and feel safe enough to lay its eggs. (One foot (30cm) square or larger.) Provide one next for every 4-5 chickens. A relatively fine textured bedding is desirable (chopped straw?). Many arrangements can be made for accessing nest boxes from outside the coops, but that depends on your chickens actually using your nest boxes.

Sanitation[edit | edit source]

Living among their own feces causes parasites and disease. In closed quarters, the owner must periodically remove the manure. Mulch on the floor, periodically removed is the most common approach. A hardware cloth floor on a movable coop is another solution that allows for easy cleaning.

Climate Control[edit | edit source]

In hot weather climates, coops must be well ventilated. Chickens are sensitive to heat. In cold climates coops may need insulation or heating to prevent frost-damage to combs and wattles.

Possible Relationships[edit | edit source]

  • tree-based and shrub guilds can be used to shade a chicken habitat and provide food.
  • Litter from coops can be used as mulch or for making compost.
  • ponds can be used to moderate climate in hot areas.
  • chickens can be run in a chicken tractor in an annual garden to glean food-eating pests, and add manure.

Types of coops[edit | edit source]

  • Tractors - mobile coop and contained browsing space
  • Stationary coops

External Links[edit | edit source]

Coop Designs (comprehensive) at Backyard Chickens

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