So you’ve made the jump and decided to get chickens? Congratulations! Chickens are a fantastic addition to any homestead. Not only do they provide delicious meat and eggs for the family, but they’re an absolute riot and will help control things like bugs as well. There are tons of benefits of having chickens, in fact.
However, if you’ve never had chickens before, then you’re in the right place! Whenever you create your first chicken coop, there are a handful of mistake that virtually everyone makes. But you don’t have to! With a little bit of research and smarts, you can avoid some of these newbie problems (and instead make all of your own problems!).
Here’s our list of five mistakes that most people make with their first chicken coop:
1. Making it too small
When you first get chickens, it’s tempting to simply look online and do some basic math to decide exactly how big you need your coop to be. But, whatever you think, it’s probably not big enough. Not only do most people find that they really need (and want!) more chickens than they initially thought, but chickens are healthier when they’re not crammed in a tiny little coop like sardines.
Do yourself a favor and make it a little bigger than you think you’ll need. Trust me, your girls will thank you.
2. Not making it easy to clean
You’re going to spend a lot of time cleaning your chicken coop, so you might as well have a design that’s conducive to that, right? Most new bird owners don’t really think much about how easy or difficult it is to muck out the coop, but believe me, after the first time you’ll find yourself wishing you’d taken that into account. Make sure that there is an easy way to get inside to clean when you’re looking at your first coop designs.
3. Not preparing for your climate
Sure, some of the coops you see online are absolutely adorable, but they won’t all work in every climate. If you live somewhere where it’s cold, then you’ll need to make sure that the coop has enough insulation to keep your birds warm in the cold months. If you live somewhere warm, then ventilation is probably your first concern. Think about the needs of your girls over how the coop looks.
4. Underestimating local predators
Chickens are tasty, and I can guarantee that no matter where you live, you’re not the only species who thinks so. Before getting your first chickens or building your first coop, you’ll want to figure out what kinds of predators your area has and then take precautions when building the coop. After all, there’s no sense in going to all the trouble if you can’t protect your flock.
5. Not preventing pests
Where you have chickens, there are going to be pests—much like predators, it’s sort of a fact of owning chickens. However, there are things you can do to minimize the amount of mice and roaches that take up residence around your coop. One of the easiest is to make sure that the coop is clean (see above) and to use a secure feeder. But either way, you’ll want to take pests into account when designing your first coop.