The new Man on the farm, in one of A Little Chicken Secret stories, continues to surprise the animals. The Man’s most recent activity has the hens hoping that what he’s building is for them. The old Farmer never much cared about where the chickens roosted or laid their eggs or if a fox ran through and happened to snatch one. So the chickens were used to a good deal of freedom, but at the cost of constant vigilance against predators. This new Man had been doing things different so there was cause to hope that this might be a hen house. Would the hens finally have a home of their own? Read about it in the soon to be released first book in the Little Farm Secrets series – A Little Chicken Secret.
Meanwhile, I hope you have been inspired to get your own chickens! If so, you’ll have several things to consider in preparing a proper home for your hens. Before you get started, there are several questions that need answering. What kind of chickens will you get? How many? How much space can you devote to your flock? Will they be free range, housed or a combination of the two? What is your budget?
My word of advice is to determine how much space you have for chickens before you start your flock. Average sized birds need about 3-4 sq ft of coop space each – so 10 birds will need a 30-40 sq ft coop. If they are always enclosed, they need 10 sq ft a piece. So for 10 birds, you would need a 30 sq ft coop and a 70 sq ft run, for example.
Once you decide how much space you have for your birds, then you need to decide what type of coop you want. There are so many designs available on the internet, I encourage you to peruse and pick what works for you and your budget. If your birds will be fully free-range, I suggest you keep them in the coop for several days at the start. This will train them that this is home and where they should lay their eggs. Every once in a while, if I notice a drop in egg number, I have to lock up my hens for a couple days to re-train them.
If you provide a good environment for your chickens, they can pretty much take care of themselves and you will avoid most health problems. Like any other animal, chickens need clean water, adequate food, shelter and protection. Assess your environment and pick the best housing option to prevent most threats to your chickens. If you take care ahead of time to provide the best home for your hens, they will reward you will lots of good eggs for many years to come.