Welcome to Part 3 of our discussion on building chicken coops! If you're joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the previous articles:
Today, we're gonna be talking about:
Hopefully you already know how big to build your coop. And you should also have a nice location picked out. But what about the orientation? Where are you gonna put the door(s)? The nest boxes? The windows? (If any). Which direction will it all be facing? You might not have given it much thought, but orientation makes a big difference!
Before we begin though, let's take a step back for a moment.
Try and visualize yourself doing the daily chores. Walk through each step, one by one. (Are you visualizing?) Now that you have a clear picture in your mind and you know exactly how chore time is gonna go down each day, visualize it again. And again. And AGAIN!
Because, guess what? You'll be going through that routine every single day. And the reason I ask you to visualize it now is so that you can (hopefully) streamline the process, making it easier on yourself before the coop is even built.
You should ask yourself questions like:
Where am I gonna keep the chicken feed?
Where will I go to fill up the water?
When I clean out the coop, where am I gonna dispose of the refuse?
And while you're at it, give some thought to your local environment. If you have strong prevailing winds in your area, you probably don't want it blowing directly into your chicken coop. Those bitter winter gales can wreak havoc on your chickens. Plus I know from personal experience just how miserable it can be (any time of year) to reach into a nest box right when a big old gust of wind comes up — blowing loose straw and chicken dust (i.e. pulverized excrement) out at you. It gets in your eyes. It gets in your mouth. It gets everywhere!
And you know, while we're talking about environmental factors, let's not forget to consider the sun! Once I wrote about how egg production tends to drop pretty drastically during the cold winter months due, in part, to the shorter days. According to an article published by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a hen needs approximately fourteen hours of daylight to lay an egg. It seems logical, therefore, that the more sunlight you have entering the coop during the winter, the better.
Our chicken coop has a big south-facing window, which is perfect for our location in the northern hemisphere. The ladies have sunlight streaming into the coop almost all day long in the winter, and yet it actually stays pretty shaded during the hot, dry summer.
There's a lot to consider when it comes to positioning the chicken coop, but believe you me, a little planning goes a long way!
About the Author: Nathan and his family work and play and live on a 1.17 acre microfarm (a.k.a. "The One Acre Lott"), in a frigid Rocky Mountain valley, at the end of a long dirt road. He has been raising chickens for years, grows nearly all of his family's meat and produce, and loves every minute of it! For more of his exciting adventures, check out his personal website, www.oneacrelott.com.