If you are considering keeping chickens at home then you’re well on the way to making the best decision you’ve ever made. There’s so many reasons to keep chickens it’s difficult to list them all. Primarily though, kids love chickens and they will produce for you a wonderful product every day, eggs.
But if you’re planning to get some chooks you need to consider how will house them. A chicken coop, or what is sometimes called a henhouse or chicken house, is where you house your chicken.
It doesn’t matter if you buy your chicken coop or build a chicken coop yourself. It’s quite cheap and not difficult to build a henhouse, it’s really not a lot more than a garden shed with some modifications.
There’s some things you must have in a good chicken coop. Nesting boxes are essential because this is where the chickens lay their eggs and, if you allow them to build up, will sit on them. Nesting boxes should be not much larger than the size of a chicken, (if they’re too big you’ll find 2 chooks fighting for occupancy at the same time).
And it’s also important that they be relatively dark, as chickens like to nest in dark places, and if they aren’t dark they will choose somewhere darker, like the corner of the chicken coop.
You will also need perches. These provide somewhere for the chooks to sleep, as they sleep standing up and off the ground. A simple bar, say 50 by 75 millimetres, a foot or 2 off the floor of the coop, with around 200 millimetres of space for each chook, and you’re good to go.
Of course they will need food and water, which you can provide either inside the hen house, or outside, as long as it is sheltered.
If you provide food and water in the chicken coop you will need to make sure that it is not underneath the perch or the chicken droppings will foul the food.
Once you’ve made the decision to keep chickens you are also committed to some regular work, namely cleaning the chicken coop. It will need a soft material on the floor of the coop, I generally use sawdust. It soaks up the droppings well but needs to be cleaned out from time to time. Put it on the garden as it makes wonderful fertiliser.
Collecting eggs every day is the best part of keeping chickens, and your own free range eggs always taste better than the supermarket variety. If you have too many just ask a few neighbours, there will always be some who will buy them from you.
So you can see there are good reasons for keeping chickens. As well as being wonderful companions for the children they also provide something useful for your fridge.
And chickens certainly are a fine companion for children, ours absolutely love their chickens.
But remember, spend some time researching about keeping chickens, put some thought into the type of chicken coop that you will buy or build, where you will place it and how you will clean it and your forethought will be well rewarded.