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winter coopA lot of chicken coop owners are worried about the feasibility of rearing chickens over the cold winter seasons. This could potentially be a problem because chickens will only strive well and lay their eggs if there’s an adequate level of warmth and sunlight. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to overcome these problems. The first would be to use an artificial form of lighting within the coop itself so that it would feel as if the sun is still out. Your chickens will not be able to tell the difference so don’t you be concerned about that!

The most common types of lights used would be fluorescent types, but you must ensure that they aren’t too bright to the point that they’re glaring. Otherwise, your chickens might just stay away from them. Also, the color of the light is important. It must look like the color of sunrays, which are ideally a mix of light yellow and orange, and perhaps with a tinge of red too. With these, your chickens should feel right at home and the egg production can continue even during the coldest of winter. This brings us to another point that I’d like to make: the warmth.

artificial lighting in the coopAlthough chickens have a higher resistance or tolerance to cold compared to us human beings thanks to their thick feathers, they would still require some form of artificial warmth to retain their body temperature. Just like how we need fire or a heater to keep our house warm to live comfortably in, chickens will require this too. A good way to keep your chickens warm will be to install a heater within the coop itself or to rely on the heat emanated from the lights in the coop. If you opt for the latter, you may wish to purchase those that are specifically made to do this. Not all lights will give off sufficient heat so you’ll want to test them out for yourself before you install them in your chicken coop. Also, depending on how many chickens you are keeping inside your coop, the amount of heating equipment or lighting will vary. Since chickens themselves can share the heat produced from each of their bodies, the bigger and more packed the coop is, the lesser amount of heating units you’ll need to keep them comfortable.

chickens huddling together for warmthIf you wish to save up on heating equipment, you could also just stuff more straw into the nesting or roosting area. In fact, you could simply fill up the corners or scatter them all over the coop since they can function as an insulating material. This will prevent the heat that has been accumulated during the daytime from escaping into the night as it gets colder. Plus, the warmth from the chickens themselves can be retained much more effectively too, as long as they stay on top of the straw. Since these materials are essentially cost-free, you should be generous with these.

As for the summer season, chickens usually do not have problems with the heat, regardless of how hot it might get. It is the cold that they are more afraid of. Just make sure that your chickens are always kept warm and there will be little to no variances in your egg production rate over the spring or winter seasons.

typical chicken coop

Small Coops

This is easily the most typical type of chicken coop that beginners might want to start out with. The design is simple but it has everything that you’ll possibly need. A chicken coop of this size is usually suitable for rearing 2-4 chickens however. You have 2 nesting areas here, a slide out tray for cleaning the litter, an access ramp from the ground into the coop, wire mesh to guard against predators, an asphalt roof that’s waterproof and 2 access doors for cleaning purposes. There are quite a few of these real life examples of the same design being used. Why the popularity? Because it’s simple, it’s effective and it works.

typical coop 2The chickens here are a getting a little too big though. To account for this, you might want to start off with a coop that’s slightly bigger in size compared to this. All you have to do is to add a few extra panels of wood and perhaps an additional nail or two. It really doesn’t cost much.

Typically, a coop of this size can easily fit 2-4 chickens. The lid that can be opened at the left side will allow you to collect the eggs from the nesting area.

crowded coopHere’s another example. As you can see, it’s getting a little crowded here for the chickens and this can be bad for their health. You may want to start off with a coop that’s bigger if you have the space so that you don’t have to worry about issues like that if you want to rear more chickens in the future.

It simply costs a little extra and you can save up a lot of time and effort on any potential future expansion.

huge coopsLarger Coops For Business

If you wish to turn this into a business, you could also build a coop that’s much larger in size and capacity, but that’s probably for later.

 

Rearing Chickens As A Fun Hobby

mini sized coopIf you want to get your kid involved in a useful and fun hobby, you could also paint up the chicken coop and turn it into a mini one. This could turn into a highly profitable hobby once you have learnt how to create the optimum environment for your chickens to lay eggs in a consistent manner.

Additionally, if you enjoy the company of animals, instead of pet dogs or cats, you could have pet chickens, which could make you some money from selling off their eggs.
medium sized coopThis medium-sized chicken coop is more organized compared to the above and you can attempt to build one of this size once you’re more experienced in this. There are quite a few rows of nesting areas and the eggs can be easily collected by just lifting off the lid and retrieving them, as shown on the left picture.

nesting boxes

For those who don’t mind spending a little extra effort on their coops, you could make the nesting areas more snuggly as shown here. The more care and attention you give to your chickens, the healthier they will be and when that happens, you’ll find that they’ll start to lay eggs a lot more often as well.

Most chickens coops have a squarish or rectangular shaped form because it’s simpler to build. These typical coops can still look great if you give it a paint job or you have a great design but why stop there? I recently came across several chicken coops that are uniquely shaped and designed and I thought I’d share them with you guys.

Triangular Shaped Coop

triangular shaped coop

I really like how this coop looks despite the obvious difficulty in building it. This will definitely require a higher level of woodworking expertise to build up due to the angles at the edges and the sides of the coop. The design itself isn’t too complicated but the question remains: How practical is this?

There’s an access there at the side of the roof, which I suppose is purposed for the collection of the eggs. The size of this coop seems rather small though and it can probably fit 3 chickens comfortably at the most. On the whole, it looks fun and unique. It’ll definitely look better when placed in your backyard than a typical square shaped coop because it looks a lot like a camp or a tent.

house shaped coopHouse-shaped Coop

This coop belongs to one of my coop buddies (we started out building coops at the same time as a hobby) and I have to say, I’m absolutely impressed by it. It’s definitely one of the better looking coops out there. The best part is, it looks exactly like a house! Well, more like a playhouse for kids but it works just as well as you can see from the picture.

I can see at least 3 nesting areas, where the lid has been lifted up, a few windows for ventilation and a huge access door for cleaning up or managing the interior portion of this coop. It certainly doesn’t look out of place at all and you could probably confidently place this on your front yard too. When your neighbors find out that it’s actually a chicken coop rather than a playhouse, they’ll probably want to start building one as well!

unique coopThe Shire Inspired Coop

This is by far my favorite. How awesome will it be to have this little hobbit hole that looks like it came right out of the Lord of the Rings movie right smack in your yard? Very, indeed. If I were a chicken, I’d imagine myself to be pretty happy staying in one of these.

As you can see, chicken coops of various sizes, designs and shapes can be had. The only limit here is your imagination. And perhaps your skills in woodworking as well but those can be built upon. You no longer have to be concerned that your coop will make your yard look like a cheap farm when you can have unique and exciting coops like these. These designs are probably custom made by individuals but I’m sure if you look hard enough, you can probably dig up a few great looking coop plans too. Personally, I’ll be going after my buddy’s coop plans. I’m sure he’s got it stored somewhere..