Dream Coops

OK, so you are interested in having some cheeky hens like us??

Well here you will find some tips,  kindly put together by the intelligent Lemony Splicket, on what actually makes a dream coop!

Lemony Splicket

Dream Coops Desire No. 1

  • How big?

Grande Mansion or Deluxe Apartment? Hens need a minimum of 1 square foot per bird of coop space. This is a guideline only and really the more space you can offer your little hennies the better. If your heart desires an intelligent cockerel like myself then please ensure there is adequate head room for your handsome fellow. Certain large breeds such as the grand Oprington and marvelous Jersey Giant need more space than the smaller bantam breeds so bare this in mind too.

Dream Coops Desire No. 2

  • Perch size?

Good nights sleep or bad? Hens need approx 40cm of perch space for a large hen and 30cm perch space for a bantam. Too much perch space and hens could get cold in winter. Too little perch space, hens could get hot and this could also result in bullying and feather pulling.

Dream Coops Desire No. 3

  • Perch Shape?

Comfy or Not? A perch with slightly rounded edges measuring 4 to 5cm wide is the ideal. This allows the hen to snuggle down for a good nights sleep. A perch with sharp edges is not good for toes to curl around and will not promote a good nights sleep for us  little ladies and gents.

Dream Coops Desire No.  4

  • Perch Height?

Too high or too low? Ideally perch height should be approximately 30cm. Heavy larger breeds such as Orpingtons will not roost very high. High perches can result in some birds hurting and damaging their legs which can in turn lead to more serious problems like Bumble foot  Ex battery hens need lower perches as they may suffer with weak legs. Sometimes, you may even find that ex battery hens prefer to sleep on the coop floor rather than roost on a perch. This is fine and not a probem! Bantams and smaller hens like myself and my lovely ladies will be quite happy on low perches too!

Dream Coops Desire No. 5

  • Nest Boxes? To lay or not to lay? 

    Delicious eggs for breakfast

    Delicious eggs for breakfast

Nest boxes should be private. Hens need privacy when laying their precious eggs so keeping the nest box in a darker and more secluded area within the coop will help this and prevent egg eating. Nest boxes should be lower than the perches  so the hens do not roost in them at night. This can still happen however, particularly with ex battery hens! Also not a good place is near the pop hole where it can get quite hectic with girlies pottering in and out of the hen house throughout the day! To encourage your ladies to use a nestbox, try placing some pot eggs in the nest or even golf balls! They will soon get the idea that this is the place to go!

Dream Coops Desire No. 6

  • Nest Boxes? Don’t cramp my style!

Allow 1 nest box to 4 hens approximately.  Nest boxes should measure approximately 12 x 12 x 12 inch.  We don’t want any squabbling now girls!!

Dream Coops Desire No. 7

  • Nest Boxes? Straw or Hay you say??

Certainly not hay!!! Hay can  harbor spores which is not a healthy environment for hens. Hay can get damp and smelly quick which is not nice for a hen to sit on and lay a delicious breakfast egg. Straw is better. Bliss bedding is also good, so is pine shavings. Whatever you use, nest box bedding should be checked and cleaned daily. We use cut down washing up bowls inside our nest boxes. This means we can take out the bowls and give them a thorough weekly clean before replacing back into the original nest box. Plastic washing up bowls are much quicker and easier to clean than a wooden nest box and the lice and mites can’t hide so easy in them as well! Using a scattering of fresh herbs such as Lavender and lemon balm in the nest box can help to deter insects and promote a calm and relaxed feeling!

Dream Coops Desire No. 8

  • Ventilation…Airy not Draughty

The coop should have good ventilation. Good air flow with ventilation by means of a mesh covered window or slats at the top of the coop will give your girls a good nights sleep and help keep them healthy. Poor ventilation can cause respiratory problems and so can draughty coops. Nothing worse than a chill wind blowing around you when you are trying to get some sleep! Brrrrr!

Dream Coops Desire No. 9

  • Weatherproof – All Snug and Cosy

Driving rain, harsh winds and wintry blizzards need to stay out the coop and not drip through any gaps. Look for coops with an apex roof or a roof which slopes from front to back channeling water away from the pop hole door. Roofs made from onduline are popular and so are felt but be warned…the dreaded red mite love felt roofing and an infestation can soon occur under the felting before you even realize! Then you really do have a big red mite problem!

Dream Coops Desire No. 10

  • Predator Proof – Safe and Sound

    Slabs as a base prevent rats and worst of all Mr Fox from digging into the run

    Slabs as a base prevent rats and worst of all Mr Fox from digging into the run

No matter if you choose a plastic or wooden coop for your ladies, it  should be strong and able to protect your chucks from any unwanted visitors. A good solid pop hole door which you can safely shut your hens in at night will prevent Mr Fox from finding his midnight feast. If your coop has an integrated run, then ensure the run is made from strong solid weld mesh and either site the coop and run on a solid base or ensure the run has an anti-dig skirt which stops predators from digging underneath. Here is our Katherine Hen House which we put on slabs and find this very easy to clean and maintain. See more in Goofy Chicken Runs.

 

Dream Coops Desire No. 11

  • Coop Clean Easy – How Clean Is Your Coop?

Is the coop easy for you to clean without breaking your back in the process? Look for easy clean coops with a base that is at a height you don’t have to kneel down to get to. Look for perches and nest boxes that are removable. Some coops have a washable mat or tray which you can take out, making that weekly clean much more thorough and less of a nightmare. Look for removable droppings boards too! This helps to catch the poops as your hennies roost at night and to stop any mess falling into the nest boxes!

 

"Bluey, have you seen my 'DOODLE' anywhere?"

Removable perches and nest boxes are great!

 

A Hen House which is easy to clean makes your life so much easier! Although you may not be able to stop inquisitive visitors whilst you clean out…

 

 

 

 

 

 

And don’t forget…

The happier we hens are…

The better we lay!

Happy Hens = Scrummy treats!

Happy Hens = Scrummy treat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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