Chicken Coop at the Allotment

Chicken Coop at the Allotment

A sturdy and secure chicken coop is essential when keeping chickens on your allotment. It is important that it is well ventilated, yet secure to keep predators out.

In the UK, it is not essential to insulate the coop for warmth. Chickens are very resilient to the cold and can retain heat well. They should generally be able to cope with low temperatures unless:

1. Very Northern, exposed areas

2. Very windy and open sites

3. Coops that are not made from wood

4. Newly adopted ex battery hens

5. Small Bantams or Frizzles that are more vulnerable to cold temperatures

Chickens and hens will struggle more with heat than with cold. Insulation can interfere with ventilation and increase the risk of airborne diseases from ammonia, water vapour and gases building up. Added artificial lighting can disrupt their resting patterns. Lighting and heating can also cause fires. Fresh air needs to circulate and it is essential that the coop is kept dry and draught-free.

Dampness or wet conditions will be more of an issue if the coop is insulated due to condensation.

You can purchase chicken coops or build one yourself and here are some factors to consider.

Allow adequate space for the number of chickens you have. For average breeds of chickens, 4 square feet is recommended; so that would be 24 square feet for 6 chickens. They should have the same amount of space outdoors for their run.

You can have a permanent chicken coop or a portable chicken coop - It may be worth having a transferrable coop if weather conditions can be severe where you are located so that you can provide more shelter.

Chickens like to feel secure and comfortable when laying their eggs. Snug nesting boxes can be fitted, add straw, wood shavings or similar for a cosy nest. One nesting box should be sufficient for 3-4 chickens.

Chickens like to perch before nesting too. You can provide a perch for them to roost, as well as chicken toys! Roosting bars gives chickens a place to perch alike their natural tendencies to perch on tree branches. It also helps to keep the coop and nesting boxes cleaner and reduce bacteria and parasites. The elevated roosting perches can also provide the chickens with more space.

Chicken feed and water should be kept in their outdoor run space to avoid mess, dampness, fungi, mould and bacteria. Some of these toxins can be fatal for chickens. The food will also attract rats and vermin. Outdoors is best for chickens to forage their food and supplies should be kept covered to prevent other birds from helping themselves.

Chicken coops can be raised and fitted with a ramp and their outdoor run should be secure; within a large caged area.




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