Raising chickens can be a rewarding hobby, a fun family project, or even a lucrative business, but to live a long and happy life, your birds need to be safe. That is why choosing the right chicken coop – and ensuring it is providing adequate safety for all your chickens – is so important. To help, here are the basics of what a coop is and why it’s vital in protecting the health and safety of your chickens.
What is a Chicken Coop?
A chicken coop is a structure in which your female chickens, known as hens, will live, lay their eggs and spend most of their time. It is also where they will rest during the evening and night hours– safely protected from predators. Coops can be built or purchased from a store, and are usually made of wood and wire, but just about any sturdy material can be incorporated into the coop’s design. Coops can also be adapted from backyard sheds or similar small structures.
Most chicken coops include a nesting box, where hens will lay their eggs; and a roosting bar, which is usually one or more long pieces of elevated lumber, as chickens instinctively seek higher ground when they sleep to keep them safe from predators.
If you have the space, you can also provide additional room for the chickens called a run. A run is a spacious, but enclosed area for your chickens to roam throughout the day. Then, at dusk, chickens re-enter their coop, where they should be locked in for the night.
Why You Need a Coop
It is very important to understand that a chicken coop is not really about containing your chickens as much as it’s about keeping potential threats away from your chickens and their eggs – namely predators. This includes raccoons, coyotes, hawks and generally anything that may be a threat to your chickens. Even a family pet, such as a cat or a dog, can be a predator to your chickens.
Chickens instinctively leave the coop with the morning light and come back in when the sun begins to set. The key is to make sure the door is shutting behind them.
Chickens also use their coops to seek shelter from the weather. Chickens, much like humans, prefer to be comfortable. They want shade when they’re hot, warmth when they’re cold and they don’t like to be outside when it’s raining or snowing. Their coop is what keeps them comfortable and safe.
Securing the Coop
Predators tend to be most active at dusk and throughout the night. It’s important that your chicken coop is completely secure. This includes the coop’s frame, walls, screens and doors, as well as the perimeter and, when necessary, the areas above and below the coop and run. The coop door should securely lock. Any windows should be covered with screen or wiring that would keep a predator’s limbs or head out. Also, areas above and below the coop and run can be protected by netting, wire or mesh.
One of the most important aspects of keeping the coop secure is the ensuring that the door closes and locks properly – and at the right time. Coop Controls offers a convenient and easy-to-install automatic door opening/closing solution that keeps predators out and keeps your chickens safe – automatically. Whether you are away, busy or just don’t want to go out in bad weather, an automatic door solution from Coop Controls will ensure that the coop door closes behind your birds and that they are safe for the night (and that they are let back out in the morning).
Coop Controls’ automated coop doors include a built-in, adjustable photosensor to measure the sunlight and automatically open the coop door at dawn and close the coop door at dusk. Door opener kits are available in two configurations, operating by a battery that can be charged with electricity or optional solar panel. To learn more about Coop Controls Door Opener Kits and see pricing information, visit our product page.
Raising and protecting chickens has never been easier.