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Setting Up a Chicken Coop

Have you recently decided to start keeping chickens? Backyard flocks are becoming more and more popular, even in suburban areas. One thing that is very important is making sure that your feathered buddies have a safe, suitable coop. A Chattanooga, TN vet offers advice on setting up a chicken coop in this article.

Size

There are a few different factors that will determine how large your coop needs to be. You’ll need to consider the number of birds you plan to get, the size of your chickens, and whether you plan to let them roam freely or stay in the coop. Generally, you’ll should plan for about 4 square feet per bird.

Predators

It may surprise you how many wild animals will try to get to your chickens. Hawks, wild dogs, foxes, raccoons, rats, and other predators will be very, very interested in your coop. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure that the coop is secure. Surround the coop with wire, mesh, or chain-link fencing. You’ll want to bury about a foot and a half of the fence in the ground, so nothing can dig under it.

Air Flow

Proper airflow is very important. If the air in the coop is stagnant, your feathered pals could develop respiratory issues. That said, you do want to offer some protection from the wind.

Nesting Boxes

On average, you should plan on having one nesting box for every 4 birds. This should be in a dark corner of the coop, and raised off the ground.

Roosting Poles

Roosting is a natural behavior for chickens. In fact, they usually roost when they are sleeping. You’ll need to provide adequate roosts for your birds. You may want to put a plastic tray beneath these poles to collect droppings.

Chicks

It’s worth noting that chicks have different housing and feeding requires than adults. They need heat lamps, and have different care needs as far as food and water. Ask your vet for more information.

Feeder/Waterer

Purchase a quality poultry drinking bowl. You may also want to get a feeder, though you can of course scatter your bird’s food on the ground. There are some great DIY options for making these online! Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice.

Please reach out to us, your Chattanooga, TN vet clinic, with any questions about caring for your chickens. We’re here to help!

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