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IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE BEST CHICKEN COOPS and not sure which one to choose, we have done some research
Here are the MOST POPULAR chicken coops from their respective online retailers.
So whether you're looking for a large coop or small, an expensive coop or inexpensive coop, a do it yourself kit or ready made coop...
The range is mostly cost effective, good quality chicken coops. They range in sizes so they will work no matter how many chickens you have in your flock
Over 700 sold!!
This hutch is ideal for a variety of animals. Your chickens will greatly appreciate the ramp access.
The raised nesting area prevents moisture and dampness. Waterproof top means that regardless of the weather outside, your chickens stay nice and dry inside.
Easy access nesting box means that you can easily collect eggs daily. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$ out of $$$$$$
You can readily house six to 10 chickens in this coop. With 2 easy to access doors that allow your pets to come and go you're sure to appreciate the quality construction.
The rear zinc pull out tray is ideal for ease of cleaning and you'll love the fact that it's already waterproofed. Excellent ventilation means that your chicks will have plenty of air circulation to keep them healthy.
Easy side access nesting boxes are easy to gather eggs from and clean. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$ out of $$$$$$
This convenient and easy to use backyard nesting box hen house is an ideal addition to any yard. It looks aesthetically pleasing and is an excellent choice for a chicken coop.
With a sizable living area and dual sectioned nesting box your chickens will have plenty of room to roam around the pen and safely lay their eggs. Excellent air circulation means that your chickens will have plenty of fresh air and ventilation to prevent respiratory issues. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$ out of $$$$$$
This best selling two story chicken coop comes complete with an outdoor run and gives your flock plenty of room to spread their wings and fly.
You'll appreciate the ease of cleaning and solid wood construction that mean that it will weather the elements. Sturdy close meshed metal grid ensure that no predators will invade your chicken coop.
Removable divider in the nesting box means that you can section it into addition nesting space. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$ out of $$$$$$
This attractive chicken coop offers a stilted nesting box with an outdoor enclosure to allow safe and comfortable roaming of your chickens. It's easy to clean with the pull out tray and the door access is easy to use as well.
The non toxic and waterproof asphalt roof keep the nesting box area nice and warm for the egg laying process. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$ out of $$$$$$
This reasonably priced two story chicken coop/hutch boasts a small outdoor run for your chickens to get some exercise. The run is easy to open and close so you can keep your chickens safe at night.
Non slip ramp assures your chickens of steady footing. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $ out of $$$$$$
This spacious cage offers your chickens plenty of room to wander and get some exercise. The raised housing area keeps them safe from the predators.
Solid wood construction of fir ensure that this coop will last a long time. If you're tired of cleaning chicken coops, this one comes with an easy to remove tray that will help keep the area neat and tidy without a whole lot of effort on your part.
It also helps to make egg collecting a bit easier. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$ out of $$$$$$
This is a heavy duty galvanized chicken coop that will keep out the predators while housing your chickens. Easy hinged roof access means that you can readily get to the nesting area and your chickens whenever you need to.
The sliding window can be blocked off during the colder months to keep chickens warmer and protect them from the elements. Handy two section nesting box can be left open for more air circulation or you can close it for privacy. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$$ out of $$$$$$
With a 12 foot run your chickens will get plenty of exercise. You can also easily detach the run so that it can be used separately if desired.
Easy to move around the yard and you can remove the back panel so that cleaning is a breeze. A wire mesh roof on the run ensure that your chickens are safe regardless of predators.
Lovely tongue and groove construction lend an air of sophistication to your coop. Two nesting boxes allow for plenty of room for up to 15 chickens.
With a total of 6 compartments the chickens won't be fighting over the nesting boxes. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$
This Precision Pet Farm House coop is the ideal choice for small operations. You can rest assured that your chickens are safe from predators and with an easy to pull out pan for cleaning and 3 nesting boxes you're sure to have plenty of room for your chickens to run and enjoy.
Weather resistant coop ensures that you won't have to worry about it disintegrating after a few winters. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$$ out of $$$$$$
Solidly built from solid fir, this is ideal for up to 4 chickens. Clever roof design offers both shade and shelter while the galvanized mesh offers plenty of security from predators.
Nesting box is easy to access at waist high. Perfect for the smaller sized operation. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$ out of $$$$$$
Your chickens deserve the best. Why not give them Victorian elegance.
You can house up to 4 chickens with a unique roof that offers plenty of shade and shelter at the same time. With a galvanized mesh you won't have to worry about rusting in the elements.
Plenty of room to run and forage in this unique coop. The waist high nesting boxes make it easy to clean them and gather the eggs. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$$ out of $$$$$$
This ideal chicken coop is perfect regardless of the weather. It's easy to relocate around your yard and predator proof.
If you want to have a dozen chickens, this is the one for you. You'll find that there is plenty of room for all of them to forage and nest. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Ideal for the small chicken farm operation. It's easy to assemble and you can house from six to eight chickens depending upon breed size.
This is perfect to attach to another coop for more space to forage. Heavy duty wire ensures that you won't have to worry about repairs or preadators. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$ out of $$$$$$
You'll appreciate how easy it is to use this coop once you have it all assembled. You'll have plenty of room for your hens and eggs.
With a walk in design you can easily walk into the pen and gather the eggs or clean your nesting boxes. Ideal for someone who can't bend down easily to gather eggs or clean the nesting boxes. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$
The planter in this coop is great for adding a unique focal point to your yard. You can plant herbs or flowers in the top section of this and gather eggs in the opposite section.
Very space efficient and clever. Includes 25 square feet of forage space.
Hand made and they assemble and place it for you so you don't have to lift a finger. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$
This castle is fit for royalty. Very spacious and with an upstairs housing you don' t have to worry about your chicks getting wet feet.
Ideal use of space and design. Excellent ventilation ensure that your chicks won't come down with any respiratory issues.
It's easy to move this coop around since it's made from lightweight aluminum. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$
This unique coop is ideal as a stand alone pen. You can move it around the yard or garden easily and attach a nesting box or hutch to it as desired.
Perfect as the ideal home for your chickens. It sports a wire mesh top to help protect it from predators. If you'd like more info, you can find it here.
Price $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$
By and far the most popular chicken coop. It sports multiple nesting boxes and a large spacious interior with plenty of room for your hens.
You can easily attach wheels to this unit for mobility. It's easy to get in to collect the eggs and clean the nesting boxes.
Just lift the lid of the nesting boxes and you can gather them efficiently.
Price $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$
Now that you know which coops work best for your specific situation, you're ready to begin shopping for your coop. Remember, consider your coop location, your flock size and whether or not you want to have a ready made coop or a coop that you can put together and modify.
Your chickens will be delighted no matter which way you go, but to make things easier on you, you will want to consider the various options and the price ranges. Then when your friends ask you how you found the perfect chicken coop, you can share this article with them.
EGG INCUBATORS HAVE MANY BENEFITS including the ability to involve a hobbyist or chicken farmer in the hatching process from start to finish.
Whether you're new at hatching eggs or you've been doing it for years, you're sure to learn something new about egg hatching when you look over these incubator reviews.
Whether you're concerned about small spaces or you want a top of the line operation, you're sure to find the right incubator for the job here.
If you've always wanted to be more involved in the process of hatching your own eggs, this is your opportunity to get started.
High Quality And Convenience All In One
Ideal for the small spaces, this mini egg incubator will hold 7 eggs and allow you to see all 7 of them at one time. High quality ensures that your eggs will be given tender loving care from the moment you place them in the incubator.
With a fully automated egg turner you can rest assured that your little fluff balls are going to be in optimum health when they hatch. Hands on without having to touch your eggs.
The micro controller allows you to set the temperature and not stress about it. You'll appreciate being able to watch your eggs as they are turned and as they hatch.
The Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator is a high quality incubator that is ideal for small spaces.
Hatch A Full Flock Of 41 Eggs And Automatic Egg Turner
Hatch your entire flock all at once with an automatic egg turner, you can rest assured that your eggs will be turned every four hours which means there is no reason to be concerned and worry that you forgot to turn them in a timely fashion. Ideal for the busy person who wants to be involved in hatching eggs, but has a busy schedule.
The fan pulls the air in and helps to circulate it in between your eggs to help maintain the air temperature. It also helps to improve the hatch rate. This egg incubator saves both time and money since you don't have to turn the eggs manually and can hatch up to 41 eggs at a time.
Temperature notification light will flash if the temperature falls below 97 Fahrenheit or above 103 Fahrenheit. Humidity is easy to monitor thanks to a display.
This is ideal for the person who is a serious hobbyist and wants to hatch a large number of eggs at one time without having to watch the eggs constantly.
Very Reasonably Priced And Holds 96 Eggs
Ideal for someone who wants to hatch more than chicken eggs. It can hatch nearly any type of egg including turkey, duck and goose. Ideal for the large production egg farmer who wants to hatch more than just chicken eggs for the farm.
Easy to read LED display will show current temperature as well as the humidity level. It will also give a tentative hatch date which can be ideal for anyone who is trying to pre plan.
Automatic egg tuner turns eggs every two hours to keep them evenly warm. Perfect for the busy person who may not be home to turn the eggs but still wants to have a hands on experience.
Easy to set up and get it started.
Excellent for the person who wants to have a lot of eggs hatched at one time without having to watch the incubator constantly thanks to the egg turner.
Automatic Egg Turning And Holds 2 Dozen Chicken Eggs
The Set and Forget Solution
Too busy to turn your eggs regularly? Then this is the ideal egg incubator for your needs. The brinsea automatic egg incubator is as hands off as it gets.
If you're seeking a moderate sized solution, you can hatch up to 2 dozen chicken eggs at one time with this egg incubator. You can also hatch other types of eggs however, keep in mind that the amount will be dependent upon the size of the eggs.
Not only does it basically hatch the eggs itself, it is very easy to clean and the air circulation is fan assisted. The Brinsea Automatic Egg incubator (includes egg turner) is ideal for those who are just starting and want some experienced help, or if your just lead a busy life.
Overall this is a great egg incubator with many 5 star reviews, if you are willing to pay for it.
Excellent Viewing Capability At A Reasonable Price
Lightweight and made out of polystyrene foam, this is an ideal portable egg incubator for anyone who wants to be able to move the incubator around frequently. It offers plenty of viewing capability to watch your eggs during the entire hatching process.
The built in hygrometer measures the internal temperature as well as the humidity levels so you don't have to stress about them.
Ideal for the person who wants to have something lightweight that works well and is easy to store when not in use.
Red light indicates that the heater is on and operational so you can rest assured that your eggs are getting the warmth that they need to hatch out properly.
This unit is ideal for those who want a lot of eggs and are willing to take a step down from the fancier models and do more of the work themselves while still using an incubator, if you're more of a hands on person, this is the incubator for you.
Ideal For Homeschoolers and Classrooms As Well As The Hobbyist
Perfect for the person who wants to see the entire hatching process from start to finish as the window gives a full view of the eggs. This is an ideal hands on incubator. You'll turn your eggs manually and if you've got the time this is a great way to learn about your egg hatching process.
With an easy to read LED digital temperature you'll be able to see the full display and it has an alarm system should the temperature drop or raise out of the proper settings.
Built in fan keeps the air in full circulation which means that your eggs are getting plenty of air circulation. Easy to maintain and set up as the set includes the manual and power plugs all in one easy to use kit.
Portable and very easy to set up this is perfect for a small family, beginner or classroom.
Ideal for the beginner or someone who only wants to hatch a few eggs at a time.
Eggceptional Deal For A Reasonable Price
Perfect for the person who wants to incubate a lot of eggs at a time. Automatic egg turner ensures that the eggs are turned properly at proper intervals so that you don't have to guess how often the eggs need to be turned.
A fan helps to stabilize and maintain the temperature which helps to improve the hatch rate. A built in hygrometer helps to maintain the humidity level as well as maintain the internal temperature.
Easy to set up and get started with this unit simply unpack the kit and set it up in moments. Perfect for someone who wants to be hands on and involved in egg hatching as a hobby or small business.
Ideal for the more serious hobbyist or person who wants to hatch a lot of eggs at a time.
Whether you're looking for a small set up, a new hobby or a more serious egg hatching incubator, one of these will certainly do the trick.
Thanks for reading our guide to selecting the best incubator for chicken eggs. I hope that we've answered all of your questions about which egg incubator is right for you and your specific needs.
Want to start a conversation about the best chicken egg incubators? Then hit the share button below to share this with your friends and family
Do your ladies require some privacy?
Chicken nesting boxes help encourage your hens to lay eggs in a clean location.
They are a great way to offer both privacy and peace for the chicken, and are a popular addition on any chicken coop.
A good nesting box ensures that the eggs are in a clean environment. This means that you won't have to worry about them laying their eggs all over the pen or worse, in chicken poop.
A good nesting box will have room for the hen to sit comfortably while she lays her eggs.
It should be a decent size that allows for room to sit comfortably but not too large. If it is too big, the hens wont like it becuase there is no feeling of security or privacy for her
Good nesting boxes are also made of durable and easy to clean material. Often several hens will use the same nesting box, so they will get used a lot and can get quite dirty
There isn't necessarily one material (like plastic or wood) that is better than others for your boxes. You can re-purpose materials or you can buy them ready or you can create your own out of reclaimed wood, plastic materials or even milk crates.
Some easy to make alternatives use buckets or baskets to create nesting boxes
NOTE - Scroll down for more information on building your own nesting box
|Roll Out Nesting Box With Curtains and Removable Nesting Pad for Chickens||Olba||N/A||$$$$$||N/A|
|Rugged Ranch Products XLDUPLEX Nesting Box for Chicken||Rugged Ranch||5||$$$$||Plywood|
|HARRIS FARMS 1254 2-Hole Nesting Box||HARRIS FARMS||4.8||$$$$||Rust Resistant Galvanized Steel|
|Dragon Poultry Rollaway Nest Box Insert Chicken Coop Poultry Hen House Roll A.||Dragon Poultry||N/A||$$$||Plastic|
|Miller Manufacturing 163620 Single Chicken Nesting Box for Birds||Miller||4.7||$$$||High Density Polyethylene|
Most experts on chickens suggest one nest per four hens. Still other experts will stretch it out to five hens per nesting box.
Basically, it will depend upon how many chickens you have and how much room you have to work with.
If your chickens get along well and will allow one chicken nesting box per five chickens you can work from there.
Otherwise, stick to one nesting box per three or four hens. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect number of nesting boxes for your ladies.
Chickens want to be able to sit comfortably in the nesting box with just enough room to turn around.
If they have too much room they won't use it and if there isn't enough room they won't use it. The standard size is 12x12x12 inches (30cm).
Chickens like being treated well. If you keep this in mind your chickens will treat you well
It's best to use soft bedding in your nesting box that will allow the chicken to create a nest in it for laying the egg
You don't want to use something like shredded paper that absorbs water as it will stick to the bloom on the egg when it is first laid.
This will then require the egg to be washed which will remove the bloom. (The bloom is a clear coating that protects the egg from bacteria.)
A good way to get more eggs is to give your chickens a bit of privacy in the nesting box. You can do this by creating a curtain or a doorway that allows the chicken to enter the nesting box while protecting her privacy.
Chickens much prefer privacy when laying eggs. It's simple to create and will likely mean you get more eggs
The price is going to be dependent upon whether you buy your nesting boxes ready made or create them yourself from materials that you already have on hand.
On the cheaper side, with a bit of creativity and some time you can build your own nesting box for very little money (sometimes even free).
You can pick up a nesting box for less than $20
On the other end of the scale, the higher quality nesting boxes retail for under $100
Nesting boxes can be very basic and cheap or they can be relatively elaborate and expensive
It will be dependent upon your budget, what you decide to make your nesting boxes from and if you're re purposing other items for your nesting boxes.
The best nesting boxes are those that can easily be cleaned and sanitized. Metals, plastics and the like are much easier to clean than wood or other materials (although wood and other materials can also be cleaned, it's just more of a challenge).
Here are some great ideas for Chicken Nesting Boxes:
Always remember, happy chickens will lay more eggs than chickens that aren't happy. When chickens are happy they will lay eggs in their proper places (nesting boxes) and you won't have to play hide and seek with them for the eggs.
Keep the bedding clean and comfortable and the chickens should do the rest of the work for you by providing you with plenty of eggs.
If you have any comments, queries or questions please use the contact page.
Does it make more sense to you, to raise your own chickens from egg to layer. If you're a chicken husband that does then take heart, you're not alone.
However, first getting acquainted with chicken egg incubators can be a little overwhelming and can leave you with quite a few questions...
To help alleviate any stress when it comes to chicken egg incubators, we've put all the details here
This egg incubator review will help you to answer your questions and make the right decision about egg incubators for your eggs.
Chicken incubators offer eggs a safe environment in which to hatch fertile eggs.
As long as the eggs are being turned properly and kept in a humid and warm environment most of the eggs should hatch. Incubators are the ideal replacement if there aren't hens at the ready to sit on the eggs and maintain the nest temperature.
This is an egg incubator with a wire floor for automatic turning of eggs, and an easy to read LCD screen to check temperature and humidity
This is a great attribute to have. You will save a lot of time when you don't have to turn your eggs manually.
This is ideal if you're going to have times that you're not at home and the eggs need to be turned. You'll be able to set how frequently eggs are turned on some models and on other models you can choose various settings.
The main drawback to incubators that have egg turners included is that they are more expensive than models that don't have egg turners installed. Some models will have an optional egg turner but this too can be pricey.
Maintaining the temperature and humidity around your eggs is vital to hatching success.
Circulated air is an easy way to keep this in check. Some incubators have circulated air and others don't. Read the fine print and be sure you're getting what you pay for.
In most of the egg incubators the egg candler is sold separately.
Even if you decide to make an incubator yourself, the egg candler is an essential piece of equipment.
It will show you how the chick is developing inside of the egg, or if there is no chick inside at all.
If it comes with the egg incubator it may make the incubator more expensive.
There are a few different egg candlers available online that are stand alone and don't come with incubators.
Many experienced chicken husbands prefer an egg incubator that offers a built-in temperature controller/reader as well as a humidity dial and a large view window.
This is an ideal way to monitor the temperature and humidity within the incubator and focus on your eggs. You can also purchase such components separately however, you'll have to ensure that they are compatible with the egg incubator that you have purchased.
Getting an incubator that has both of these included can save some headaches down the track
For the most part, most of the incubators have some sort of view windows in which you can watch your eggs.
Some are large and some are small. A few of them will show the entire inside of the incubator and others will only show a portion. If you want to see everything that is going on be sure that you take this into consideration when you're shopping for your incubator.
Egg incubators come with and without thermostats
Some chicken husbands like to have a built in thermostat and a separate one to ensure that they are maintaining a specific temperature
When it comes to ease of use, most chicken husbands prefer the built in thermostats because they tend to be easier to adjust.
Many keep an extra thermostat (external) one on hand to verify that the built in one is accurate
Some egg incubators are as easy to use as simply plugging them in, others require more set up than that. Be sure to read the fine print and understand how the egg incubator you select works before you purchase it. You want it to be fairly easy to use.
For example: In order to maintain the proper humidity level you're going to have to add water to your egg incubator. The water doesn't have to be sterile as long as it's clean and free from debris.
But you don't want to be opening your incubator all the time to check the water level and add water. This is where a humidity reading on an LCD screen can make your chicken egg incubator easy to use
Every incubator will require some form of minding it each and every day. Some (typically the cheaper models) will require more than others.
If you have an automatic egg turner you're going to have less minding than if you have to turn your eggs manually. It's all up to you, how much time do you wish to put into incubating eggs?
Don't forget that you'll also have to maintain the proper humidity and the proper temperature at all times for your eggs. Without the proper humidity and temperature your baby chicks won't hatch.
Some units will monitor this and have a large display while other units will have to be checked throughout the day.
Many people wonder if they should buy an egg incubator or make their own.
The positives of buying is primarily convenience. Not only getting the egg incubator delivered to your door, but also you can buy one with the features you want which you can't build yourself (like an automatic egg turner)
There are other pros of buying an incubator. You know that it works. It comes with the benefit of manufacturing experience
The positives of building it yourself is that It is possible to make your own for about $20 to $30 dollars. This way, you can build it to suit your own specific needs. You may even have most of what you need on hand already which would make doing it yourself virtually free.
There are many great instructions online that can help you In creating an egg incubator (like the video below). You can also see this page which has more detailed information how to build your own egg incubator.
The video explains how you can make a cheap chicken egg incubator yourself, from items you can purchase at the local stores such as Wal-Mart and Lowes/Home Depot
All of the below models will hatch just about any kind of eggs. In most cases, the larger the egg the fewer will fit into the incubator.
Other eggs that have been hatched include bird eggs (nuthatch, lovebirds, parrots, parakeets and turkey eggs).
Farm Innovators Model 4250 Digital Circulated Air Incubator with Automatic Egg Turner
Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator
6 to 8 depending on size
Yosoo 10 Chicken Eggs Mini LED Digital Incubator Poultry Hatcher Fan Temperature
G.Q.F. Manufacturing 1602N Hova-Bator Incubator
Brinsea Products Manual Egg Incubator for Hatching 24 Chicken Eggs or Equivalent
24 depending on size
Clearly when it comes to choosing the right egg incubator for your needs you'll have to do a bit of homework.
If you like more hands-on experience then choose one where you maintain and manage all of the fine details such as turning your eggs manually and monitoring the temperature. If you're a busier person (and many of us are) you may wish to consider a model that is less hands-on and will turn the eggs and monitor the temperature more closely for you.
With these options, there is something for everyone who wants to raise their chicks from egg to chicken.
All the best to you in your chicken husbandry endeavors
If you liked the post, why not share it with some friends and start a conversation about your flock!
A lot of things are going on in a chicken incubator...
And while your chicks are developing inside of their safe little eggs you won't see a lot of progress
But make no mistake... Your new chicks will be dependent upon proper incubation for their survival. If your incubator is too hot or too cold your eggs won't hatch.
The wait is nerve-wracking... You may find yourself checking your eggs time and again for any progress
But it is worth it. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing your little eggs become chicks and your little chicks grow up and become brooders
Starting your chicks in an incubator is a great way to add to your flock or start your flock from scratch
It does take some time and effort to provide the optimal condition for your eggs. However, if you're properly prepared you'll be able to successfully hatch your eggs
**TIP read below carefully to learn the tricks you can use to to help speed the process along
Keep warm water in the humidity pan. Adjust your heat source to 99.5 Fahrenheit up to 102 Fahrenheit.
Keep a close eye on this and make sure that the incubator stays at 99.5 Fahrenheit at all times.
Allow it to settle on this for 24 hours prior to putting the eggs in the incubator.
Note: Many chicken farmers mistakenly think that the temperature has something to do with the gender of the hatchlings, this is not true.
Note - Using a LCD display like the incubator above will make it a lot easier to stabilize the temperature and humidity in the incubator
It's vital to keep the door to your incubator closed as much as possible. Obviously, you're going to have to open it to turn your eggs, however, be sure that the rest of the time it remains closed.
Your little chicks require the proper humidity at all times to keep them from sticking to their shells and help them properly hatch.
Too little humidity and they won't be able to separate from their shell easily. Too much and they will be too wet. Keep the proper balance and follow the guidelines for turning closely.
To maintain your humidity in your incubator you're going to need to add water to the water system.
You'll want to maintain a level of 40 to 50 percent humidity through day 18 of the incubation period. After that, you'll need to increase the humidity to 70 percent through the hatching period.
Use a hygrometer to check your humidity level and maintain it.
Stand alone Hygrometers typically cost $10 to $30
When it comes to chicken incubators, there are two ways to go. You can purchase an incubator or you can build your own. It's important to keep in mind that building your own will take a bit of skill. If you're in doubt of your skills you may opt to buy a ready made incubator.
Some people choose to build their own incubator. There's a sense of satisfaction of doing it all yourself.
You build the incubator, get your eggs, place them in the incubator and await the arrival of your new chicks. It's very satisfying and a great experience for everyone including kids if you have them.
If you do choose to build your own here are some guidelines and a list of what you'll require.
If you haven't had much or any experience with incubators before, then please take note:
Firstly, you'll need either a store bought incubator or a homemade incubator (instructions above).
Chickens are flock animals so it's always best to try and set at least six or more eggs at a time. This also increases the likelihood that you'll have hens and not all roosters.
It takes 21 days for a chicken egg to hatch. That is under optimal temperature and humidity conditions. If the eggs are allowed to cool down and then heat back up they may still hatch, but it will be later than 21 days.
Always give the eggs a few extra days in case you didn't realize that they had cooled down during the incubation period.
Your eggs need to be turned at least 3 times per day. This should be done at regular intervals. Many chicken farmers turn their eggs up to 5 times per day. A good way to do it is to use an indelible marker and mark an “X” on one side of the egg. This way, you can turn them all at the same time and you won't lose track of where you're at.
Turn the eggs for 18 days, then stop turning them so that the chicks have time to position for proper hatching.
Always wash your hands prior to turning eggs to prevent transmitting bacteria to the egg through the porous shell.
On or near day 21 you may see a pip in the shell. It can take the chick 24 hours to break out.
DO NOT attempt to assist the chick, this could result in the death of your chick. More than one chick has bled to death due to owner assisted escape from the shell.
There are fine blood vessels in the membrane that haven't yet stopped pulsating and if you break these the chick may bleed to death. It takes an average of five to seven hours for a chick to break free and it's not unheard of for it to take up to 24 hours.
Place eggs in your incubator large end up. You'll be turning these regularly so if you get into the habit of this you'll know where you're at in turning them.
Also, if you are using an automatic turner, keep in mind that they tend to turn very slowly. Don't be alarmed if you're not seeing them move. Wait a few hours and check again. Likely the eggs will be turned by then.
The humidity level in your incubator should be at 40 to 50 percent during the first 18 days that your eggs are being incubated.
On the 18th day, raise the level of humidity to 70 percent. Use a hygrometer so that you can easily check the level of the humidity.
An older chicken incubator
Egg stasis, or a period of time of inactivity, can be checked in the following manner
Place 12 fresh eggs on a tray. Be sure to estimate how long it took for the egg to arrive at your destination. Write this estimated date (date laid) on the egg in indelible marker.
Now, collect 12 fresh eggs from your own flock or a friends flock of chickens. Date these eggs as well with an indelible marker.
Keep in mind that the farm fresh eggs will remain in stasis for approximately 10 days. They are alive. The zygotes are waiting, however, they are not yet developing. They are in “egg hibernation”.
In the chicken pen, the mother hen would be deciding if she had enough eggs to sit on. If the hen doesn't show up to sit on her brood the eggs will simply not develop into chicks. At this point in time, they would begin to spoil. They will last for a few weeks with the bloom on.
After you've collected your eggs you can place them, one egg per day, into the incubator. Again, write the date on the egg. You can then determine if they are viable by day 21 of being placed into the incubator.
Keep in mind that the eggs should be stored at room temperature before being placed in the incubator for best results. Refrigerating the eggs will kill them.
If at all possible, it's best to avoid incubating a double-yolked egg. One or both of the fetuses may have issues developing properly.
If one fetus has issues it is highly likely that it may cause issues for the other fetus. While it does work on occasion, it's exceedingly rare and not likely to result in a healthy chick.
As long as the water is clean and doesn't have any debris or bacteria in it is fine. Tap water and well water are fine as long as there isn't any concern about germs or bacteria.
Some chicken farmers, however, are very cautious and will only use sterile water that they purchase at the store or they will first boil the water. Bacteria is a huge concern as the egg shells are porous and it can get into the shell and harm the embryo or chick.
If you're purchasing fertile eggs at your local supermarket then yes, you could simply put it in the incubator and have a chicken hatch.
Keep in mind, however, that there is typically little chance of this unless the eggs are organic (much more likely to be fertile if they are organic) or free range (again, free range are also much more likely to be fertile than regular eggs).
If you wish to try this then be sure that the eggs that your purchases are free range or cage free. They also need to be fresh (neither having been stored at too high or too low of a temperature between the market and your home).
Although the odds are against it, more than one chicken farmer has tried putting a free range or cage free egg in an incubator and been successful.
Designing and building your own incubator is very satisfying. You get to watch the process of an egg turning into a chicken. You are in charge of turning and maintaining those eggs and taking care of them.
You're building your flock or starting your flock and tending mindfully over it. Everything you need to know to tend to your eggs in an incubator is in this article. Now all you have left to do is design your incubator and get started with your eggs.
Thanks for reading, if you liked the article why not share it and start a conversation with your friends and family about chicken husbandry!
Chicken pens give your chickens the benefit of being out in the yard and enjoying the elements while staying safe
They provide protection from predators getting in, as well as chickens getting lost. Chicken pens also offer your chickens an additional safety net when compared to free range chickens, and chickens that are let loose in a backyard
What Exactly Is Chicken Pen And How Is It Different From A Chicken Coop?
Many people are easily confused when it comes to the difference between a chicken coop and a chicken pen. A chicken coop is a safe place that provides warmth, safety and a nest for the chickens to lay eggs. A chicken pen is a fenced in area of your yard where the chickens can get out and get some exercise while they are exploring and enjoying their freedom while still remaining safe from predators.
It's kind of like the difference between your home and your yard. You live in your home, and go out and play in the yard. By the same token, your chickens live in the coop and go out and play in the pen.
Typically, the backyard chicken pen is for providing shelter as well as food and a safe location for them to lay eggs. It keeps predators out thus protecting your chickens from harm and you can use the feces to fertilize your yard and garden by moving the pen around or simply by cleaning the pen out.
What Makes A Good Chicken Pen?
Where Can You find Supplies?
Should You Build or Buy A Chicken Pen?
There are many things that must be considered before purchasing or building a chicken pen
Before you ever begin your quest for a chicken pen you'll want to know the options and the pros and cons of building your own chicken pen or buying a ready made one
Pros & Cons In Buying A Chicken Pen
Portable pens are ideal if you have to worry about predators as you can simply move the pen closer to your house or barn if you need to.
Designing your own pen allows you the opportunity to create it to your own specific designs and specifications allowing you the freedom to move the pen or keep it stationary.
There are some good examples of chicken pens on the Internet that you can look over if you so desire
They are reasonably priced and come in a variety of shapes and sizes or you can simply buy your own pet fencing and create your own chicken pen. From large to small you can create the ideal chicken pen for your chickens.
Pros & Cons In Building Your Own Chicken Pen
How Big Should A Chicken Pen Be?
Your chicken pen should allow for, 2 to 5 feet squared per chicken. If you have 4 chickens you're going to want it to be at least 8 feet squared, many people prefer to go up to 5 feet squared per chicken.
It won't matter what the breed of your chickens is when considering size of the chicken pen.
It's important to recognize that the size of the chicken pen will be dependent upon how many chickens you have and its goal is to protect your chickens from predators while they are out in the yard.
In order for your chickens to be productive and healthy you're going to want them to have plenty of room for exercising.
Tips for Chicken Husbands Who Use Chicken Pens
If you have any comments, queries or questions please use the contact page.
Bedding and litter in the chicken coop, nesting boxes, run and other areas of the enclosure isn't for luxury. It's to help give the chickens a foundation for their legs and to provide for a safe landing for the eggs they're going to lay.
Deciding which type of litter to use can be a bit confusing. To make things a bit easier for you, we've gone over some of your options so that you'll have a better understanding of what each type of litter can provide.
As a chicken owner, you may be doing a bit of hemming and hawing over what animal bedding to use. You'll want to consider the price of the bedding as well as how well it works on odor and of course, how clean it's going to keep your chicken coop.
Many people seem to think that cheaper is better. With chicken bedding options there are good cheap options, but you typically get what you pay for.
As a chicken owner, chicken bedding doesn't stop at nesting. Some types of bedding may cause respiratory illness and possibly even death. This guide is designed to give you an excellent place to begin your search on which bedding is best suited for your chickens.
Animal bedding is the substrate that you'll be putting into your chicken coop to help absorb liquids and cushion their feet as they walk and the eggs as they're laid. It will help the chickens to safely walk in and around the cage.
Many chicken farmers have used hay and straw for animal bedding, however, there are many more cost effective options for bedding on the market today.
Typically speaking, the animal bedding should be exchanged when the odor begins to build up around the chicken coop.
If you are plugging your nose and having a difficult time breathing while out in the chicken coop, it's time to change the bedding. It won't harm the chickens to change the bedding in fact, it may help to prevent other health issues.
While changing the bedding, it's also a good time to disinfect the coop with an all natural cleaner like apple cider vinegar to help prevent any bacterial buildup that could make your chickens ill.
A clean chicken coop ensures healthier chickens. If your chickens are walking in chicken poop and moldy bedding, The mold spores can lead to health issues and diseases and other upper respiratory illnesses.
Many chicken owners are extremely vigilant about keeping their coops clean and will “spot clean or poo pick” the bedding daily or each time they are in the coop. While this extreme isn't really necessary, it will certainly help to maintain the level of cleanliness that will help to ensure that the chickens remain healthy.
Cleaning the coop daily isn't quite necessary but it should definitely be cleaned every 2 weeks to maintain and ensure a level of cleanliness that will help to maintain a healthy coop.
There are a wide variety of different kinds of bedding and each type has its own pros and cons. Here is a list to help you understand the differences between the different kinds of bedding.
|Bedding Type||Price||Ease to use||How often have to change|
|Straw and Hay||$$$$||★★★||Once per week|
|Pine Shavings||$$||★★||Once per quarter|
|Excelsior Fiber||$$$$||★★★★★||Only when overly soiled|
|Sand||$$$$||★★★★★||Once or twice per year|
|Grass Clippings||$||★||Every few days|
|Shredded Leaves||$||★★★||Every few days|
|Recycled Paper/ Newspaper||$||★★||Every few days|
|Shredded Cardboard||$$||★★★||Every few days|
|Hemp||$$$$$||★★★★★||Once or twice per year|
Many chicken owners like straw for its earthy smell and texture. It's an ideal option made from wheat, barley, oats or rye or any other such grasses that are available.
Many, such as oat and wheat are more absorbent which will make it easier to clean out the coop. Unfortunately, straw is notorious for not holding up very well in the rain and it may be moldy which can lead to other issues. All though it's affordable, it's not really very economical due to how it holds up in inclement weather.
Hay is very similar to straw in composition, however, it's much more expensive. It's also not the most durable and may break down in inclement weather as well. It develops mold spores easily and this in turn may make for some very sick chickens.
Straw and hay are very well suited to animals who enjoy nibbling on hay however it's not the best choice for your chickens for their bedding.
Another popular option is to use pine shavings. These are readily available at feed supply stores as well as pet supply stores, large box stores and specialty stores.
They are very expensive, don't break down readily and dry quickly.
The scent of pine is amazing however, it will break down over the course of time.
Also known as 'wood wool' a newer option is to use excelsior fiber pads as a bedding option for your chickens in their nesting boxes.
Some chicken husbands love them because they leave the eggs on top and absorb any fluids, feces etc down and away from the laying area.
Chickens like sitting on these pads and they are as easy as kitchen sponges to replace, just pull it out and put in another one. Although they have the possibility to become a little expensive
There are a few different kinds of wood shavings. They should have already have had the dust removed so that your chickens won't have to deal with any respiratory issues.
Usually these will be absorbent and hygienic however, they may have other issues such as pesticides or larger sized chunks as well as sawdust so be sure that you're getting all natural and that it's had the dust extracted. Cedar and other woods may make up the shavings.
Always read labels and ask questions of the sales staff prior to purchase. Keep in mind that when using cedar, Cedar shavings have been known to cause respiratory problems in chickens so use at your own risk.
Excellent and very clean, it's expensive to start out with however, it will only need to be replaced about two times per year. It dries out quickly and as long as it's being raked out frequently it shouldn't pose any issues.
Many chicken farmers use a cat litter scoop to keep their coop clean when they use sand. It won't break down and dries out quickly which makes it an ideal option. Keep in mind that the finer the sand the more likely it is to clump when moistened.
If you have a large enough yard, you may opt to use your grass clippings. They work well, however there are a few reasons you may opt to not use them. They do tend to stay wet when it rains or they're moistened.
They also break down very quickly, since they are grass they will dry up and begin to smell quickly as well. If you're using grass clippings ensure that there are no pesticides used in the grass that has been mowed as well as any herbicides, chemicals or fungicides.
Chickens will peck at anything and ingest it so be sure there aren't any bits or pieces of anything that could injure your chickens.
If you have a lot of trees you could save the leaves in the fall. However, leaves must be finely shredded and require proper preparation.
Whole leaves will take a very long time to break down so they aren't really a good option. Shredded leaves will break down quickly so you'll have to replace them often and they tend to harbor the moisture.
Wet leaves tend to stick together and mat up as well which can make for a slippery walking surface. Leaves tend to work well when mixed in with other types of bedding.
Shredded newspaper and other recycled papers are an ideal way to give your chickens a nearly free bedding.
However, be cautious as the papers may contain poisonous inks, staples (if they are from shredded paper in offices) and papers that have chemicals or been chemically processed.
Be mindful of the type of paper being shredded and its former life before choosing this option.
Another popular option for those who recycle, it may be an effective form of bedding however there are still inks to consider as well as the fact that mold may easily develop as it won't fully dry out.
While it may work short term, be aware that you'll have to replace it a few times per week and have a steady supply in order to have it available as often as you're going to need it.
Perhaps one of the best options on the market today, hemp is made of the stalk of the cannabis plant. It's an ideal substrate option as it's odorless, fully absorbent and it is an all around organic product.
It can help to keep the coop clean for a longer period of time. It also tends to keep out the creepy crawlies that like to check out your chicken coop. As a natural pesticide it works well and although it tends to be higher priced, many chicken farmers say it's well worth the price.
Perhaps the most discouraged by seasoned chicken farmers, sawdust is dangerous due to the powdery nature and the dust that it harbors. If you're hoping to avoid upper respiratory issues, this is not the route to go. It's not very absorbent and it tends to harbor maggots. Go for something else if you're concerned about the health.
Obviously the decision is all up to the chicken farmers however it's important to choose one that will keep your chickens healthy without harboring any harmful bacteria, bugs or anything else that can cause problems.
Many choose to change the bedding frequently and that can never hurt. By keeping the bedding fresh and healthy the chickens are going to be healthier and provide more to the chicken farmer. Remember too that keeping the nesting boxes and the under trays fresh and clean is vital for their health as well.
Many chicken farmers prefer wood shavings for their nesting boxes. Some prefer hay or straw and change it frequently. Whichever you select, remember to keep it dry and ensure that the chickens aren't suffering from any respiratory issues.
For more scent or to keep it fresh mix in some mint, lavender or rosemary. This will also keep pests at bay. You'll also want to ensure that the scents aren't bothering the chickens respiratory health either.
Many farmers prefer pine or cedar for the scent however, keep in mind the respiratory issues regarding the chickens. Obviously, you'll want something that is easy to keep clean and change out as needed and you'll want it to be affordable. Many farmers use the deep litter method in order to avoid wasting the bedding and save on money. Again, keep the health of the flock in mind at all times.
Outdoor runs are ideal and most chicken farmers prefer sand for outdoor runs. Sand is ideal and works well however, it won't break down so keep this in mind. You'll have to use a cat litter scoop in order to scoop out the debris and manure frequently. Chickens love dust bathing and sand is ideal for this use.
As long as you're willing to clean it frequently, sand will be a fine option for your outdoor run. Remember to avoid very fine sand as it can be aspirated by the chickens. A medium sand grain will be fine to ensure that they're not having respiratory issues.
As you can see, you get what you pay for with chicken coop bedding. And all the options will suit different chicken coops.
We hope that you choice to find the best chicken coop bedding for you has been made a little easier. Thanks for reading
If you have any comments, queries or questions please use the contact page.
Snakes, the very word brings images of slithering reptiles to mind. It can be very nerve wracking to step out into the yard to do some work when you've seen a snake in your yard. If you have chickens, it can make you even more nervous, snakes love baby chicks and fresh eggs.
To make matters worse, the more vegetation you have in your yard, the more likely you are to have snakes. And whilst most of these reptiles aren't venomous, a visit from a snake can scare chickens, other pets and also anyone else around.
|Method||$||Ease Of Use||Success Rate||Availability|
|Keep Yard Tidy||$||★★★★★||★★★★★||Yourself or Help|
|Chemical Repellents||$ to $$$$||★★★||★★★||Online or home improvement store|
|Ultra Sonic||$$$$||★★★||★★★★||Online or home improvement store|
|Vibration Repellers||$$$$||★★★||★★★||Online or home improvement store|
|Sulfur Powder||$$||★★★||★★★||Online or home improvement store|
|Snake Traps||$$$||★★★||★★★★||Online or home improvement store|
|Seal Off Entries||$$||★★★||★★★★||Yourself or Help|
|Snake Fences||$ to $$$$$||★★★||★★★★★||Online or home improvement store or build it yourself|
Snakes have preferences on where they live just like you do. They tend to prefer tall vegetation with plenty of cover and lots of room to maneuver.
They also like to know that there is plenty of food in and around your yard. Snakes like eating rodents, insects and the like and they will take full advantage of your yard if you have any of these issues.
Snakes also enjoy fresh eggs and baby chicks so be sure that the eggs and baby chicks are safe and secure from such predators.
Remember that to a snake, a chicken coop looks like a delightful smorgasbord of offerings. Make it a bit less enticing by cleaning up around the area and putting up some barriers to the snakes entry into the chicken coop.
There are also chemical snake repellents however, depending upon their composition, they may pose a health risk to pets and people as well as the environment.
Be sure that repellents chosen are for snakes and always follow the instructions on the label.
In addition to using repellent, you'll have to be sure to follow the above instructions on the basement and your yard area.
Keep in mind that many chemical snake repellents may be hazardous to your baby chickens. Use these well away from your chicken coop and plan to use another method to keep snakes away from the coop itself to protect your chickens health.
Also keep your door sweeps and your window screens fitting properly. Be sure to cover other potential entries such as dryer vents, drains and other such openings to your home.
There are two types of snake traps. Those that are lethal, and those that are not lethal. Lethal traps will grip the snakes body and kill the snake as it enters the trap head first
However, keep in mind as the snake slithers from one side to another the snake may be caught further down the body.
Snake traps work very well, however, you'll want to set them up where they won't be a danger to your baby chicks or any of your chickens.
Glue traps also work well. They will hold the snake whether it's venomous or not until you are able to release it. You can spray cooking oil onto the trap when you're ready to release the snake and it will be able to work itself free of the trap.
An important note is that snakes will actually help to keep insects and rodents out of your yard if you're having an issue with one type of predator consider what else may be going on that could be causing your issue.
Snake fences are barriers that keep snakes from going underneath of buildings and inside of gardens. They are made of materials that aren't easily moved and that don't have any large openings that the snake could squeeze through.
Snake fences can work as an ideal barrier to keep snakes away from your chicken coop. They offer a barrier that will help to protect the coop from such predators.
A popular choice is wire mesh as well as solid wood. Keep in mind that it doesn't take much room for a snake to squeeze through an opening. Thus, remember if you're using a fence, bury it several inches into the ground. When the soil erodes due to weather be sure to keep an eye on the soil and the fence levels.
Different regions may require different fencing materials. Some snakes are great climbers and the fencing may simply be a great climbing wall to them. Slope fences at an outward angle to help prevent snakes from entering into your yard or chicken coop.
Snake fences also help to keep snakes out of swimming pools and pond areas.
The basement must also be sealed off to keep snakes out. If you have damage around your foundation or basement you need to repair it immediately to avoid snakes.
Be sure to locate your chicken coop away from such things as old foundations, basements and other structures that could lend themselves well to snake habitats.
If you have holes and cracks that will allow snakes into your home you're not going to be able to keep them out no matter how many traps you have set.
Consider mortar to fill in cracks. It will dry hard and rodents and snakes won't be able to enter that way.
Consider expanding foam if you have long cracks or even foam sealants work well.
It's usually an accident if a snake winds up in a basement. They much prefer to be able to get in and out of their den and it can be challenging for them to reside in your basement.
Inspect your home several times each year to ensure that there are no openings that a snake could enter through.
None of the above mentioned methods seem to work better on any specific species of snake.
If you're living in the city you may wish to avoid such methods as ultra sonic vibration. However, all of the other methods can readily be used in and around your home even if you're in the city.
Although the Internet would have you believe that this is a great way to remove snakes, mothballs work best for keeping mice, bats, bats, groundhogs, raccoons, possums and the like from your yard.
While this eliminates some of the food sources for snakes, it does not eliminate all of them thus it's a waste of money and your time. Mothballs could also be poisonous to your chicken coop
Thanks for reading our guide on how to keep snakes away from your yard. Any comments, queries or questions then please use the contact form.
Whether you're looking for a top of the line chicken cage, or something that is simplistic yet functional, there are many new things to learn about what makes a good chicken cage.
To start with, let's examine the difference between a coop and a cage. Many of the chicken coops are made from soft timbers which do not stand up to harsh weather or time very well.
My idea of a cage is made from metal. Why?
Metal cages are designed to stand the test of time while tending to be much more rugged, tough and durable. Thus offering your chickens much more protection from the elements and predators than a wooden coop.
Keeping your chickens safe from harm and providing them a warm and dry environment is the first thing that should be considered when you're considering a chicken cage. Other things to consider are whether or not you're going to have a mobile cage that can be moved around your yard or property, or if you're going to use a stable cage that isn't moveable.
Whichever route you select will be dependent upon a few factors. Your space (do you have the room to have a movable cage?) and your ability to move a moveable cage yourself (some require two or more persons to move them about the property).
Let's take a moment and examine the pros and cons of mobile vs immobile cages.
If you're in a more rural area with more space you're much more likely to want the stable, immovable type of cage that you can set up easily somewhere on your property. This can be a very small cage to a large cage that rivals the size of a small bedroom. It's all up to you and how many chickens you plan to keep.
Smaller blocks tend to be more suited toward a movable cage. Predators are less of an issue in suburbs and having a movable cage is great for your lawn and doesn't take up a large section of your yard.
If you are selecting a movable cage to be sure that it's all set up so that you can see what it will look like after you put it together. You'll want to see the type of construction as well as the type of materials that it's constructed from.
Even if you have an immovable structure, you can still allow your chickens to free-range by simply opening the pen up during the day. Chickens that are free range will enjoy dining on bugs, grasses, plants, seeds (from weeds and the like) and whatever else they may find in and about the property.
This benefits your property in a myriad of ways so it is something that is important to consider prior to beginning construction on your chicken cage.
If you're planning to free range your chickens you can use either of the above-mentioned methods. You'll want to keep your chickens penned up for a few days so that they know where “home” is and then you can allow them out during the day to range about the property picking at bugs and the like.
On average, you'll need to have 3 to 4 square feet per chicken that you have in your flock.
If you have smaller bantam sized chickens you can get away with 2 to 3 square feet per chicken.
You'll need to plan out their roosts and nesting boxes so that each chicken feels that they have enough space. Typically, you'll need at least one nesting box per 3 chickens so take that into account when you're planning out your chicken cage.
When considering who is buying a chicken cage the farm life often comes to mind, however, as more cities are allowing their residents to raise hens more urban dwellers than ever before are buying and building chicken cages.
If you are located in the suburbs, it's important for to check with your specific city for any specific ordinances regarding raising chickens in town. Many have a limit on the number of chickens (usually from three to six per residence) allowed and typically none will allow a rooster to reside within city limits
The wire on the chicken cage can help to keep the chickens in the chicken cage, however, if it's not of a strong enough gauge it may not keep out the fox or the dog that is intent on a nice chicken dinner. So it's imperative to ensure that the gauge of the chicken wire is of such a strength to protect the chickens from such predators.
You'll have many options when it comes to net or wire. Here are some of the options you'll have to make decisions from:
Galvanized hardware cloth is an ideal choice for enclosing a chicken cage. You'll want this to be at least ½ inch or 19 gauge. The smaller openings may be more brittle and break easily. However, keep in mind that larger openings may allow predators in such as rats or snakes.
Hardware cloth is available in 3, 4, 5 and even 6-foot rolls. Typically, chicken owners choose those that are three to four feet and these will be anywhere from 5, 25, 50 or 100 feet in length.
It is recommended that you not use a power staple gun on this as it tends to not be as strong. Chickens may peck at these. Always opt for a pneumatic staple gun made for this purpose.
Perhaps due to the name, most people choose chicken wire for their cages. With thin hexagonal openings made of wire that is woven together, this is fairly inexpensive, but it will rust very easily. Sadly, it won't protect your chickens from raccoons nor will it protect from other predator
It's fine for a daytime cage that you don't have to be concerned about predators in, however, at night, it won't be very secure. Many people choose to use chicken wire only on the upper sections of their coops in order to save a few dollars. However, rodents and raccoons don't mind climbing for a nice chicken dinner.
Chain link fencing is strong and fairly easy to purchase. Chickens will be kept in and the dog may stay out, however, a sneaky raccoon who is determined to dine on your chickens won't be deterred.
It can cause some chaos and a bit too much excitement for the rest of the chickens or for children to see a baby chick snatched away and eaten. Always ensure that the chickens can retreat to a safe zone within such a cage.
Installing chain link fencing does require some building knowledge (mostly around putting in posts square). Many people get them put in professionally, but you can get what you need from hardware stores like lowes and home depot.
Heavy gauge wire fencing that is welded with 3 to 4-inch squares or rectangular openings will help to provide an additional measure of security to your chicken cage. You can attach it to the floor to give your cage more security. It will prevent predators from tunneling under and allow the chickens to scratch and graze while offering up some protection.
It works more in the daytime and you'll want to ensure that there is additional security for the pen at night. You can overlap them or choose a smaller mesh in order to prevent visits from predators.
A typical 28 inch by 50 foot roll will cost you around $30 to $50.
Electric fencing may also be used to add an extra level of protection to the chicken cage. Wild animals such as raccoons and other predators may be dissuaded from pestering and snitching chickens by an electric fence.
Many farmers choose electric fencing and create a wide perimeter in order to allow for some free range without having to worry about predators. By utilizing portable power sources, they can make it as large or as small as desired and keep their chickens safe.
When installing an electric fence you will also need to purchase a charger which plugs into an wall outlet - view a range of fence and chargers here
There is also electric poultry netting that may be purchased if you're residing in an area where hawks or other large predator birds may pose a potential threat to the livelihood of raising chickens.
Chicken cages are being used to help protect chickens from both the elements and other animals that may bother the chickens such as foxes and dogs.
While many can train a dog to leave the chickens alone, there are times that dogs get the taste of blood and must be kept separated from the chickens for the safety of both the chickens and the dogs (neighboring chicken raisers tend to frown on a neighbor dog that attacks chickens and it's important to keep the neighbor's happy as well).
Seal all of the openings that are more than an inch with hardware cloth, you'd be surprised at how a large sized rodent or predator can squeeze through such a small opening and help themselves to a free chicken dinner.
When sealing openings, be sure to use screws as nails and staples can be manipulated and maneuvered aside to gain easy access.
Lastly, it's recommended that chicken cage owners attach a ½ inch hardware cloth to all of the open sides of the cage and then enclose it in a run to ensure their safety at night. Be sure to consider the top side of the cage and if it's open cover it with something to protect them from climbing predators.
It's important to remember that the cage is only as strong as the owner makes it so be sure to consider all of the possible predators that are relative to the specific area. Cover the exposed areas accordingly to protect your chickens.
Often a dog can be trained to chase away other potential predators to the chickens. It's usually best to select a dog breed that is easily trainable for such purposes. Train the dog from the time it's a puppy as older dogs do tend to be more challenging when it comes to training them to protect, and not eat the chickens.
Another consideration is whether or not to have the bottom of the cage as a dirt “floor” or as a drop down opening that can be readily cleaned. Both have their benefits. Drop down openings may leave room for a predator to sneak in and help themselves to a free chicken dinner.
A dirt floor will require a lot of maintenance, especially if the cage is stationary. You'll have to go out and clean it out at least weekly. This will involve raking out the old scratch, manure and other debris that may accumulate in the pen.
There are a variety of different features within a chicken cage. The cage has several main purposes and some sub-purposes. One of the main purposes of the chicken cage it to provide the chickens with some security from predators and the weather elements.
Always consider just how much work you really want to do on your cage and take it from there. If you're looking for a fairly maintenance free chicken cage you're going to want to consider all of the potential angles of your care and maintenance program for your chickens.
Chickens love to have a perch to sit on and peruse their surroundings. These are inside of the cage and will provide for a place that they can sit comfortably off of the ground. These should be at least 2 or more inches off of the ground. It should also be higher than the entry to the nesting box as the chickens like to perch higher than the nesting box.
If the perch isn't high enough, the chickens will roost in the nesting box and this can become very messy very quickly. When chickens are on the perch roosting is when they tend to produce the most poop so keep this in mind on the placement of the perch.
Roosting in the nesting box can cause very soiled eggs and a lot of hassle for the chicken farmer. Keep all of this in mind when determining the actual level of the chicken perches.
Perches should be low enough to the ground that when the chickens awaken they simply step off of the perch and safely to the ground. Leg injuries can be catastrophic to the chicken so keep this in mind.
Also, perches should allow for at least 8 to 12 inches of personal space per chicken. While they do tend to cozy up together, they don't appreciate having their beak in the neighbors tail feathers.
The nesting boxes should be up off of the ground and in a dark corner of the chicken cage. It should offer plenty of ventilation so that there won't be any condensation build up even in colder or wet weather.
How many do you need?
When it comes to nesting boxes there should be at least one nesting box for every 3 chickens.
How important is Ventilation?
Keep in mind that ventilation operates on the principle that warm air should leave via the higher gap of the nesting box and draw the cooler air in from the lower portion of the nesting box. These ventilation holes aren't on the opposite sides of the nesting box nor are they at the same level. This creates a draft for the air to freely flow through the nesting box.
What is the best Size of Nesting Boxes
Nesting boxes should be no more than 1 foot by 1 foot in size. Any large may feel insecure to the chickens and any smaller and you risk your chickens feeling crowded. Use a landing board or ramp to ensure that the nesting materials remain in the nesting box.
Many chicken farmers also have an outside access to the nesting boxes for the purpose of gathering eggs and changing the bedding materials.
Lastly, you'll want to consider the run. The chicken run should be of ample area for the chickens to be out and about. If you have free range chickens you won't need to worry about this as you'll be letting them out in the mornings and putting them back inside in the evenings.
However, if you're using a method in which your chickens aren't given free range you'll want to ensure that they have plenty of area to move about freely and comfortably. On average, one chicken per every 4 feet should be sufficient.
If you buy the right sized cage you're going to enjoy it for a long time to come, however, if you buy too small of a cage you're going to run into issues from the start. Count your chickens and make the appropriate decisions for space when you're considering your chicken cage.
As long as the chickens have plenty of space you won't have to worry much about bullying or egg eating chickens. If they are stressed or don't have enough space you'll know it quickly by these specific behaviors.
Although chicken cages can be readily bought pre-made, you'll want to consider your specific needs and wants and compare pricing side by side. You can purchase the appropriate wire or mesh fabric and create your own cage, or you can go with a prefabricated cage.
Here are some basic pricing structures to keep in mind when you're deciding which route to go.
Prices of a chicken cage are going to be dependent upon how large or small of a cage is purchased. On average, chicken cage prices will range from as low as $150 upwards to $500 or $600 or even a few thousand for a larger sized cage with all of the amenities.
Again, it's important to keep in mind that a cheaper cage may be made of wood that hasn't fully seasoned yet and it may be very cheaply made. This means that when it rains the wood will be damaged and as the sun heats it back up you may have to deal with splintering wood that a good wind could easily destroy.
What to Look for in a Good Chicken Cage
The main differences in chicken cages are portability and durability. Both of which can be had at a reasonable price. Look for the gauge of metal (thickness), look how it's put together and if possible ask and/or read reviews of people who have that chicken cage (one of the benefits of buying a ready made is you can use reviews)
Always opt for quality over quantity and remember that it's not unusual to upgrade periodically once the main chicken cage has been established.
Roosts and perches may be replaced periodically and ramps and wire may also be replaced over the lifetime of the cage. Runs should be upgraded to larger areas if more chickens are purchased or hatched.
What Are The Most Recommended Ones?
To find the most recommended chicken cages you'll want to get to know some of the other chicken farmers in your area. Ask around at the local grange. Check with the local feed and seed stores, get to know your neighbors and find out what features they suggest are the most important.
Each region will have its own specifics so keep this in mind as you peruse your options. Take into account your surroundings as well as what you do have available on your own property. For some, this may mean redesigning an outbuilding on the property itself, for others, it may mean starting at the beginning and creating your own design or buying a prefab chicken cage.
You can also walk into any feed and seed store and you're sure to find a myriad of options for chicken cages, especially if you're going in during the early spring months of the year. They will also have a variety of chicks to select from.
After considering all of your options you'll have some ideas in mind of what you're looking for. Many offer a variety of chicken cages from the stable shed type building with a run to the more mobile type building for your chickens.
Now that you know the difference between a cage and a coop, wire mesh, galvanized wire and mesh fabric, mobile and immobile cages, you can go ahead and buy or create your own masterpiece.
Remember to consider all of the variables and that you can always start small and work your way up to a larger sized cage. Be sure to pay special attention to how much space each chicken will have so that they don't feel insecure or overcrowded. Your primary concern should be the safety of your chickens and ease of managing them on a daily basis.
Keeping and tending to your chickens should be a fun adventure and once you have it up and running you shouldn't have to do much more than ensure that they are safe in their pen at night and have plenty of scratch and a fresh water supply.
Thanks for reading.
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