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Chicken Permit Map – The Rules Around Keeping Chickens In Your Local Area

Chicken Permit Map – The Rules Around Keeping Chickens In Your Local Area

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[COUNTDOWN] The Internet’s Most Popular Chicken Coop for Sale – 1 to 19

[COUNTDOWN] The Internet's Most Popular Chicken Coop for Sale - 1 to 19

most popular chicken coops for sale

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

​1. 75" Deluxe Wooden Chicken Coop

Affordable Multi Purpose Hutch

deluxe_wooden_chicken_coop

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 $$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Very reasonably priced
  • Locking slide bolts on doors and windows prevent predators

CONS:

  • Roof is green felt which although waterproof, will eventually require replacement
  • Must assemble

2. Large Wood Chicken Coop 6-10 Chickens

Holds Just Over Half-Dozen Eggs

new_large_wood_chicken_coop

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 $$$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Heavy duty metal bolts make for durable construction
  • Easy to assemble with only a screwdriver

CONS:

  • Return policy is only 30 days
  • Only houses six to 10 chickens so if you want more you'll have to look at another option

3. Chicken Coop 84” Wooden Backyard Nest Box 

Convenient And Easy

84_chicken_coop

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 $$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Easy access nesting box
  • Made from solid fir

CONS:

  • May need a step ladder to reach nesting box if you're shorter
  • Assembly may be a bit more challenging.

4. Trixie Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run by Trixie

trixie_chicken_coop

Spread Your Wings

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 $$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Solid wood construction
  • Reasonably priced

CONS:

  • Only room for four chickens
  • Challenging to assemble

5. Advantek The Stilt House Rabbit Hutch

advantek_stilt_house

Affordable Best Seller

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 $$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Grown and created from durable sustainable wood
  • All of the hardware is galvanized to prevent any rust from the elements

CONS:

  • Very challenging assembly
  • No floor so you have to create one for ease of cleaning

6. TRIXIE Rabbit Hutch-Extra Small

Reasonably Priced Two Story Hutch

trixie_pet_products

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 $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Easy to clean with quick pull out plastic tray
  • Very easy to move around the yard

CONS:

  • No nesting boxes but easily created or purchased separately
  • Kind of small

7. BCP 80" Wooden Chicken Coop

bcp_80_wooden_chicken_coop

Best For Space

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 $$$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Very easy to clean with removable tray
  • Very sturdy construction

CONS:

  • You'll need to seal this to preserve it from the weather
  • A bit pricier than other models

8. Pawhut Chicken Coop with Wheels

High Quality And Portable

pawhut_chicken_coop

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 $$$$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Portable on wheels
  • Sliding window that is easy to cover during colder months

CONS:

  • Only 4 chickens
  • Higher priced

9. The Ranch

Plenty Of Room To Run

the_ranch

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 $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Twelve foot run ensures your chickens have plenty of exercise room
  • Easy to assemble

CONS:

  • More expensive
  • Takes three boxes to ship

10. Precision Pet Farm House

Ideal For Small Operations

precision_pet_farm_house

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 $$$$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Easy to assemble with only a screwdriver
  • Easy pull out plan makes cleaning a breeze

CONS:

  • Small for six chickens
  • Ladder is very delicately positioned and you must take extra care to not rip it off of the coop

​11. Vintage Red Barn Chicken Coop

The Red Barn

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 $$$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Easy cleaning thanks to a removable metal sliding tray
  • Easy one person assembly in just 30 minutes with a screwdriver

CONS:

  • Can only house 4 hens
  • A bit more pricey than other models

12. Victorian Teak Barn Chicken Coop

Victorian Elegance

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 $$$$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Easy to assemble with one person and a screwdriver
  • Removable metal tray make for easy cleaning

CONS:

  • A bit challenging to move without doing a bit of disassembly
  • Only houses 4 hens

13. Large All-Weather Chicken Coop

Best Selling For A Dozen Chickens

large_all_weather_chicken_coop

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.

Price $$$$$$+

PROS:

  • Easy assembly with just a few screws
  • Predator proof and portable

CONS:

  • Very expensive
  • Only room for 12

14. Ware Heavy-Duty Chick-N-Rabbit Pen

heavy_duty_pen

Reasonably Priced Pen

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 $$ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Very reasonably priced
  • Very easy to assemble

CONS:

  • Kind of flimsy and wood is cheap
  • You'll need to attach an expansion unit to have plenty of room

15. Round-Top Walk-In Chicken Coop

The Penthouse Of Chicken Coops

urban_coop_round_top_chicken_coop

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 $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Houses from 2 to 20 hens so ideal for small or large operations
  • Very rugged quality

CONS:

  • Very expensive
  • This is a kit so you'll have to completely reassemble the entire coop, it takes 2 people and up to 2 days to reassemble the kit

16. Cedar Chicken Coop & Run with Planter

Rustic With Planter

cedar_chicken_coops

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 $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Mesh opening is small enough to prevent rats and small predators from entering your coop
  • Made from high quality cedar and they assemble and place it for you

CONS:

  • Due to the location of the nesting box you may need a small step stool to reach it to retrieve eggs
  • You may also require a small step stool to reach the garden box

17. Chicken Coop - "Barter Chicken Castle Royale"

Chicken Castle Fit For Royalty

barter_and_sons_chicken_coop

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 $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • These coops are very simple to put together and come with detailed, illustrated instructions. You’ll need just 2 adjustable spanners, an electric drill and a number 2 Philips-head driver.
  • You can house up to 10 chickens

CONS:

  • Although this coop is lightweight and easy to move around, the wheels are placed midway so it can be sort of awkward
  • It only comes with one laying box which isn't enough for 10 chickens so you'll have to buy another one separately

18. Rugged Ranch Metal Chicken Coop

Ideal As A Stand Alone Pen

rugged_ranch_metal_chicken_coop

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 $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Easy to move around the yard
  • Ideal for other animals as well as chickens

CONS:

  • Heavy to move
  • This coop doesn't include wooden coop or nesting boxes in spite of the expensive price

19. Quaker Chicken Coop

Most Popular Coop

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 $$$$$+ out of $$$$$$

PROS:

  • Ideal for 12 to 15 chickens
  • Very easy to collect eggs with the accessible nesting boxes

CONS:

  • Very expensive
  • Run is also extra $$$$

In Summary...

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.

7 of the Best Incubators For Chicken Eggs and New Chicken Husbands

The Best Incubator For Chicken Eggs - Our Top 7 Picks

7 of the best incubator for chicken eggs

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.

​1. Brinsea Mini Advance Hatcing Egg Incubator

brinsea_mini_incubator

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.

Overall

The Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator is a high quality incubator that is ideal for small spaces.

PROS:

  • Easy viewing window
  • Automatic turning and auto stop

CONS:

  • A bit spendy
  • Can only incubate 7 eggs at a time so if you want to do more you'll have to wait until the first 7 hatch.

2. Farm Innovators Model 4250 Digital Circulated Air Incubator with Automatic Egg Turner

farm_innovators_egg_incubator_4250

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.

Overall

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.

PROS:

  • Holds up to 41 eggs
  • Large window allows for a 360 degree view of what the eggs are doing at any given time.

CONS:

  • Thermostat is very touchy
  • The instruction manual isn't easy to follow or understand.

3. Best Choice product 96 Digital Clear Egg Incubator Hatcher Automatic Egg Turning Temperature Control

best_choice_egg_incubator

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.

Overall

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.

PROS:

  • Comes with 12 trays that each hold 8 eggs
  • Can handle up to 96 chicken eggs (smaller or larger sized eggs will vary this number)

CONS:

  • A few complaints about it not heating evenly
  • Will only automatically turn one shelf of eggs, you will have to buy another egg turner if you want the others to be turned or do it yourself

4. Brinsea Products Fully Automatic Egg Incubator for Hatching 24 Chicken Eggs or Equivalent

brinsea_automatic_egg_incubator

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

Overall this is a great egg incubator with many 5 star reviews, if you are willing to pay for it.

PROS:

  • Can hatch up to 2 dozen chicken eggs at a time
  • Simple and highly accurate digital control system
  • Easy To Clean

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Some reviewers say it doesn't heat the rows evenly

5. Farm Innovators Model 2100 Still Air Incubator

farm_innovators_still_incubator

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.

Overall

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.

PROS:

  • Can hold up to 48 eggs
  • Two large windows for egg observation

CONS:

  • Thermostat doesn't seem to be accurate
  • Hygrometer isn't accurate

6. Yosoo 10 Chicken Eggs Mini LED Digital Incubator Poultry Hatcher Fan Temperature

yosoo_mini_led_incubator

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.

Overall

Ideal for the beginner or someone who only wants to hatch a few eggs at a time.

PROS:

  • Holds up to 10 chicken eggs
  • Easy to clean

CONS:

  • Must manually turn eggs or purchase an egg turner separately
  • No humidity setting other than up or down

7. Farm Innovators Model 4200 Circulated Air Incubator with Automatic Egg Turner

farm_innovators_egg_incubator

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.

Overall

Ideal for the more serious hobbyist or person who wants to hatch a lot of eggs at a time.

PROS:

  • Automatic egg turner
  • Holds up to 41 eggs

CONS:

  • A bit difficult to see the middle row of eggs through the view windows
  • Challenging to maintain the proper temperature

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

How to Find the Right Chicken Nesting Boxes For Your Flock

How To Find the Right Chicken Nesting Boxes for Your Flock

chicken nesting boxes

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.

What Makes A Good Chicken Nesting Box?

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​

The Most Popular Nesting Boxes

How Many Chicken Nesting Boxes Do You Need?

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).

Getting More Eggs with Your Nesting Box

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

What Are The Average Prices of Chicken Nesting Boxes?

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

What Is The Difference between a Pricey Nesting Box and a Cheap One?

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).

The Most Recommended Ways to Make Your Own Nesting Box 

Here are some great ideas for Chicken Nesting Boxes:

  • Use a cat litter box with a cover.
  • Old cracked ceramic crocks on their side may work well if they are large enough.
  • Wine or whiskey barrels.
old wine barrel

Old Wine Barrel

  • A 55 gallon drum that is cut into half and put up on legs will work well and can be divided into a few nesting boxes.
  • Shallow trash cans of metal or plastic.
  • Milk crates.
milk crate

Milk Crate

  • Soda crates.
  • Any wooden crates (keep in mind these are more difficult to clean).
  • Medium sized pet crates.
  • Large plastic salad bowls.
large wood salad bowl

Large Wood Salad Bowl

  • Check out the dollar store and see what plastic items they have (remember, you can lay them on their sides).
  • Large plastic planters on their side.

In Summary...

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.

Chicken Egg Incubator Reviews & The Most Frequently Asked Hatching Related Questions Answered

Chicken Egg Incubator Reviews & The Most Frequently Asked Hatching Related Questions Answered

Baby Chick from Chicken Egg Incubator

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...

  • How do they work?
  • How often must you turn the eggs?
  • How long do they take?
  • What kind of incubator should I use?
  • Should I buy one or make it myself?

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.

What Do Chicken Incubators Do Exactly?

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.

Small Chicken Egg Incubator Used at Home

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

What Should You Look for in a Chicken Egg Incubator?

Automatic Egg Turner Included

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.

Circulated Air

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.

Egg Candler Included

Egg Candler

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.

Built-in Temperature / Humidity Dial & Large View

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​

Windows

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.

Built in Thermostat

Amazon hygrometer

Although aftermarket thermostats are inexpensive, it is still worth buying an incubator with the thermostat built in

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

Easy to Use

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

How Much Minding Do You Need to Do Every Day?

a-larger-chicken-egg-incubator

This big glass window makes it easy to keep track of incubating eggs

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.

Should You Buy or Build it Yourself?

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

  • You know it works
  • It comes with the benefit of manufacturing experience
  • Certainty in sizes, temperature etc.
  • Convenience

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

How Many Eggs Do You Want to Hatch?

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).

brand

stars

Cost

egg turner

View window

egg capacity

Farm Innovators Model 4250 Digital Circulated Air Incubator with Automatic Egg Turner

3.5

$$$$

YES

YES

41

Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator

4.5

$$$$$

YES

YES

6 to 8 depending on size

Yosoo 10 Chicken Eggs Mini LED Digital Incubator Poultry Hatcher Fan Temperature

4

$$

NO

YES

10

G.Q.F. Manufacturing 1602N Hova-Bator Incubator

4

$$

Sold Separately

YES

30+

Brinsea Products Manual Egg Incubator for Hatching 24 Chicken Eggs or Equivalent

4.5

$$$$$

Optional

YES

24 depending on size

Popular Chicken Incubators In Depth

Farm Innovators Digital Circulated Air Incubator with Automatic Egg Turner

PROS

  • Easy to read egg timer
  • Easy to read LCD
  • Automatic egg turner
  • According to reviews approximately 75 to 80 percent of the eggs will hatch (Which is quite good)

CONS

  • Difficult to maintain temperature and humidity
  • Instructions difficult to understand
Farm innovators chicken egg incubator

Yosoo 10 Chicken Eggs Mini LED Digital Incubator Poultry Hatcher Fan Temperature

Yosoo Chicken Eggs Mini Incubator

PROS

  • Holds 10 chicken eggs
  • Clear and easy to see into window
  • Approximately 80 percent hatch rate

CONS

  • Temperature gauge tends to run slightly off
  • Must turn eggs manually

Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator

PROS

  • Will hatch 12 small eggs or six large eggs at a time
  • Can hatch duck eggs or guinea eggs as well
  • Approximately 71 percent of the eggs will hatch

CONS

  • Window sometimes fogs
  • Does not display humidity levels
Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Incubator

G.Q.F. Manufacturing 1602N Hova-Bator Incubator

Yosoo Chicken Eggs Mini Incubator

PROS

  • Reviews report 90 percent hatch success rate as long as you keep an eye on thermostats
  • Reasonably priced

CONS

  • Windows don't give you a view of all of the eggs
  • No fan but you can buy one separately
  • No egg turner but you can also purchase one separately or turn them manually

Brinsea Products Manual Egg Incubator for Hatching 24 Chicken Eggs or Equivalent

Brinsea Large Incubator

PROS

  • Holds up to 24 chicken eggs, can hold larger eggs as well but not as many
  • Window allows for view of all of the eggs in the incubator
  • Great air circulationFlashing temp gauge that is very accurate
  • 90 percent hatch rate

CONS

  • Egg turner is sold separately
  • Humidity level is difficult to maintain

In Summary...

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!​

What You Need To Know About Your Chicken Egg Incubator – Before You Start Hatching

What You Need To Know About Your Chicken Egg Incubator - Before You Start Hatching

Baby chicken in egg carton

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

What You Need to Know About Chicken Incubator Temperature And Humidity

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.

Small Chicken Egg Incubator Used at Home

Note - Using a LCD display like the incubator above will make it a lot easier to stabilize the temperature and humidity in the incubator

​What Happens if the Humidity Level in an Egg Incubator is Too High or Too Low?

​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.

How To Increase Humidity In Your Incubator

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.

hygrometer for chicken egg incubator

Stand alone Hygrometers typically cost $10 to $30

Homemade Chicken Egg Incubators

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.

  • A STYROFOAM CONTAINER such as a Styrofoam cooler. It should be large enough to hold up to 4 dozen eggs at a time. Old refrigerators also work well.
  • A method to HEAT the incubator. Many chicken farmers use a 25 watt light bulb that is attached to a lamp that fits into a slot in the corner. Other chicken farmers also use a heating pad. You'll also need a thermometer to track how warm the incubator is
  • PEBBLES OR STONES that can hold the heat. These will be placed in the bottom of the container
  • WIRE MESH to separate the eggs from the heat source. When the eggs hatch this could be deadly to the chicks so it's best to preplan this to avoid any catastrophic injury
  • BOWL WITH SPONGE. This is where you'll keep the water to maintain the proper humidity. Again, keep the bowl behind the mesh to avoid drowning any chicks that may hatch during the night. It can be kept on the floor of the incubator or off to the side near the heat source as long as it's blocked from the hatchlings
  • HYGROMETER. This will help you to manage the humidity level. Some are attached to a thermometer so you could get one like this and use it to maintain temperature and humidity.
  • A FAN. An issue with a homemade incubator is that there are hot and cold spots. You may wish to install a fan to help generate an even temperature.

​Pros And Cons Of A Homemade Incubator

If you haven't had much or any experience with incubators before, then please take note:

PROS:

  • Can be made from recycled items that you may already have on hand
  • Easy to make if you're handy with tools
  • Can be less expensive

CONS:

  • Hatch rates are very low, sometimes as low as fifty percent
  • More challenging to keep the temperature and humidity at the same level in the incubator
  • Difficult to use if the room it's placed in has a fluctuating temperature
  • More risk of bacteria unless extreme precautions are taken at all times
  • Turning eggs in the incubator can be harder to do than a bought one
  • No guarantees that it will work

​What are the requirements for incubating eggs at home?

a larger chicken egg incubator

This is what a larger, semi-commercial chicken egg incubator looks like

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.

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Should eggs in an incubator be put small end down or up?

​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.

What is the best humidity level for baby chicks?

​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.

Older chicken incubator

An older chicken incubator

What is the best way to run the Egg Stasis Test?

​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.

​When incubating a double-yolked egg, should an egg which appears to only have one fetus be removed?

​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.

​Should water placed in an egg incubator be sterile?

​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 bought a "fertile" egg at the supermarket and threw it in an incubator would you get a 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.

In Summary...

​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!​

The Pros & Cons of Chicken Pens, and are They A Good Option for Your Flock?

The Pros & Cons of Chicken Pens, and are They A Good Option for Your Flock?

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.

Benefits Of Chicken Pen Compared To Other Options

A chicken pen is an ideal option if you're in an area that is subject to inclement weather. If your area is subject to flash floods, gale force winds or other weather patterns, you can easily move your pen if you've designed it properly.

What Makes A Good Chicken Pen?

  • A good chicken pen will keep your chickens from harm. It will help them to stay in a specific area and it will keep them safe from predators. It will offer your chickens a place to roost, peck at the gravel or dirt and offer some free range and sunshine.
  • A good pen will be sturdy enough to withstand predators yet comfortable enough for your chickens to safely enjoy their day out of doors.

Where Can You find Supplies?

  • There are many places that you can produce supplies for your chicken coop. If you have the money and wish to buy everything brand new you can go to a farm store, feed store, home improvement store, big box store or the like.
  • If you're into recycling you may wish to go a slightly different route and find recycled wood and fencing to build your pen with. You can stop at construction sites and ask what they do with their leftover wood, many will simply give it to you. It certainly can't hurt to ask, the worse they can say is "no".

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 

Pros 

  • No need to procure supplies.
  • Ready made.
  • Pre assembled.
  • Choose from many styles.

Cons 

  • Your options may be limited.
  • You may need a larger pen but not be able to add to it readily.
  • Some components may be sub par in quality.
  • May be pricey.
  • May not be as easy to clean.

Portable Pens

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

Pros 

  • By designing your own chicken pen you can make it as large or small as desired.
  • You can add to it if desired.
  • You're more in control of the overall cost of building your pen.
  • Can be designed for easier cleaning.
  • Building your own chicken pen can allow you the freedom of making it portable or stationary.

Cons 

  • You must procure supplies.
  • Some supplies may be difficult to locate.
  • Some supplies be be costly.
  • It takes more time to build your own pen.
  • You must have the proper tools to build your own pen.
  • You'll need to have a proper chicken pen design in mind.

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

  • Remember that you want your pen to be easy to clean out. Excessive amounts of ammonia can cause your chickens to have respiratory illnesses so be sure that you keep this in mind when you're setting up your pen.
  • Your pen should be cleaned out every month or every two months at the most. Use the feces for fertilizer (mix it in and allow it to decompose or it will actually burn your plants). If you have a movable pen you can move it when you clean it.
  • Always lock your pen up at night, chickens are easy prey for dogs, coyotes, wolves, possums, foxes and raccoons. Ensure that the latches can't be flicked open easily. Consider a barrel bolt latch or some other more complicated means of latching your coop for extra protection.
  • Consider adding hardware cloth to your pen as well. This can add an extra measure of protection keeping predators out.
  • Remember that your chicken pen is only as strong as you make it so make it a strong safe haven for your chickens.

Warnings

  • Avoid using particle board or strand board in your pen. It has harsh chemicals that can harm you chickens.
  • Check all laws and regulations if you're within the city limits. Some cities will allow you a few chickens but no roosters.

If you have any comments, queries or questions please use the contact page.

The 10 Best Chicken Coop Bedding Options – Reviewed

The 10 Best Chicken Coop Bedding Options – Reviewed

Laying down some new best chicken coop bedding

Table of Contents

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.

best chicken coop bedding - chicken laying eggs in nesting box

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.

What Exactly Is Animal Bedding?

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.

How Frequently Should I Change My Chicken Bedding?

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.

What Does The Bedding Do?

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.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Bedding And How Do They Differ?

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
Sawdust $ Frequently
Hemp $$$$$ ★★★★★ Once or twice per year

– Straw And Hay

Straw & Hay

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.

– Pine Shavings

pine shavings bedding for chicken coop

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.

best chicken coop bedding - excelsior nesting pads

Excelsior fibre pads are becoming a popular bedding material for chicken husbands.

– Excelsior Fiber

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

– Wood Shavings

Wood Shavings

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.

– Sand

Sand

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.

– Grass Clippings

Grass Clippings

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.

– Shredded Leaves

Shredded Leaves

Dry Leaves – can be a good chicken bedding

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.

– Recycled Paper

best chicken coop bedding - shredded paper

Best chicken coop bedding – Shredded Paper

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.

– Newspaper

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.

– Hemp

Hemp

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.

– Sawdust

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.

best chicken coop bedding - sawdust

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.

What are the popular choices for Chicken Coop Bedding in the different areas of my coop?

– Nesting Boxes

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.

– Coop

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.

– Run

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.

Summary

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.

How To Keep Snakes Away

How To Keep Snakes Away From Your Yard And Chicken Coop

how to keep snakes away - crawling in yard

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.

8 Ways to Keep Snakes Away From Your House

Method$Ease Of UseSuccess RateAvailability
Keep Yard Tidy$★★★★★★★★★★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
  • Remember, many of the above mentioned traps are not friendly for chickens. Be sure that if you're using a trap you keep it a safe distance from your chicken coop or make sure that it's safe for use around chickens.
  • All of the above mentioned in the table work well no matter if you're in the city or a rural or suburban area. However, if you're living in a city you may not be able to use the vibrations as readily.

5 Things You Can Do Today to Keep Snakes Away From Your Yard

- Look Your Property Over

how to keep snakes away - snake on roof

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.

Tips to Keep Your Yard Snake Free:​

  • Avoid Clutter in and around your yard. If you have old vehicles that are no longer running get them removed
  • Keep your yard mowed. Snakes like tall grass where there is plenty of cover and they can hide
  • ​Although snakes themselves are predators, they are afraid of predatory birds and other animals that are large
  • Eliminate the habitat for other animals in your yard such as mice and rats and you've just eliminated the source of food for snakes

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.

Pros:

  • This method works very well and puts the homeowner in charge of the situation.
  • Easy to check and maintain
  • Inexpensive to do

Cons:

  • You must be vigilant and keep your yard maintained, remove clutter as it appears and be aware of your yards condition at all times.
  • If you're not able to do the work you'll have to hire someone to do it for you.

- Chemical Snake Repellents

Nature's MACE SNAKE Repellent

Nature's MACE SNAKE Repellent

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.

Pros:

  • Most repellents trigger avoidance in snakes because snakes don't like the scent or feeling of the repellent. They will try to avoid it.

Cons:

  • Depending upon the repellent you use you may have to reapply it if it rains or if he scent fades easily.
  • Always remember that snakes are simply seeking an easy meal. Your chickens and those fresh eggs will always be appealing to a snake so you'll want to ensure that you're taking care to protect your chicken coop from unexpected company as well as your yard.

- Snake Traps

Snake Trap

Image Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Pros:

  • These work well and are easy to set up.
  • They are relatively inexpensive.

Cons:

  • However you're going to have to “empty” the trap when it's full so keep this in mind when you're approaching the trap. If the snake is alive it may be a bit more challenging depending upon how the snake is caught in the trap.
  • Remember, you can spray cooking oil spray on the glue to help the snake release itself so that you don't have to actually touch the snake, all you have to do is relocate the snake.

- Snake Fences

How to keep snakes away - Snake Fence Made From Hardware Cloth

Hardware Cloth is a good inexpensive way to create a physical barrier to keep snakes out 

How Does A Snake Fence Work?

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.

Pros:

  • These work very well to keep snakes out of your yard

Cons:

  • You're going to have to remember to keep them in good condition. If there is a breach in your fence you risk a snake in your yard or your chicken coop.
  • Cost (there are a variety of fencing options and your cost will be dependent upon your choice in fencing materials.
  • If you have a large yard, garden, pond or pool you're going to have to build a fairly large fence.

- Basement Sealer

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.

Pros:

  • This works very well as long as it's maintained.

Cons:

  • You must revisit your foundation and ensure that new cracks or holes don't appear. If they do appear you must seal them off quickly. Typically you'll have to check about three or four times per year to ensure that there aren't any potential snake entries to your home.
  • Cost will be dependent upon materials used to seal off holes or cracks.

How to Keep Snakes Away Summary Checklist

  • Start by learning more about the snakes in your area
  • Keep your yard free from clutter
  • keep your chicken coop clean and regularaly inspect it for snakes
  • Choose lower growing plants over tall ones
  • remove water sources on the ground
  • Rid your yard of pests (rodents, insects etc. that snakes like to feed on)
  • Patch up holes in your yard, home and foundation
  • Use sulfur powder around your home and yard
  • Create vibrations that they don't like to repel them

FAQ about How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Yard

 - Do some of these work better on different species of snakes?

None of the above mentioned methods seem to work better on any specific species of snake.

 - Does where I live matter with snake repellents?

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.

 - I have Read that Mothballs Work Well, Should I Use Them?

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.

The Ultimate Buyers Guide To Chicken Cages

The Ultimate Buyers Guide to Chicken Cages for the Suburbs (and Hobby Farms)

Chicken in Chicken Cages - Buyers Guide Page

Table of Contents

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.

What is a Chicken Cage Anyway?

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.

What To Look For In A Chicken Cage

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.

Mobile Cages – Pros vs Cons

Pros

  • If you're using a mobile cage you can move it about your yard and garden thus offering fertilizer to various areas of your yard as needed.
  • You can take advantage of exposure to the sun and prevent the chickens from having to be out in an area that may receive a lot of the wind or even rain.

Cons

  • If there are weather related issues such as too much wind or rain you'll have to build a cover or wind brace for the cage.
  • Size limited – You can only build a movable cage so big
  • Can be less secure and more prone to predator attacks

Immobile Cages – Pros vs Cons

Pros

  • If you're using a mobile cage you can move it about your yard and garden thus offering fertilizer to various areas of your yard as needed.
  • You can take advantage of exposure to the sun and prevent the chickens from having to be out in an area that may receive a lot of the wind or even rain.
  • Tend to be more secure (you can even build it above ground to stop predators digging to get in)

Cons

  • You'll have to clean out your chicken cage more frequently and then turn your chicken manure and used bedding into compost.
  • You'll need an area to store your used bedding and manure while it's turned into compost.
  • You're stuck with the cage where it's built.

So What Should You Choose?

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.

Can I still be free range if I have a stationary chicken cage?

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.

Special Notes On Free Range Chickens

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.

What Size Chicken Cage Do I need?

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.

How Much Yard Space Do I Need?

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 Different Features And Security Measures Of Chicken Cages

Choosing Your Net Or Wire

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

For a 24 inch by 50 foot roll (1/2 inch) joins you can expect to pay approx $40. Available here

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.

Chicken Netting

Chicken Netting is approx $15-$20 for a roll. Sizes Vary from 2-3 foot tall by 50 foot long. Available Here.

Chicken Wire

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 Fence – We found a great resource for putting one up here

Chain Link

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.

Rabbit Wire Fence

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.

Rabbit wire fence can be also used in chicken cages as extra protection

This rabbit wire fence has reinforcement at the bottom where it is most likely needed. See this and more rabbit wire fence types here.

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 Wire, Do You Need it?

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.

Tips for Dealing with Predators

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.

A sensor light such as this one can deter predators and alert you when there is a cause for concern. More detail here

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.

dog and chicken

Dogs can protect chickens from other predators, but must be trained properly

Extra Security for 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.

Should You Choose a Cage Floor, or a Dirt Floor?

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.

What Else is Needed to Keep Chickens in a Chicken Cage?

Perches

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.

Nesting Boxes

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?

Chicken nesting box

A happy chicken in a nesting box. This one and other like it are available here.

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.

Chicken Run

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.

What is The Average Price Of A Chicken Cage?

More details on ready made chicken cages just like this one can be found here

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.

Another example of a ready made cage suitable for chickens. More detail here

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.

Where to Find Chicken Cages

You can start looking online at places like Amazon and Walmart. Home Depot, Lowes and your local hardware store is likely to sell equipment for you to put together your 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.

Where to go from here…

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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