Beginners Guide For Keeping Chickens


Chicken coops need to serve several functions. They need to be able to keep the chickens sheltered from bad weather as rain and cold are two big enemies of chickens, as well as heat in some areas. Chicken coops need to be able to house chickens in a way that’s healthy and clean, with good ventilation. Plus, chicken coops also need to keep chickens safe from predators. Ventilation is one problem that’s hard to solve- and many people confuse being out of drafts for good ventilation. Good ventilation means that the hot wet air naturally generated in the coop by the birds and their droppings can leave the coop easily. And finally the coop needs to be predator proof. There are all sorts of predators that want to eat chickens – from raccoons to hawks. Snakes like to eat eggs and baby chicks. Even the neighbor’s dog can be a serious threat. The coop should be well constructed with good locks and fencing that can’t be ripped apart or manipulated/mauled by a predator. Cracks and holes should be sealed if possible. A well fenced chicken yard is a good start to keeping out most predators and a covered and protected run keeps the chickens safe from aerial predatory birds.

The general rule on space per chicken is thus: For the coop you need 4 square feet per standard size bird and 2 square feet per bantam. In the run you need 8 square feet per standard sized chicken and 6 per bantam. And of course, the more room you can provide in their living quarters, the better.


You may find yourself sampling different chicken feeds to find one your flock likes best. Chicks need a special food, and layers need another kind. Thankfully the info on what to feed and when is always printed right on the bag so you know what you’re feeding. Feeders designed for chickens are readily available. Whatever way to choose to offer your feed to your flock is up to you, but the same rules apply to food- food has to be kept from getting poop in it, and it has to stay dry and fresh. And, it needs to be available to laying flocks at all times. Water is also something that chickens need constant access to and it needs to be clean and fresh and always available. Chicken waters are easy to find. Some have to be heated to keep water from freezing solid in the winter. There are lots of DIY watering systems available to look at on the internet, as chicken keepers are never satisfied with watering systems. But, a basic bucket cleaned and filled daily works for most.

Disease and Overall Health

Unfortunately, chickens are prone to a lot of parasites and sickness, a lot like people and other pets are. Chickens also do things like eat their own eggs, or even cannibalize. Chickens need to stay engaged and mentally healthy, too. A clean living environment that is well ventilated and plenty of clean water and good food is a good start to helping keep sickness at bay. Having a large space to graze and peck at is necessary – keeping in mind the general requirements for minimum space needs will also help keep birds happy and healthy.