It’s happening. You’re becoming one of those people.
A chicken tender!
No, not the fast food version — quite the opposite. You’re becoming a person who tends chickens. Their clucks and pecks have touched your heart and it’s only a matter of time before you turn a brood of two or three chickens into a full-blown flock.
But even before you bring your first chicken home, you’ll want to determine where to buy a chicken coop for your feathered friends.
Read on to learn:
- The benefits of a chicken coop
- What your chickens need in their coop
- Where to buy a chicken coop
Why Your Chickens Need a Coop
Chicken raising is no longer confined to Old MacDonald’s farm.
Over the past decade, suburban and urban homesteading has become trendy among those interested in sustainability and healthier food sources. As a result, backyard chicken keeping has surged in popularity across the United States.
Although these suburban farmers might feel safe behind white picket fences and gated communities, your chickens are still susceptible to predators. It’s not uncommon to hear of entire flocks being decimated overnight by any number of creatures that roam the neighborhood, including dogs, raccoons, and foxes.
Besides protecting your chickens (and their eggs) from other animals, coops offer your chickens protection from the elements. The sun can be oppressive in the summer and in the winter, you probably want to avoid frozen chickens outside of the grocery store.
What Do Your Chickens Need in Their Coop
Before you can determine where to buy a chicken coop, you need to know what to look for.
Most experienced chicken keepers will tell you that your chickens need at least four square feet per bird, and at least three feet of height to the structure. But, they’ll also make it clear that this is the minimum.
If your chickens will only be in the coop at night, and you can wake up with the sun to let them out, the minimum will be adequate. But, if you specifically nixed the rooster to avoid getting up at the crack of dawn, then you’ll want to give your chickens more space.
Now, don’t get carried away thinking about the poultry palace you’re going to buy, because a larger coop will be more difficult to heat in the winter.
And, even if you decide you’ll just fill in the space with more chickens (because chicken math is a factor), you have to check your local zoning laws to see if you’re allowed to build the chicken army stronghold you’re dreaming of.
Other accoutrements to consider for your egg chalet include:
- A roost: Chickens prefer to sleep above the ground. Give them a cozy perch inside their coop, with at least one foot of space per bird. They need enough room to fly up to the perch and argue about sleeping arrangements.
- A chicken run: No matter how big their coop is, chickens need space to roam outside during the day. Provide an additional 10 square feet per chicken to bathe, scratch, and forage in the dirt.
- Ventilation: Adjustable vents are crucial to your chicken’s health. Not only will they help you keep your coop at an appropriate temperature in different seasons — vents clear the air of ammonia from chicken droppings.
- Nest boxes: These aren’t strictly necessary, but will make it a lot easier for you to find eggs. You only need one per three or four chickens.
- A pop door: This is the chicken-sized door on your coop.
- A human door: This is the human-sized door on your coop. You’ll need to get in there to clean out the droppings and gather eggs.
- Egg access doors: You can make egg gathering even easier with doors that offer outdoor access to your nest boxes.
- Feeder and waterer: Make sure you have a space for your chickens’ feed and water where there’s no risk of it being contaminated by their droppings.
- Electricity: A coop with electricity can make your life a lot easier, with things like automatic feeders, heated water bowls, and an automatic locking pop door.
- Wheels: If you have the willpower to maintain a smaller brood, a mobile chicken coop can keep your grass healthy and offer fresh areas for your chickens to explore.
Where to Buy a Chicken Coop
Now that you have a better idea of what you’ll need to tend chickens, you can decide where to buy a chicken coop.
Buy a Chicken Coop from A Local Shed Business
If you’re the type to have a backyard homestead, you’re also the type to understand the value of buying local.
If you’re trying to figure out where to buy a chicken coop in Central Illinois, Countryside Barns is a family owned and operated business that specializes in customized and portable shed design.
We have pre-built chicken coops that include easy lift egg access doors, nesting boxes, and roosts. We can also add electricity or make it mobile depending on your needs.
A customized chicken coop means you can have a structure that adds beauty to your yard. Your chickens won’t care what the coop looks like, but you might!
Your chicken coop can look like a tiny barn or a cottage. We can even add a bench inside so that you can cozy up with your flock.
Additionally, with a local company like ours, you know that the construction will be sound. Our structures are built, delivered, and installed by our employees to ensure the highest quality end result.
Buy a Chicken Coop on Craigslist
You may not be the DIY type, but plenty of people feel confident about building their own chicken coop.
It’s possible to find a good deal on a homemade or used chicken coop on Craigslist. However, chicken coops aren’t posted very frequently, and when they are, there will be other people with the same idea ready to snap it up before you can say “cock-a-doodle-doo”.
There are also risks involved with acquiring a chicken coop from Craigslist. In terms of your chickens’ safety, you don’t have any guarantees that the structure itself will be sound. A determined dog can easily crash through a flimsy chicken coop.
You also want to be sure that the structure isn’t drafty, with boards that are thin or misaligned.
Additionally, a used chicken coop runs the risk of disease. There are a variety of bacterial and viral chicken diseases that could be harbored in a used coop. Histoplasmosis is a fungus found in old chicken houses that can even cause respiratory issues in humans.
Buy a Chicken Coop from Walmart or Amazon
A brand new chicken coop purchased from a large business like Walmart or Amazon will mean it’s definitely disease-free. It’s also hard to beat the price.
But the old adage is true — you get what you pay for. The chicken coops you can buy online or from a big box store tend to be low-quality, and unlikely to withstand the elements for very long.
Additionally, they usually claim to hold more chickens than would be safe or comfortable for your birds.
Final Thoughts: Where to Buy a Chicken Coop in Central Illinois
When you’re deciding where to buy a chicken coop, make sure you start by considering the health and well-being of your chickens. Happy chickens make delicious eggs, and delicious eggs make all the chicken tending worth it.
If you’re ready to start designing your dream chicken coop, visit our Shed Designer to plan out your poultry palace.