How to build a family chicken coop. Image: Cynthia Farmer – Shutterstock.
This hen house allows to have up to 10 to 15 laying hens in a family production model. Whenever there is a more or less large space, limited by some type of fence, hens of more than 5 months should be allowed to graze. Pecking in the field allows the animal to incorporate good quality proteins (soil bugs), also the incorporation of seeds provides essential nutrients. This “grazing” activity allows diversifying the diet and improving the physical condition, which increases the resistance of the birds to diseases.
It is convenient to take into account that for an ecological management of the animals it is recommended that they have a space (exercise and pecking area) of 4 m2 per animal (FAO data). For 10 hens, an additional 40 m2 would be needed, which should be rotated with another 40 m2, so that the vegetation is regenerated in each farm.
In case you need to keep the hens permanently enclosed in the indicated space, it is recommended to house 10 animals as long as adequate cleaning and feeding conditions are met. It is very important to carry out the breeding until the first positions, in a closed and protected place, in such a way that the animals get used to the place and lay their eggs in the nests that we prepare for them and not elsewhere.
The roosting and nest shed must be protected from prevailing winds and must have good exposure to light, the openings are protected by woven wire to prevent the entry of nocturnal predators. In very cold times, transparent plastic curtains (polyethylene) are placed in said openings, the kind used for greenhouses. It is important to remember that laying hens need 14 hours of light. In autumn winter, when the days get very short, artificial light should be used from 6 or 7 p.m. or in the morning before sunrise, to ensure the setting.
The construction with cardboard sheets on the roofs and sides allows a better shelter for the birds, in very cold areas.
You can find the detailed construction guide at this link : Family chicken coops