As we faced the new and challenging COVID-19 situation in 2020, the lockdowns and other safety measures led to many impulse purchases and stock-piling on items we didn’t even need. Besides the waste of money, and getting short on storage, this helped make us reflect on our lifestyles and the choices we make.
With all the supermarket shortages and a higher demand for eggs as well as other foods, many used the chance to take matters into their own hands by getting their own flocks of chickens. Thus starting a journey of sustainability!
It might seem like too much work but the benefits you’d get outweigh the money, effort and time you invest in this hobby. Just get your chickens, provide them with a nice shelter outside in the form of a compact and functional chicken shed, neither too big nor too small for them, and you’re good.
So, What Are the Benefits You Can Expect to Reap?
To name a few, you’d have the chance to eat organic eggs and meat knowing they’re free of any nasties as you feed your feathered friends with the best in terms of food and supplements. This is followed by being more in touch with nature, and paving your way to sustainability since chickens would help you cut down your waste considering they’re more than happy to eat any leftovers.
Moreover, this means you’d also be able to use nutrient-dense manure as your own natural compost and fertiliser for your stunning piece of land and all the fruits, veggies and herbs you’d grow. Don’t be surprised if these changes in your life make you become even more eco-aware, as you make room for less plastic, and you become mindful with the chemicals and make a switch for eco cleaning products.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
Having in mind chickens are sociable, you’d be better off getting more than a pair so they’d keep each other company. As the regulations differ depending on where you’re planning on having the chicken flock, be it urban or rural area, you can check on the allowed number by finding out more of the local laws that apply to your specific location. Once you make sure you’re not breaking any law, you can move on to establishing the coop.
A Sturdy Shed
If you want to save yourself some precious time and trouble, instead of building a coop yourself using wood, a metal chicken shed with secure locks is a better alternative in the long run. More so when you realise it’s also more hygienic and would help better protect your girls from predators like snakes, foxes, raccoons, hawks, owls, dogs and cats, as it’s sturdy and corrosion resistant.
Available in a variety of sizes, as well as colours, these sheds can be found in user-friendly designs so you won’t have too much trouble in assembling them on the spot with a DIY project as they come with the needed bolts, steel angles and step-by-step instructions. If you aren’t too sure about the size, have in mind the minimum is a square meter to allow the chickens to walk and run as they see fit without getting in each other’s way.
Of course, this aspect also depends on the location of where you install the shed, and whether or not you plan to expand the flock in the future. In case you want to get the full shed package, look for those that are also equipped with feeders and drinkers, and offer you a nice view of your chickens by having a part that’s covered with mesh.
Many wouldn’t mind having the whole design covered with metal but in fact chicken shed with mesh is a welcome addition when you want to provide the flock with good ventilation too and protect them from respiratory problems from fumes that come from faeces and decaying bedding. If you’re set on buying one without mesh, then you’d have to add a fan for air circulation, especially needed in the hot summer days and nights.
You may not find this to be a necessity, but if you think of the chickens’ comfort, then you require a roosting bar, or a whole roosting area. This would provide them with the safe space where they can go to and have the needed sleep at night considering they don’t like sleeping on lower ground out of safety reasons. In addition, this would also prevent any territorial problems inside your coop as it allows the chickens to keep their social hierarchy on the roost bar.
This is especially important if you’re keeping your flock for eggs. The lack of sufficient nesting boxes within the chicken house will interfere with the egg production if you have more chickens, so it’s in your favour to provide them with as many boxes as you can for proper laying space.
Now, besides getting a metal coop that would make inspection, maintenance and cleanliness piece of cake, you’d significantly benefit by introducing a board for droppings underneath the roosting area where chickens sleep at night. Not only would it prevent them from stepping on their own faeces, it would also make it easy to scoop up the droppings to add to the compost pile, then wash up and place the board back in.