Best Chicken Waterer: A Buyer’s Guide

Best Chicken Waterer: A Buyer’s Guide

We all know hens need water….but do you know what’s the best chicken waterer to make sure your fluffy butts are safe?

 

A good chicken waterer can make or break your flock. During the summer, it needs to provide consistent access to cool water to avoid heat stroke. In winter, it needs to be tough, so it doesn’t freeze over.

 

In this article, we’ll explore the various options available for chicks and adult hens. Chicken waterers are the easiest and best way to water chickens, regardless of season OR flock size.

 

The best chicken waterer we recommend:

 

The best chicken waterer for summer:

The best chicken waterer for winter (to keep water from freezing):

Why do I need a chicken waterer?

In short, because chickens need consistent access to water. Without it, they’ll become dehydrated, sick, and eventually, they’ll die. Waterers also let you keep track of your flocks liquid intake. This is especially important on hot days, or if they seem sick or stop laying eggs.

And if you want to provide herbs to your flock, soaking the herbs in water makes it easier to ensure all your hens get the benefits.

 

Chicken water feeders, or drinkers, come in a variety of sizes and shapes – what’s most important is that the waterer is safe, can hold enough water to last your chickens all day, and that your flock can’t knock it over and dump the contents everywhere.

 

How many chicken waterers do I need?

It’s best to have 1 waterer for every 5 chickens, especially during the summer (very hot climates might want to have 2+ waterers per chicken, especially if you’ll be gone all day.) If you have less than 1 waterer per 5 chickens, you will probably have to fill it up more frequently. If you use a automatic chicken waterer system like nipples, you just need to make sure there’s enough water in the system for all your chickens.

 

Different Kinds of Chicken Waterers

There’s different options with waterers and chicken water drinkers, and it’s best to know all the available options so you can pick the right one for your flock. (You can also check out the best chicken feeders I recommend here.)

 

There’s several kinds of waterers:

  • Mason jar waterers
  • Plastic waterers
  • Stainless steel waterers
  • Nipple waterers
  • Pet bowls
  • Drinker cups

 

Mason jar waterers

These are perfect for chicks, and they’re relatively inexpensive. They’re not the best for adults, however, because they don’t typically hold enough water. You will have to clean them daily, otherwise mold and moisture build up on bottom of the waterer, and form a gnarly bacteria culture.

 

Plastic waterers

These are an affordable option, and they’re also easy to clean. Sometimes they hold enough water for chickens, especially if you have a flock of 1-5 chickens. They’re also good for bantam chicken flocks. For larger flocks, however, they typically don’t hold enough to last all day. Like the mason jar waterers, you need to clean these daily.

 

Stainless steel waterers

These tend to be bigger than plastic waterers, but the same issue applies. They’re usually not big enough to accommodate flocks of 10 or more chickens (although you can use more than one waterer). They’re also usually heavier, so they’re harder for hens to knock over (which is a good thing). This is one of the easiest to use for all chicken breeds.

 

Nipple waterers

These systems make watering chickens very easy, and it keeps the water cleaner than the options above. Typically, the water supply is housed in a barrel, and the water automatically fills the nipples. Your chickens can then get a drink whenever they want.

 

The downside is that:

  • they’re sometimes hard to clean,
  • don’t provide a lot of water at once,
  • have a learning curve for your flock,
  • and tend to be more expensive.

 

Pet bowls

Yep, you can use a large canine pet bowl for your chickens – they work great. They’re durable, easy to clean, and can hold a lot of water. There’s nothing that says you need to spend a lot! (You can learn about other costs of owning a chicken here.)

 

These are also great if you need cheap or DIY chicken feeder ideas.

 

One downside is that your chickens can easily tip them over (you can always place rocks in them), and the water can get dirty very easily. 

 

Drinker cups

These are a type of automatic waterer that fills a drinking cup at eye level whenever your chickens are thirsty. They’re easy to set up and for chickens to learn to use. One downside is a lot of them aren’t very deep (so your chickens won’t get a lot of water per swallow) and they can freeze during winter.

 

How Much Water Does A Chicken Drink?

On average, chickens drink about a quart of water daily – so your waterers should be able to hold enough to keep each member of your flock happy. Using an automatic chicken waterer is the easiest way to make sure your flock has enough to drink. If your chickens become dehydrated, they can become sick or they might not lay eggs as efficiently.

 

What Should A Chicken Waterer Be Made Of?

Your chicken waterer can be made of several different materials:

  • Plastic,
  • Rubber, and/or
  • Stainless steel

There’s advantages and disadvantages to each option.

 

What’s better, plastic, rubber, or stainless steel?

On a grand scale, all are equally just as good – so when deciding on the best chicken waterer for your flock, choose the material that works best for your situation.

 

Plastic is always going to be easier to clean, especially in crevices. Rubber tends to shred, or get marks on it where bacteria can hide. It’s important to note, however, that plastic is less durable, and more likely to be cracked than rubber or stainless steel.

 

However, in winter, rubber tends to freeze less than plastic or metal. With a stainless steel chicken waterer, it’s important to take note that in the winter it can freeze faster, so if you don’t use a water heater, plastic or rubber is the better choice to go with.

 

With rubber heater buckets they tend to be black, this is so they’ll attract heat, and make the frozen water melt faster. (You can learn more about how to keep chicken water from freezing here.)

 

These are a type of solar heated chicken waterer – so using a rubber ground feeder, you can make your own diy heated chicken waterer. Amazon has good options, and there are many tutorials and resource material available on the internet to make a chicken waterer diy.

 

Watch this video for more information:

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Do Chickens Need An Automatic Waterer?

Your flock doesn’t necessarily need an automatic waterer, but it can make it easier to ensure that your chickens have access to water all the time. This is especially during the summer, when heat stroke can take its toll (learn more about how to keep chickens cool here).

 

On average, a mature chicken can drink approximately 1 quart of water each day in temperatures from 40 – 75, and even more in hot weather. They’ll also tend to drink more in winter, when the air is drier, so if you live in an area with long winters, consider investing in a 1 gallon heated chicken waterer.


In the winter, if you have an automatic waterer make sure that it will work in sub-freezing temperatures.

 

This is the automatic waterer we recommend:

 

What Size Chicken Waterer Is Best?

For adult chickens, it’s best to get 1 waterer per 5-6 chickens, and possibly more if you have flock bullies. Especially during summer, it’s important to make sure everyone can access water. You’ll need a waterer that holds about 1-2 gallons, if you have a flock of 5-6 chickens.

 

For day old chicks, a mason waterer is best. It holds enough water, and is shallow enough so your chicks won’t drown.

 

If you have adult chickens or chickens over 16 weeks, a 5-gallon bucket waterer is perfect – just make sure to turn it into an automatic waterer like in this video. While it’s tempting to just put the 5 gallon bucket in the coop, it’s too deep, and your chickens might fall in and drown.  

 

 

Should I Use A Nipple System For My Chickens?

Many people are happy with a chicken water feeder that includes nipples. They do have to be set up, but are handy devices designed to give water to chickens with minimal mess. Make sure your flock can get enough water, and also remember to hang it just a few inches above ground so your chickens can reach it. To hang it, use a stud or 2×4 board, since the waterer tends to be heavy..

 

In winter, these aren’t the best choice because they’re typically made with metal, which can freeze easily.

 

Should I Use Drinker Cups?

Using drinker cups might be the best chicken waterer system for your flock since it’s an easy and affordable automatic system. Remember to check the depth of the cups – in some cases, they aren’t deep enough for an adult chicken to get enough water. These are great for chicks, though, because they prevent the baby chicks from falling into the water and drowning.

 

Also, make sure any pipes in the drinker cup system are easy to clean or replace when they’re dirty. It’s important to prevent bacteria from forming and harming your flock.

 

Should I Use A Water Heater In Winter?

You can use a heated chicken waterer, just make sure it’s safe and won’t cause a fire. In Southern areas of the USA, it’s not really necessary as long as temperatures don’t get below freezing (especially during the day).  Plastic or rubber are also the least likely to freeze. (You can learn how to keep water from freezing with this trick – it also works for heated duck waterers too).

 

In some areas of the US, you likely will have to use a water heater, especially if temps in your area are consistently under 32 degrees F. Insulated chicken waterers are another option, however, even they will freeze eventually.

 

If you do use a water heater, it’s best to not use an extension cord because this can spark a fire. Always plug directly into a socket, and frequently check the cord to make sure it’s in good condition.

 

Where Can I Buy Chicken Waterers:

 

The Top Waterers On Amazon

Harris Farms Plastic Poultry Drinker  3.5 Gallon

This Harris Farms chicken waterer has the capacity to hold a 3.5 gallon of water, it’s durable and easy to fill with a twist-lock system that comes with a hanger/carry handle.

 

LITTLE GIANT Automatic Waterer, 5 Quart

Created by Little Giant, this easy to assemble and clean automatic waterer can hold up to 5 quarts of water providing a continuous flow of fresh water for adult poultry. The automatic float controls the water level to ensure that there is no spilling or overflow. The cover prevents roosting and keeps debris out of the water and it has a 0.75-inch hose that attaches to a standard garden hose.

 

Miller Manufacturing 740 Mason Jar Water Base

Designed by Miller Manufacturing, this plastic base waterer is perfect for poultry and game birds. It’s molded from shock resistant polystyrene and fits a model 690.

 

5 Gallon Chicken Waterer – Horizontal Side Mount Poultry Nipples

Created by RentACoop, this chicken waterer has the capacity to hold 5 gallons and is made from 100% food grade and BPA free plastic. The horizontal nipples prevent the ground/bedding from getting wet and comes with a no-roost cone to keep the lid clean and bacteria free. It comes in complete setup no assembly required!

 

RentACoop Automatic Chicken Water Nipple Cup Waterer Kit for Poultry

Created by RentACoop, this automatic chicken waterer doesn’t need tabs to push and the cups are always half full! It’s a solution for clean water for ducks, geese, turkeys, and an innovative chicken water drinker.  Watch this video to see how it works:

 

 

 

Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Twin Waterer with Automatic Valve Operated Cup

Designed by Royal Rooster, this twin waterer is a no-mess solution to water your chickens or ducks! It’s easy to fill and clean and hooks straight onto mesh or attach to the wall with brackets.  It has the capacity of 1-gallon cup style drinker (suits 4-6 chickens/ducks), 20” tall, UV stable, durable PVC plastic, Australian made quality.

 

Premier Chick Nipple Waterer

Created by Premier, this nipple waterers has a 1-liter capacity that sits or hangs above the litter so water is always clean. It’s ideal for easy clean-up and a no-mess solution to giving waterers to chickens.

 

Farm Innovators Model HPF-100 “All-Seasons” Heated Plastic Poultry Fountain, 3 Gallon

Designed by Farm Innovators, this is by customer demand one of the best chicken waterer on Amazon. It’s a premier one chicken waterer that has the capacity to hold 3 gallons and it prevents water from freezing down to 0-degree F due to it being thermostatically controlled. It’s an all-around heated duck waterer and one of the most well reviewed heated chicken waterer Amazon has.

 

Premier Chick Nipple Drinker with Wall Bracket

Created by Premier, this 1-liter nipple drinker can sit or hang above the litter to ensure that water is clean and fresh, comes with a wall bracket for hanging on a brooder or coop wall. The lightweight wire hanging bracket is also included with the nipple waterer for attachment to the cage.

 

Muddy Hill Farm Sideways Sipper Horizontal Drinker Nipple – Spring Action, No drip, Side Mount, Poultry Nipple Drinker

Designed by Muddy Hill Farm, this sipper uses a horizontal drinking nipple to ensure no drips and leaks, unlike vertical nipples. Easy to install with its unique wing-like shape, just drill a ⅜” hole in your plastic container and screw in the Sideways Sipper Horizontal Poultry Drinker Nipple.

 

How To Clean A Waterer

How Do You Clean A Chicken Waterer?

To clean a chicken waterer:

  1. Soak the entire waterer in hot water
  2. With a stiff cleaning brush, gently scrub away dirt and bacteria.
  3. You can also use a gentle soap (make sure you get all the soap out of the waterer after scrubbing).
  4. If you don’t want to use soap, you can use hot water and white vinegar instead.
  5. Make sure all residue is cleaned off the waterer before returning it to your chicken coop.

It is important to clean your chicken water dispenser often. because nasties like bacteria, dirt, or algae can contaminate your flock’s water. In some cases (like stainless steel or nipples), you might also notice rust buildup on your waterer. Clean your vessel monthly with a brush, hot water, and a gentle dish soap. If you do not want to use soap, you can use white vinegar instead (we use this when cleaning our chicken incubators to get rid of bacteria.)

 

Is Bleach Harmful To Chickens?

In large quantities, it’s poisonous. Because chickens are so much smaller than humans, they feel the effects of bleach fumes more than we do. When cleaning your chicken waterers, it’s best to steer clear of bleach and use milder options.

 

How Much Vinegar Do You Put In Chicken Water?

If you want to clean your waterer with vinegar, use 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water. Be sure to clean your waterers with hot water, and use a stiff brush to scrape away dirt and buildup. If you want to give your chickens apple cider vinegar in their water, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per 1 gallon of water, and add the mixture to their water dispenser.

 

How Do I Keep Algae Out Of My Chicken Waterer?

To keep algae out of chicken water:

  1. Keep your waterers out of the sun
  2. Clean them frequently
  3. Use a fountain, or other waterer that’ll keep water moving

 

Algae grows in standing water that’s in sunlight. So, to keep your flock’s water algae-free, make sure to keep their waterer out of direct sunlight, and clean them frequently. Since algae grows in standing water, you can also use a fountain since the moving water makes it harder for algae to grow.

 

Can Chickens Drink Water Out Of A Bowl?

Yes – large canine bowls (for great danes or irish wolfhounds, for example) are best. You can use just about anything that can hold liquid to give water to your chickens. Some common devices to keep hens from flipping over their water bowl are halves of tires, tip-over pails, rocks, and tubs.  

 

Can Chickens Drink Cold Water?

Yes. Chickens like drinking nice cool water. During summer months, you can provide cool water for most of the day by putting a block of ice in their waterer in the morning. Even in the winter, chickens will prefer cool water over hot.

 

Do Chickens Need Lots Of Water?

The average chicken drinks about 1 quart of water a day. So, you will need to provide enough water to satisfy your entire flock. You’ll also need to check their water intake in winter to make sure they’re drinking enough – otherwise, they might become dehydrated.

 

How Much Water Do Chickens Need A Day?

A typical full-grown laying hen will on average need a quart of water on a daily basis, however, this varies on the size of the hen, seasons, and outdoor temperature. Do not limit a chicken’s water because having an inconsistent supply of water will stop them from laying eggs and their health will deteriorate.

 

Do Chickens Need Water Inside Their Coop?

Yes, especially if they stay in a coop and/or run full time. Even though chickens don’t drink once they roost, they’ll be up at the crack of dawn (since chickens see more colors than we do, they’re up earlier). They’ll want a drink as soon as they wake up and start moving. During summer, they might return to their coop because it’s shady. In winter, they might not want to leave to stay warm. So, it’s always a good idea to keep water in your chicken coop. You can learn about what your coop should include here.

 

Do Free Range Chickens Need Water?

Free range chickens are no exceptions – they still need an adequate amount of water for them to remain healthy. They need a clean, fresh water source in the garden or access to their waterer located in the chicken coop.

 

Can Chickens Go Without Water At Night?

Yes, because once night falls and they roost, chickens usually won’t want to eat or drink. However, it’s still a good idea to keep water in their coop. Once they wake up and start moving, they will want water.

 

How Long Can Chickens Be Without Water?

Chickens can be without water for a couple days, but it’s not recommended. To remain healthy and to lay eggs, chickens need full time access to water. Without it, they can become dehydrated and stop laying eggs. It can take several weeks for them to recover.

 

Will Chickens Drink Dirty Water?

Yes, they will. Chickens aren’t too picky. However, it’s not a good idea to give them dirty water. It can contain harmful bacteria or mold, or any other thing that can make your flock sick. It’s best to provide fresh, clean water at all times.

 

Will Antifreeze Kill Chickens?

Yes, antifreeze is poisonous to chickens. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic – it can take just a few drops to kill a chicken. It’s always best to keep your antifreeze away from your chickens (and other household pets).

 

Can I Put Apple Cider Vinegar In My Chickens Water?

Yes, chickens love apple cider vinegar, and it’s easiest to offer it to your flock in water. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per 1 gallon of water. You can learn more about apple cider vinegar and chickens here.

 

Which do you think is the best chicken waterer? Leave a comment below!

What To Do In Your Coop In July

What To Do In Your Coop In July

It’s July, and the middle of summer comes with it’s own special chores. Here’s what to do in your coop in July so you raise a healthy flock of hens, ducks, geese, and more!

 

Keep out pests with herbs and spices

Use cinnamon, peppermint, wormwood, and other herbs to prevent pests. You can also use a blend such as PestsBGone.

 

THOROUGHLY CHECK ALL FLOCK MEMBERS FOR SIGNS OF FLY STRIKE!!

Fly strike can be (and often is) deadly, but you might be able to prevent it if you’re vigilant. If your hens have any cuts or abrasions, be sure to clean the wound thoroughly DAILY and cover if possible.

 

If it looks like your chicken or duck is excessively bothered by flies, bring him or her inside, clean the wound (get a vet’s advice if you see maggots at all) and keep her inside until the wound is healed.

 

If you have roosters and/or drakes, be sure to check the bellies of your hens for cuts. If your hens have bare skin on their bellies, consider isolating them from the roosters.

 

Clean coop thoroughly to keep out flying pests.

Daily is best to reduce flies. Sweep out old bedding and sprinkle with an all natural coop refresher to reduce ammonia.

 

Clean out nesting boxes

Clean nesting boxes to reduce the fly population. If broody hens are sitting on eggs, don’t clean the nesting boxes, but apply herbs to try to freshen. You don’t want to disturb the hen and accidentally cause her to abandon her nest.

 

hens in nesting boxes

Use fans to try to increase circulation in very hot coops

If possible, use a fan in the coop. Be sure it can’t be knocked over, and that it has a safety cover.

 

Check on chickens regularly throughout very hot days for possibility of heat stroke and provide extra ice water if needed.

Heat stroke can creep up suddenly. If your hens seem disoriented, are laying down and won’t get up, or suddenly can’t walk, they might be heat stressed. Try to prevent heat stress by providing ice water and lots of shade.

 

Make frozen treats out of beef tallow or other solid fat with a high smoke point

Use frozen peas, corn, or other treats to entice your hens to eat the frozen treat. Beef tallow treats don’t melt easily, and chickens love the taste.

 

Create extra shade in the run with tarps, wood, etc to prevent heat stroke

It looks ugly, but it might save a life.

 

Fill nesting boxes with extra herbs (such as Scent of Spring) to promote egg laying

Your chickens might need extra support in the summer heat. Nesting herbs also provide a healthy living environment.

 

Provide an extra calcium supplement such as oyster shells, dried eggshells, or Best Eggs Ever Nesting Herbs!

In addition to extra nutrients (see above) your chickens might need extra calcium to lay eggs.

 

Add electrolytes to water on very hot days & thoroughly clean waterers that are dirty.

Electrolytes might help your hens avoid heat stress, and they’re easily administered in water. You can find electrolytes in your local farm store.

 

Keep chicks in shade as much as possible

Chicks especially are vulnerable to heat stroke. Place chicks in an area that’s always out of direct sun, and provide water with electrolytes.

 

For ducks, provide a pool or flood part of the run so they have a cool place to lay down

You can do this for chickens, also! You’ll notice your ducks laying down to keep cool. If you can flood an area under a tree or other shade, that’s even better.

Build A Chicken Coop That’s 100% Predator Safe

Build A Chicken Coop That’s 100% Predator Safe

Building a chicken coop – or at least providing a safe home – is a task we take on the moment we bring home chickens for the first time.

 

With a such a huge task like this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed – especially after you realize that your new feathered friends are a meal for hungry predators.

 

In this article, I’ll take you step by step and answer all your “how to build a chicken coop” questions.

 

Whether you’re using small or large chicken coop plans, or if you’re adventurous enough to tackle a walk in chicken coop, we’ll give you enough details so crafting your chicken house is easy peasy.

 

Build A Chicken Coop & Keep Out Predators In 11 Easy Steps

  1. Choose chicken coop plans that allow at least 10 square feet of space per chicken. It’s okay to alter them for your needs.
  2. Your ideal coop should also be at least 8 feet tall so you can easily clean the coop
  3. Add roosts at least 6 feet off the ground so your chickens are protected at night
  4. Before building, decide on a location – it should be partly shaded if you live in a warm climate.
  5. You can use recycled materials or new.
  6. Screws make it easier to correct mistakes, and are stronger than nails. Use an electric screwdriver or nail gun to speed up building a coop.
  7. Add an automatic coop door so your chickens are safe at night
  8. To keep them safe from predators, the run should be at least 8 feet high, and made of hardware cloth or chicken wire.
  9. Secure chicken wire with industrial staples or screws and washers.
  10. Add chicken wire underground to prevent predators that dig.
  11. Add 1 nesting box for every 3 chickens (more on this below)

 

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Chicken Coop?

Chickens are incredibly low maintenance. You can build a coop for free using reclaimed materials, or spend $5000 and up (especially if you’re using chicken coop plans for 12 chickens), depending on the size, features, materials, and furnishing.

 

It goes without saying that building a DIY coop would likely be more cost-effective, especially when using recycled materials.

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You’ll need to buy:

  • Wood
  • Nails or screws
  • A hammer (or nailing gun, which is what we use)
  • Roofing materials (using corrugated tin makes it easy and creates a nice finished product, but you can also use wood and shingles)
  • Flooring, depending on whether you’ll have a floor in your coop or not.
  • Circular saw for cutting wood
  • Chicken wire or hardware cloth for windows and the run

 

Of course, you have to assess your strengths and capabilities in handling power tools too. You wouldn’t want to lose a finger, right?

 

Pallets are also a free way to build a chicken coop (just make sure they’re safe to use). You can get these from local businesses (just be sure to ask whether you can take them).

 

You can find a lot of inspiration about how to build a chicken coop out of pallets with my free plan ideas here.

 

Do Chickens Need a Coop?

While the idea of having chickens roam around your backyard day in, day out is what dreams are made of, you’re not the only one watching your hens.

 

Chicken predators are a big issue when it comes to taking care of our flocks.

 

Quite at the bottom of the food chain, our fluffy butts are hunted by animals morning to night, both from the air and land, and from the water if there’s an alligator swamp nearby.

 

Aside from that, chickens also need a place to stay in during the cold winter months and during inclement weather. Nothing is more dangerous to your flock’s health than the cold and damp!

 

You can find different free chicken coop blueprints and plans with hen houses for flocks as small as 2 and even specific chicken coop plans for 6 chickens online – so there’s really no excuse to not build a chicken coop for your feathered friends.

 

You can find 55 free small and large chicken coop plans here.

 

How Much Room Do Chickens Need In A Coop?

The rule of thumb is 10 square feet of space per chicken, although more is better. This is true whether you’re wondering “how big should a coop be for 20 chickens?” Particularly since chickens will poop everywhere, and soon you’ll have a mucky mess in your run. The more space they have, the less they’ll scratch their area to dirt.

 

Exercise is important for chickens and it’s not really in their DNA to stay indoors and knit. It’s part of their personal care to spend time and figure out how to peck a worm from the ground!

 

Do Chickens Need To Free Range?

This is a common question, and can help you decide how big to build a chicken coop for your backyard. While chickens would love to free range and get supplements to their diet from mother nature herself, there are a few issues with safety (i.e. foxes and coyotes). Also, your hens might decide to hide their eggs if they’re allowed to free range for long periods.

 

Plenty of chickens are happy living in their coop and run full time, and so you should build a coop and run that’s large enough to safely house your flock full time.

 

Do Free Range Chickens Need A Coop?

Free range chickens need a run for training, management, and bad weather (and even shade in hot weather). Even when free-ranged, you still want your chicken to roost and lay in one place. Ideally, that would be a chicken coop with a run – and learning how to build a chicken run is no different than building a coop.

 

How To Build A Chicken Coop Out Of Pallets?

You’ll find that tackling chicken coop plans for 50 chickens can be scary to the pockets.

 

But not if you find the right materials! Pallet wood can be recycled into a cute coop, especially since they’re made from lumber that’s designed to be a sturdy transport structure.

 

Thinking of using these materials to build your chicken coop is not a crazy idea.

 

You can break the pallets down and start building the chicken coop based on the design that you chose. You can resize the pallet, or keep them the way they are for a rustic, shabby-chic look.

 

How Many Chickens Can I Fit In My Coop?

A frequent questions I get is “How many chickens can you put in a 4×8 coop?”

 

There are a lot of websites advertising that 4ft x 8ft coops can house 15-20 chickens. This isn’t really true. Your chickens should have about 10 square feet of space per hen. So, a 4×8 coop with be comfortable enough for 3 normal size birds (araucanas or speckled sussex chickens) and 4-5 bantam silkie hens. It wouldn’t be large enough for larger breeds like brahma chickens, though.

 

Just remember that these are general guidelines – what YOUR coop needs depends on the individual personalities of your fluffy butts. However, as a general rule, chickens like space, and the more, the better. Like every other animal, they have different personalities so personal space is important.

 

Bantams require less space compared to heavy breeds. Try to take the size of the breed into consideration when wondering “How big should a coop be for 20 chickens?” or more.

 

Here’s some other common questions:

What size of coop do I need for 10 chickens? – Ideally 100 square feet.

How much room do you need for 12 chickens? – 120 square feet is best.

What size coop do you need for 6 chickens? – 60 square feet so they have enough space.

What size coop do I need for 8 chickens? – 80 square feet is ideal.

 

How Tall Should My Chicken Coop Be?

Realistically, you’ll need to clean your chicken house– right? So, it’s best if you can easily get in and out of a walk in chicken coop. In other words, your coop should be tall enough that you can walk inside. Additionally, you’ll want your chickens safe from predators, right? The taller the better – your chickens will roost at dusk, and they’re less likely to become a meal for a predator if they’re 5-6 feet in the air.

 

What Should Be Inside A Chicken Coop?

At a minimum, you’ll want chicken feeders and waters, nesting boxes, and roosting bars. Adding bedding such as shavings, hay, or straw on the floor helps provide a clean living area. You can also include toys, a droppings board (to make manure clean up easier), and even a roll away nest for easier egg collection.

 

You can get a full list here.

 

How Many Nesting Boxes Does A Hen Need?

When building your coop, a good general rule is 1 nesting box per 3 hens. However, you’ll find that your hens will all likely lay in the same box, and they might even fight over them!

 

How Many Nesting Boxes Do I Need For 20 Chickens?

Based on experiences in the farm, 6 boxes would be enough for 20 chickens. They might only use two of those and making one nesting box for each hen is overkill.

 

You can find out more about nesting boxes in our article here.

 

How Do You Clean A Chicken Coop?

Want to do it right? I have a full article here (and all-natural coop spray recipes here and a coop refresher recipe here). Here’s some additional tips!

  • Use a garden hoe for roosting bars – chicken poop all the time when sleeping. Run the hoe over the bars and you’ve got a clean slate!
  • The hoe magic also works for nesting boxes. Pull out whatever material you used as a bedding with the hoe. Replace with bedding and don’t forget your nesting herbs!
  • A rake, stall pick, and a shovel will come in handy for the floor. Dried poop can be as tough as concrete so be prepared with your muscles. You can use a hose to soften it up too!
  • Vinegar can be a friendly cleaning agent. After scraping everything, slosh pure or diluted vinegar and brush. Rinse and air dry!
  • DO NOT use chlorine or bleach – it will mix with the ammonia in your flock’s urine. You’ll then create a very dangerous gas! It’s best to stick with all natural solutions for cleaning your coop.

 

As stated before, you should build a chicken coop tall enough so you can easily clean it.

 

How Long Can You Leave Chickens In Coop?

It’s safest to leave them in a coop with enough food and water for no more than 24-48 hours in temperatures less than 70 degrees F. Over 80 degrees F, it’s not safe to leave them locked in a coop at all because they might get heat stroke or suffocate.

 

Chickens have a mind of their own and are quite self sufficient. However, we’ve taught them to rely on us for food and water. And the longer they’re locked up, the more likely they’ll develop bad habits and respiratory issues from urine and dust.

 

If you’re planning a vacation, it’s best to call a chicken sitter to look after your feathered babies!

 

How Do I Keep My Chickens Warm In The Winter?

If you plan to build a chicken coop, you’ll want to make sure it’s warm enough during freezing temperatures. There are some effortless steps with big-time effects that you can do to keep your chickens warm during winter months.

  • Close the gaps – make sure that there are not drafts to minimize wind chill. Check gaps every year especially when the coop has been their shelter for more than 5 years.
  • Petroleum jelly against frostbitewattles and combs are susceptible to frostbite. A great way to prevent this from happening is using grandma’s answer to all your problems – PETROLEUM JELLY. Cover these areas and they’ll be safe.
  • Let them cuddle – Chickens roost together. They share and generate heat this way. Giving them enough space to roost together would keep them warm. Also make sure that it is at least a feet above the ground to prevent contact with the cold ground.
  • Deep litter works! – This isn’t just about not cleaning the litter. Deep litter bedding is a well managed process that if done right would add to the heat the chickens need. What you have to do is to sprinkle tree shavings like pine or other organic matter over the floor. Use a rake to stir it. Regularly top up with shavings. Once the litter forms a compost layer, it will help insulate the coop. Also, the compost has good microbes that eat the bad bacteria from the litter.

 

Hopefully this article has given you lots of ideas to build a chicken coop and keep out predators (without getting completely overwhelmed by the process). Have a question? Leave a comment below!

 




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6 Adorable Coops You Need In Your Backyard!

6 Adorable Coops You Need In Your Backyard!

It’s time for this week’s Adorable Coops! Here’s 6 original and beautiful chicken coops you’ll love!

 

Who wouldn’t want these in their backyard??

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmAQTcgAyQR/?hl=en&tagged=chickencoop

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl-6WDnh3aX/?hl=en&tagged=chickencoop

DIY Window Ideas for Your Coop That Will Keep Your Chickens Cool All Summer Long

DIY Window Ideas for Your Coop That Will Keep Your Chickens Cool All Summer Long

So one of the most important aspects of your chicken coop is proper ventilation.

 

Chickens have a very delicate upper respiratory system and so it’s very important that your coop has proper ventilation to avoid respiratory diseases in your chickens.

 

Chickens also poop A LOT. And trust me if you don’t have windows in your coop, it’s not going to be pleasant for you or your chickens.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you have proper ventilation in your coop is to add windows. Windows allow air to flow in and out of coop and it can carry some of the smell out (thank goodness!)

 

I wrote an entire article about how you can add windows to your coop  to help keep your chickens cool this summer. Adding windows is a great way to keep your chickens cool and make sure your coop has the ventilation it needs.

 

I also love having windows and doors in my coop because it allows sun into your coop which can help your flock get the Vitamin D that they need.

 

Vitamin D is important because it helps with calcium absorption which ensures your chickens have strong bones and healthy eggs!

 

In addition to making sure my chickens get enough Vitamin D I also give them my chickens nesting herbs (I sell nesting herbs here in my store), so that they stay healthy and produce healthy eggs!

 

 

There are so many different ways that you can add windows to your chicken coop and there are TONS of different window styles that you can use.

 

So today I decided to collect some of my favorite chicken coop window ideas, so you can see how many different options there really are for windows for your coop!

 

First off if you’re building a new coop check out my article about chicken coop plans! I’ve gather more than 50 chicken coop plans that are all free for you to use! I love all of these plans and they all have great ideas for windows for your coop!

 

If you’re just starting out raising chickens, I highly recommend that you read my book about how to raise naturally raise chickens.

 

I give tons of detailed information in that book on how you can raise a healthy flock, that’s difficult to fully explain in a short blog post! So check it out!

One of the most important things for you to do when adding windows to your coop is to make sure you have some way to protect your flock from the elements.

 

There’s nothing worse than a wet coop (and wet chickens) because you don’t have any way to cover your windows on your coop!

 

In my coops, the roof overhangs over the side of the coop, so that when it rains water can’t get into the coop. But if you’re adding windows later on and your roof doesn’t overhang then I recommend you find some way to cover your windows. You could add a door or a shutter to your window that can easily be closed during a rainstorm.

One of my favorite window ideas is adding shutters to your windows. I love how cute shutters are on windows, especially on chicken coops! Not only are shutters really cute, but they also are functional and can protect your coop from the elements during a storm!

 

These shutters are some of my absolute favorite! I love the idea of adding a colorful shutter to the window of your coop!

 

I think it’s a super cute way to protect your coop from the elements. I’m also a huge fan of window boxes. Check out my article here all about my favorite window box ideas for your chicken coop!

 

 

I also really love these cute shutters on this coop! While these shutters don’t look like they are actually meant to be used, they do look so cute and would be so easy to add to your coop as a fun decoration!

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjWq2q9AV3t/?tagged=chickencoop

I love this idea of having a sliding door to cover the opening of your coop! This makes it so easy to close when the weather is bad or if you want to keep your chickens inside for a bit too!

 

I’m also a huge fan of the cute windows in this chicken coop! This is a little bit fancier version of windows for a coop!

 

There’s an actual glass window here that can be opened and closed to allow air in when needed and keep the elements out when needed!

 

I also love that these windows have a screen on them! One of the biggest concerns I hear from readers during the summer is how to keep flies and bugs away from your chickens during the summer.

 

I love the idea of using screens on the windows of your chicken coop to prevent insects from getting inside your coop.

 

While this won’t prevent all bugs from getting into your coop, it will help so I think adding screens over your coop windows is a great idea to help keep some bugs away from your chickens.

 

Because a screen won’t keep all of the bugs out of your coop I also recommend that you use herbs, such as citronella lemon balm, and peppermint. I also have an amazing recipe for peppermint coop spray that does a great job of keeping bugs away during the summer.

 

This window is so cute too! I love how simple this window would be to make and how versatile the smaller, narrower window is for a smaller coop.

 

Don’t be afraid to use a window that isn’t the conventional shape. I think this window is great because with smaller coops it can be harder to add a full sized window.

 

Especially since my chickens will try to fit through anything! This longer narrower window style prevents your chickens from getting out and predator from getting in!

 

Although you should always add chicken wire over your window (especially when it’s as close to the ground as this one to prevent predators from getting into your coop!)

 

Square windows.

Traditional, but so classic for any chicken coop. I love the wood trim around the outside of the windows. I think it adds a really nice touch and is an easy way to quickly make a normal window look much nicer! Note the chicken wire on the window – that’s a great way to keep out predators!

What have you done to dress up the windows on your chicken coop? Tell me about it in the comments below!