If you’re interested in raising chickens in your own backyard, you’ll first need a chicken coop. While chicken coops can be purchased, building your own allows you to customize the housing to fit your specific size requirements and design preferences. Once constructed, chicken coops can hold multiple chickens that provide us with benefits like fresh eggs. If you’re ready to build your chicken coop, here’s what you should know.
Pros of Backyard Chickens
One of the biggest benefits of raising chickens is access to plenty of fresh eggs. Backyard chickens tend to be healthier than their factory-farmed counterparts, as commercial chickens are commonly fed feed containing unnatural hormones and antibiotics. When you have your own chicken coop, you can control what your chickens eat while providing them with a healthier environment to lay eggs.
Free-range chicken eggs also tend to be more nutritious and taste better. Compared to factory-farm eggs, eggs produced by backyard chickens generally contain more vitamin A, vitamin E, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike grocery-store eggs, which can sit for days before being sold, backyard chicken eggs can be cooked and eaten immediately, resulting in fresher, tastier eggs featuring firmer whites and brighter orange yolks.
If allowed to roam out of the coop, chickens can also be beneficial to your garden. Since they’re natural foragers, you can count on your backyard chickens to eat common garden pests like earwigs, grubs, and other insects that target your fruits and vegetables. Worried about the abundance of chicken poop you’ll have with multiple chickens? The good news is that chicken poop contains a high amount of nitrogen, which can benefit your compost bin. Eggshells can be thrown in, too.
Cons of Backyard Chickens
While the advantages of owning a chicken coop and chickens are plentiful, there are some downfalls of chicken coop ownership. Initially, building a chicken coop can require great deal of time and money. When building your own coop, you must take the time to come up with a workable design, determine what materials you’ll need, and build stable, safe housing for your chickens to live and lay eggs.
Building a backyard chicken coop can also cause other problems. First, you must ensure that you meet any building restrictions and that chickens are allowed in your zoning district. Some areas require a building permit to create this type of structure on residential property. You will also want to consider your neighbors before building a coop. The smell and noise of a chicken coop can occasionally cause tension between neighbors.
Chickens can also be dirty animals, which requires the replacement of coop materials approximately once a month. The droppings can emit a strong, lingering odor, which can draw rodents that become attracted to the chicken feed. Depending on the number of chickens you own, you can expect to perform daily maintenance in the coop, washing and refilling water dispensers and feeders, scooping up poop, and collecting eggs.