The lure of the side hustle is irresistible. One of the viable and preferred options for the backyard farmer seems to be poultry farming; a few layers to bring in that extra income without much hustle.
Simon Peter Kazibwe, an architect, came up with this small sized coop that will keep your 10-15 birds snug and safe from prey. The coop occupies 24 square metres and costs Shs375,000 to construct. It is made entirely of well treated wood, raised above a concrete slab which is essential for easy cleaning and safety purposes.
Considering the place to build is very essential to the practicability of your coop, what you should be looking for is a cooler area in your backyard and away from roof turrets that carry rain water.
“A mature leafy tree is ideal for providing shelter against the onslaught of the sun. If you have no tree look for the coolest place in the backyard,” Kazibwe explains.
Inside the coop
Inside the coop, the nesting area is raised above the ground to protect the chicken and eggs from prey.
The wooden slats deliberately leave gaps to give light and improve aeration. Running around the coop is a wire mesh also intended to improve air circulation thus controlling the foul smell that is common in most chicken houses.
Sandra Ntungire, a small backyard poultry farmer, hang baskets around her chicken coop with dried grass that work as nests for the chicken to lay eggs or perch onto and sleep. “On a rainy day when they cannot go out, I can hang some weeds into their baskets and later clean them out. This keeps them active and less cooped in,” She says. Ntungire advises that the nesting boxes should be darker than the rest of the coop for the chicken to recognise them easily.
The biggest threat to any poultry farmer, however, is prey, according to Alex Makumbi, a large scale farmer.
“Because the coop is not raised above the ground, I have had a rough time controlling wild cats that kill and eat the chickens and eggs. At one point I got so frustrated that I spent a night out waiting for the wild cats until I got one of them,” he narrates.
He, however, says less extreme measures can be incorporated into the coop to protect the chicken. He recommends a barrel-bolt latch or a wire mesh around the coop which prevent intruders while giving the chicken freedom.