The desire to provide your family with a constant supply of wholesome, nutritious eggs is a great reason to delve into the world of what has become known as "backyard chickens." In fact, this trend toward healthy local food has become so popular that many residents of urban and suburban areas are successfully maintaining productive flocks of poultry even in small backyard spaces. If you are serious about populating your backyard with a flock of laying hens, you will first need to ensure that they have a shelter that is warm, dry and inaccessible to any feral cats, rodents and wild animals that may live in your area.

Choose Metal Instead of Wood or Other Materials

While backyard chickens can be housed in structures made from a variety of materials, not all of them can provide the same level of safety. Rodents, opossums and raccoons are adept at chewing and clawing their way through standard siding products, wooden planks and chicken wire or screen mesh that has been covered with plastic or tarps. A portable metal building, such as a storage building or small utility building, however, can offer a safer, more durable alternative.

Setting Up a Metal Building for Chicken Comfort, Safety and Productivity  

Now that you have decided to use a metal building as a home for your chickens, you will need to set it up to maximize security, comfort and productivity by using the following tips:

  • Since light helps maximize the production of eggs, choose a location where the door of the structure will receive the most sunlight during the winter
  • Keep rodents and other animals from attempting to tunnel underneath the chicken house by situating the metal building atop a pad of concrete that extends several inches outside the perimeter of the building
  • If the metal building you select has openings underneath the eaves or for wiring, plumbing or venting in the walls, use sheet metal screws and pieces of heavy wire screening to patch these areas to keep rodents and other predators from entering the structure where they can injure the chickens, destroy eggs or foul your flock's food and water supply

Consider Buildings with Built In Features That Work Well With Poultry

Modern metal buildings are now available in many different styles, with available features that work very well for housing poultry, such as:

  • Insulated walls to keep chickens warmer in cold climates
  • Secure windows and vents that can be opened and closed for ventilation
  • Skylights to provide additional light for productivity

Before purchasing any metal building, make sure you explain that you will be using your metal building to house a flock of laying chickens, including the number of chickens you will have and the size of the yard where the building will be situated. Your metal building supplier can use this information to help you choose a style that will keep your chickens comfortable and productive while keeping your budget healthy, too!