When designing your chicken coop, an important first step is deciding what kind of windows you will use.
You want to make sure you’re letting natural light in so your flock will be happy and healthy and lay plenty of eggs.
An obvious window material you might use is glass.
But is this a safe option for your birds?
Even when riled up, your chickens aren’t likely to break glass windows. But if your windows do break, this puts your chickens at risk of injury. Use thick panes and cloth screens to help prevent the window from breaking, and your birds will be safer.
There are many ups and downs to using glass windows in your chicken coop design.
If you’re concerned about using glass and would like to play it safe, we have other recommendations for what you might use for your coop windows.
Just be sure to understand all the risks and benefits of your chosen window material before installing it in your coop.
Is Glass a Danger to Chickens?
As we talked about before, the odds are good your chickens won’t be able to break glass windows.
Birds who have a habit of pecking at the windows won’t be able to crack your window, assuming you follow our tips for safety.
Even in the case of bird collisions with glass, it’s unlikely they would do any real damage to the window.
However, predators like raccoons and other large rodents might.
They have heavier bodies and would hit your windows with more force.
If an animal does break the windowpane, this is where you will run into problems because broken glass is absolutely a threat to your flock of chickens.
When pieces of glass are littered around where your birds graze, they could ingest these slivers and experience issues like bleeding, infection, and eventual death.
To avoid these problems, you must choose the right glass or other material and take precautions when installing the windows.
We have three main tips for those of you who want to use glass in your coops:
- Use something strong and durable, such as plexiglass
- Use a thick pane, which will be less fragile than a thinner one
- Install a screen to keep rodents away from the windowpane itself
Some chicken owners recommend soda-lime and borosilicate glass as strong and heat-resistant options.
If you take all these steps, you will minimize the risk of damage to your windows and your chickens being exposed to broken pieces of glass.
Other Risks and Benefits to Using Glass Windows
One of the biggest reasons we chicken farmers put windows in our coops is so our birds will be exposed to plenty of sunshine during daylight hours.
Laying hens need consistent access to adequate light for good egg production year-round.
The ideal is sixteen hours of daylight and eight hours of darkness.
This is always going to be a challenge for your chickens in winter.
Glass chicken coop windows provide your birds with as much daylight as possible.
But they aren’t very breathable.
This is especially true of soda-lime glass, borosilicate glass, and any other strong variety you would be looking to use for your windows.
This problem is made worse by the need for a thick windowpane that will be resistant to damage.
Be sure to buy a window with the ability to open and close.
There will be good airflow in your chicken coop, and your birds won’t get too hot in the summertime.
In the winter, keep the window closed and allow your birds access to the natural light we know is important for egg production.
Alternative Materials for Chicken Coop Windows
A window material we recommend is chicken wire.
Chicken wire is strong and durable, so your chickens won’t be able to damage it, and neither will predators like raccoons.
It’s a product designed for your birds, so rest assured knowing it’s perfectly safe.
It also allows large amounts of sunlight into the coop, so your birds will be happy and lay plenty of eggs.
In the Summer, chicken wire is great. But what about when temperatures drop in the winter?
In colder seasons, secure a sheet of breathable plastic outside your coop over the chicken wire.
This keeps the cold air out, but it still allows adequate airflow.
It also won’t trap moisture inside the coop the way glass does.
If a bird or other animal does forcefully collide with your window, chicken wire windows aren’t going to expose your chickens to slivers of glass when the window takes damage.
Is It Safe to Use Glass Flooring?
Some chicken owners do, but we don’t recommend using glass flooring in your coop.
There are safer and cheaper alternatives, so there’s no real reason you need to use this material.
Instead, use one of these:
- Plywood, which is very safe
- Concrete, which will be sure to keep out predators
These options are also easy to clean, so we suggest you use them instead.
None of us wants to spend longer than necessary cleaning up chicken droppings.
When using plywood, recognize it is more susceptible to water damage.
So, if your birds get their water inside the coop, this may not be the safest option for you.
If you prefer to use glass over plywood or concrete, be aware: similar risks to those we talked about with windows are associated with using this material on the floor of your chicken coop.
Your feathered friends are more likely to be constantly pecking at the floor than the window, though, so you must use a strong glass here.
The floor is also more accessible to predators than the window.
Additionally, you will be walking on the floor, and you weigh a lot more than your birds!
For these reasons, you need to use a strong, thick material for your coop flooring.
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