The starting point for building a home chicken coop is learning a little about how to raise chickens, deciding on the number and the breed that you want to raise, and studying their behavioral patterns and physical tolerances. Before you build your coop it is also helpful to gain some knowledge of the local zoning laws that set conditions on how close the coop can be to your house, your neighbor’s house, etc.
A well-built chicken coop will allow you to raise chicken for meat, harvest eggs, and make high-quality fertilizer from chicken droppings. Chicken coops provide shelter for the birds by giving them a place to stay while protecting them from predators such as foxes, roaming dogs, or raccoons.
Given below are a few considerations that should be kept in mind before starting to build a chicken coop.
The breed of chicken and the quantity that you plan to raise both decide size of the coop. Professional poultry farmers are of the opinion that a minimum of two square feet per bird is required. For the chicken run, a minimum of four square feet per bird is required. However, you can decide on a specific size of the coop depending on the number of birds and the realistic budget constraints that you may have.
A number of chicken coop plans are available on the Internet or you can design your own coop. Once you have settled on a design you can create a list of materials and tools that you’ll need if you are a do-it-yourself enthusiast or you can hire someone with basic carpentry skills. If you choose plans from an online seller they should include a list a materials required for each design.
The following design aspects are important when building the chicken coop.
- Height: Where possible a chicken coop is better off when raised above the ground to a height of two or three feet. This helps to keep away rodents and predators. The height within the coop should be such that the hens are able to roost as well as have enough head space.
- Ramp: If the coop is built above the ground a ramp will be required for the chickens to walk down from the coop. A runged ramp will help prevents the birds from sliding. The ramp can open into an enclosed run. If it doesn’t, you must be able to close the chickens in the coop at night to protect them.
- Insulation: Depending on the local climactic conditions, appropriate insulation may be required to modify the temperature.
- Ventilation: A chicken coop needs to have an adequate amount of airflow and consistent ventilation. Hinged air vents are ideal.
- Perches: Perches should be provided for the chickens to roost on during the night. The perches should be spaced in such a manner that they do not touch one another.
- Floor: Chicken coop flooring can be of wood. Chicken manure when dry can become very hard. Therefore, layering the floor with some shavings, straw or dirt is a good idea. It is easier to clean and keeps the floor in good condition.
- Lighting: The lighting conditions in a coop should be adequate to provide for best egg laying. Where possible the chicken coop should face the east to get the early morning sun. Whichever direction the coop faces it is important to have enough windows to let plenty of light in.
- Nesting Boxes: Nesting boxes should be small enough for the hen to feel secure and stay long enough to lay her eggs. They should be located in a dry and clean area and not too close to the spot where the chickens roost. They can also be placed at a level higher than the floor. This will prevent manure from getting inside the nesting area. The nesting boxes should be made available when the hens are 15 weeks old.
- Feeders: Place the feeders at a sufficient height so that dirt does not get into the water and the food.
Chickens need to be kept happy and healthy and for this they need sufficient exercise. Providing an enclosed area for them to roam freely while pecking and scratching in the dirt is helpful for their wellbeing.
The easiest and fastest way to build your own chicken coop is to follow a simple step-by step-guide. Here at HomeChickenCoop.com we review several plans that have been designed specifically for people who want to get started in keeping chickens by building their own chicken coop.
Thanks for visiting!