Chicken Coop – 6 Points to Consider Before Building One
Congratulations! You have checked with the local government, and gotten permission to raise chickens in your backyard! The next thing to do is build a chicken coop, because the housing ought to be ready before your flock arrives. There are six fundamental ideas you have to think about before you build the perfect chicken coop.
1. Reality Check
Do either you or your partner have any carpentry skills? Are you comfortable using circular saws, planes, or even a hammer? If the answer is no, you really should give serious thought to purchasing a pre-built chicken coop, or turning that old tool shed into a chicken coop. Re-purposing is quite trendy. This has a few advantages:
- You won’t have to spend extra time and money when your equipment fails.
- The risk of injury when ordering a coop online is pretty small (unless you fall off the chair or get a paper cut from reading the print out from a Web site).
- A re-purposed tool shed will have more space for the hens and give you extra space for adding needed features; it will be easier to clean. Plus, you will save money on construction materials, tools, safety gear, etc.
2. The Master Builder
If a household member is ready, willing, and able to build a backyard chicken coop, that’s great. He or she ought to have all the facts, coop plans and materials before construction begins.
- How large will the flock be, and how will it be managed? If you plan to have a chicken coop and an outdoor run, the hens require at least 3-4 square feet per hen inside the coop, and 4 square feet per hen in the run outdoors. Hens who live in crowded conditions tend to develop stress-related behaviors – pecking or respiratory illnesses.
- Make room for all the features needed inside the coop. Your hens will need enough space for perches, roosts, and nesting boxes, as well as food and water containers.
- Pick a design that gives sufficient ventilation in the coop. It will keep the hens cool in the summer, cut down on nasty smells and make them happier.
- Choose a design that gives the hens outdoor shade and shelter. Hens love shade.
3. “If You Build It…”
This might seem obvious, but if you are going to build a chicken coop, you ought to know what tools and materials are needed. You will need the following items:
- Framing lumber
- Nails and screws
- Shingles for the roof
- Wire mesh
- Fencing staples
You will also need these tools:
- Safety gear
- First-aid kit
- Tape measure
- Circular saw
- Hammer and drill
4. Brush Up on Your Carpentry
Get comfortable with all the tools you’re using before construction starts. Everybody will be much happier if you don’t have to bring out the first-aid kit or run down to the emergency room. Pavarotti had to warm up his voice before a concert, so it only makes sense that you perfect your carpentry skills before starting this project.
It is not important just for you, but it’s also essential for the chickens. Most experts believe that a chicken coop should be placed on a southern exposure, so the hens will get more sunlight during spring and summer, which is when they lay the most eggs. And there is one more aspect to the location question…
6. Fixed or Mobile Chicken Coop?
This depends on the size of your flock and the size of your backyard. If you plan to raise a small flock in a backyard, you may want to build a mobile coop (also known as a chicken tractor). Chicken tractors have many advantages:
- Portability: You can move the coop when the hens have eaten the grass or weeds in their run.
- Convenience: Most chicken tractors are easier to clean than traditional walk-in coops.
- Safety: If you live in an area that has sudden storms, you can move the coop.
Finally! Here is an affordable way to plan and build a chicken coop: