10 Tips To Build A Chicken Coop
Making Plans To Build A Chicken Coop?
Hold the hammer and stop the saw…. before you start constructing the coop of your dreams you need to make a plan. Making a plan for your chicken coop is an important process. It’s best to build a chicken coop that will provide your flock shelter, safety and comfort…Happy Chickens = More Eggs. Here are some ideas to help you build your chicken coop and make an EGG-cellent plan…
1. Decide On How Many Chickens.
It’s important to know how many chickens you plan on raising. The number of chickens you want to keep will help decide the plan of your coop. Chickens are social birds so keeping more than one is best (lonely hens probably lay fewer eggs). It’s recommended each chicken have about 3-4 sq. ft. of space in the coop. We planned on 4 chickens so our coop is 3 x 6 sq. ft.
2. Build a Base
We have an elevated coop. Some benefits to elevating your coop from the ground is it keeps your flock dry from wet weather, it allows them more space to roam and it adds protection from predators. We even added a cage below our coop. This cage has been used when we need to separate a broody hen or when introducing new hens to the flock.
3. Roosting Bar
A roosting bar or perch in your coop plan is vital. Chickens like to sleep off the ground on a perch. Allow enough space for each chicken to have a place to roost comfortably. Click here to learn more about preparing a proper roosting bar.
4. Poop Box
Hope it’s no surprise that chickens poop. Placing a poop box under the roosting bar has been helpful for cleaning. When it comes to poop, easy clean up is a priority. They poop a lot when they sleep. Our “COOP POOP BOX” has a simple plastic bin with a screen on top. The bin and screen are as long as our roosting bar. The screen is to allow the chickens to get to the bar without stepping in the poop. The poop screen has 1 x 1 sq. in. holes. The box and screen are several inches below the roosting bar. The box and screen need to be removable for cleaning purposes.
5. Nesting Boxes
Chickens need nesting boxes. This nesting area is where the chickens go to lay eggs. You don’t need to have a nesting box for every chicken you have. A good ratio is 1 box for every 3-4 chickens. Make sure to have something nice and soft for them to lay in (straw, wood shavings, sawdust or even shredded paper). We have two boxes on our chicken coop so that two ladies can lay at the same time. It’s an external nesting box. We have a special latched door that opens to allow for easy retrieval of our eggs.
Chickens need proper ventilation so that they don’t get sick from stale air in the coop. Vents help remove humidity, ammonia and heat from the coop. Allow for sufficient air flow inside the coop by installing vents and windows. We have 1 screen door, 1 screen window and 3 vents to ventilate our coop. The screen door/window can be opened for extra ventilation in good weather and closed during bad weather conditions. Having ventilation is still important in the winter because the chickens stay inside more often.
It’s important to be able to easily work around your coop without harming yourself or your chickens. We installed a human door with a screen. It can be opened to clean the coop and feed/water the chickens. There are also a couple chicken doors. One small chicken door is to let them get in/out of the coop. The other chicken door is a trap door to let them go down into the cage. There’s another door for humans and chickens to access the lower cage area.
8. Protect Chickens
Don’t forget to protect chickens from predators (Yes, even the city has predators…cats, hawks, rats and even kids =). Chickens have many predators. You should choose predator-proof hardware for your coop. A chicken wire or mesh is good for using on the outside of your coop. For more tips on protecting your coop
9. Gather Materials and Tools
Make a list of materials and tools you will need. Now it’s time to gather materials and tools you need for your creative chicken coop. It is best to plan out exact measurements. Then you can estimate what and how much materials you need to build it. Don’t forget to reuse. We used paint and sealant that we already had. We painted with exterior paint and sealed the inside with water-resistant sealant to prevent decay. (Another bonus tip is to paint and seal the wood before you attach it to the coop!)
10. Build Your Coop!
Now it’s time to BUILD THE COOP. You have the necessary plan, information, tools and materials. Go and construct your chicken coop from the bottom up. First build a strong base and frame. Then install walls, windows and doors. Then end with the roof.
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