Raising chickens has increased in popularity over the past decade. For this reason, many people need to know how to build a chicken coop.
This can be a rewarding endeavor for those who have the space and time to keep chickens on their property.
Because this type of bird can do little or nothing to defend itself against predators, a safe and secure area called a coop should be built for the chickens.
There are many types of chicken coops, from large and elaborate to small and plain.
The type of coop a person chooses to build depends on various factors, such as the number of chickens he or she plans to acquire, the area where the chicken owner lives, and his or her personal preferences.
How to Build a Chicken Coop
Building a backyard chicken coop is not as difficult as it may at first seem. A good starting point for essentially anyone is gathering the appropriate materials to build the structure. Below are the basic materials necessary to build a chicken coop.
• Wood or plywood
• Chicken wire
• A small window or hinged plywood flap for ventilation
• Measuring tape
• Leather gloves
Types of Chicken Coops
The basic elements of all chicken coops are all similar. These characteristics include a large fenced in area, shelter from inclement weather and protection from predators at night.
However, chicken coops can be built in a variety of styles. These include A-frame, rectangular or square shaped structures.
A small, square coop is adequate for up to four chickens.
To house six to eight chickens, a medium-size, rectangular shaped coop is ideal.
A large A-frame coop is a great choice for 10 to 12 birds.
Those who plan to have more than a dozen chickens should consider converting a shed or even building a custom timber shed, to create what is commonly referred to as a "hen house." These are ideal and will last forever...
This will ensure adequate space for large number of chickens.
The birds must always have a fenced yard so that they can leave the coop to walk around in the sunshine.
They should also be fed outside the coop in the fenced in area to make cleaning easier.
Using Chicken Coop Plans
A person can create his or her own plans or follow a blueprint purchased from an agricultural outlet or on the internet.
Using chicken coop plans is not difficult as long as the person does not attempt to rush the job and appropriately follows each step.
Ideally, the coop should be positioned several feet from the ground. This helps make it difficult for predators to gain access to the chickens.
It also prevents rodents from attempting to nest in the coop.
Because chickens do not control their elimination patterns, they will often relieve themselves inside the coop.
For this reason, even if the coop is kept clean, air must flow through it on a regular basis to prevent unsanitary conditions and a putrid smell.
Overall, venting a chicken coop is not difficult. Most vents consist of a thin piece of plywood on hinged flaps that can be propped up.
However, those who are handy with building projects can alternatively install a few small windows.
Perches and Roosts
Similarly, straw lined shelves should be built for roosting chickens.
It is also important to remember that chickens sleep on perches.
These chicken perches should also be positioned far enough apart so that the chickens are not crowded together when resting.
Litter should be placed under all roosts and perches.
Because the coop is elevated, the chickens must have a ramp to reach their fenced-in, outdoor area.
The ramp should be positioned where it will not slide, and sand should be added to the paint, as this results in a less slippery surface.
When constructing the chicken coop, it is wise to build the structure in a methodical manner so that the need to go back and fix mistakes is eliminated.
First, the bottom frames should be joined, followed by the attachment of the supporting frames.
Wood glue should be used to connect the various parts of the frames at their joints for the purpose of holding them in place until nails can be used to permanently secure the frame.
Only very small pilot holes are necessary to hold the frame in place. Fixtures called miter joints and lap joints should be used for large chicken coops, and these can be purchased at a local hardware store.
They eliminate the need for nails and will provide the stronger support necessary for large coop frames.
After the frame is complete, plywood or heavy gauge wire mesh can be used for walls. Asphalt roofing shingles are the recommended material for chicken coop roofs.
Other roofing options include roofing panels made from fiberglass, metal, or corrugated materials. The one selected primarily depends on the consumer's budget and personal preferences.
Once the job is complete, it should be inspected for mistakes and all joints and seams should be plugged with insulation material if the chickens are being raised in four season areas where they will be outdoors during winter.
The coop can then be painted any color one desires.
With proper maintenance, most types of chicken coops should last for many years, providing comfort and shelter for generations of chickens.
For a full and more detailed guide to Looking after, raising chickens at home & building a chicken coop - check out RaisingChickens.net