Chicken Coop Plans
Chicken Coop Plans
I have been designing and building chicken coops for a bit over four years now and it seems that as I tweak my chicken coop plans from project to project they turn out better and better. Problem is, I built my own chicken coop first and have been building them for friends ever since so everybody else’s is better than mine.
Anyway. The chicken coops that I build these days are built for six hens and consist of a main run with nesting box enclosure accessible by a small ramp. You can see my brothers chicken coop in the photo. He is currently keeping four hens in this one as he wanted it a bit smaller because his yard is not very big.
As a guide, you need to alocate at least 4 square feet per chicken if they are able to freely roam your backyard througout the day. If the chickens are in the coop all day long, you should allocate at least 10 square feet per chicken . If you folow this space guide, your hens will be happy and healthy and should be good productive egg layers.
Nest boxes also determine egg laying capacity. You should have at least 1 nestbox for every four or five hens. The nest boxes should be raised off the ground but it also needs to be lower than the lowest perch (We'll talk about perches a bit later). The nest boxes should be dark and away from the main run so the hens feel like they are in a safe place, therefore comfortable to lay eggs.
The most important consideration when designing or building a chicken coop is protection of you hens. There are many predators that will try to get at your flock so you have to do everything to protect them and make sure they are safe. Some of the predators that will give you grief include but are not limited to foxes, raccoons, rats, wolves, hawks and coyotes. I recommend that you do not standard chicken wire because the holes are a bit too big and racoons can get their arms through the holes and claw at you hens. One-half inch square hardware cloth is the best material to use for this job.
One thing that many people don't consider when building a chicken coop is that your chickens have a natural instinct to perch. if there is an absence of proper perches they will perch on anything else that they can find which includes nests and feeders. This is not ideal because they will mess up these areas with their droppings.
If there are no perches, the hens tend to huddle in one of the corners of the chicken coop and it will not take long for a hard hunk of droppings to form and the chickens feet will get filthy with manure. This mess will then be transferred to the nest causing any eggs to also become dirty. This is obviously bad in all aspects. Coming back to my point, this can all be avoided by ensuring that your chicken coop plans include suitable perches for your hens.
Each chicken needs about 10 inches of perch space. It should also be within easy jumping height for your hens so about 2 feet high would be fine.
Anything from a broom handle to a straight stick from a fallen branch would suffice for this but make sure the surface is rounded as the chickens will find this much more comfortable than perches with squared/flat surfaces.
If any of our readers have had any experience with chicken keeping or have and ideas about chicken coop plans, in particular perches then post them in the comments box so everyone (including myself) can benefit from your experience.
Thanks Clance McDonald.