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How To Build A Chicken Coop For Your Chickens
How To Build A Chicken Coop
If you live on a farm or live in the country, then you may know the pleasure of raising your own crops and farm animals. Chickens in particular are terrific animals to raise because they not only provide you with fresh eggs, but also give you the satisfaction of raising a living, breathing animal.
One of the most essential parts of raising a flock of chickens is to learn how to build a chicken coop. A chicken coop can take many forms and come in many sizes, from the simplest constructions to complex arrangements and chicken domiciles. They also vary depending on how many chickens they can accommodate. But, learning how to build a chicken coop is not nearly as difficult as you would imagine. In fact, it can be a very satisfying outdoor project to complete – one that is even more satisfying when chickens are living in it!
Here is a basic, general guide to how to build a chicken coop for your own farm, ranch, or backyard.
How to Build a Chicken Coop: Things to Consider
The first step in constructing a chicken coop is determining what kind of chicken coop you would like. Most chicken coops are fundamentally the same. They feature an enclosed space, usually surrounded by wire mesh, constructed out of wood, and featuring roosts for the chickens. They also feature some sort of protective feature to keep predators – such as stray dogs, foxes, and wolves – away from your chickens.
A proper chicken coop also keeps your chickens warm during the winter, cool during the summer, and dry at all times throughout the year. There are certain ways you can ensure that your chicken coop meets these criteria; we’ll talk about these ways later.
You also need a chicken coop design that is easy to maintain. The biggest part of maintaining a chicken coop is keeping the chicken coop clean. Needless to say, chicken coops tend to get messy, which means you will need to be able to clean them out, mostly by spraying them down with water and disinfectants.
How to Build a Chicken Coop: Creating a Design
There are plenty of simple and basic designs out there on how to build a chicken coop. For the most part, as stated above, chicken coops are pretty similar. The plan we’ll talk about is a standard design for chicken coops and one that you can easily adapt to your own specific needs.
Our chicken coop will be capable of housing approximately 2-4 chickens. This is a somewhat small chicken coop, but as you’ll see, you can easily make it larger and keep the same format. Our chicken coop will be your standard rectangle, featuring two chicken doors with ramps, a maintenance door for you, roosts, and an open space.
Each roost is basically a cubbie hole for your chicken. If you have egg-laying chickens, this is where they will lay their eggs. A roost is also serviced by a ramp so that your chickens can walk up to their roost, especially if it is on a higher level or tier. For this chicken coop, though, we will feature one tier at a waist level so that it is easy for you to collect eggs.
Your chicken coop should feature a floor that is angled slightly towards the front of the coop, where the maintenance door is. This is so that when you spray down the floor, the water and disinfectants run down and out instead of pooling up or sitting stagnant.
Also, your chicken coop will feature wire mesh set up around the coop to keep predators away.
How to Build a Chicken Coop: Tools and Materials
To build a solid chicken coop, you will need a variety of tools – although you will not need anything terribly complicated. Here is a general list of what you will need:
- Hammer and nails (you will need standard nails and ring shank nails)
- Wire cutters
- Heavy-duty stapler
- Chicken wire or wire mesh
- Assorted lumber (2x4, 1x6, wood blocks, wood posts)
- Latches and hinges
- Styrofoam sheets for insulation
- Post-hole drill
How to Build a Chicken Coop: Creating the Frame
To create a frame for your chicken coop, you first should orient the coop so that sunlight can enter the coop through ventilation windows covered with chicken wire. Having the windows face east and west will do the trick.
Mark off enough space for your coop. You should have, on average, 2 square feet of inside space per chicken. If you are building a run (an open space for your chickens to go to get fresh air and sunlight), then you will need about 10 square feet per chicken. We will say that your “chicken house” (where the roosts will go) will be two feet by four feet by one foot. Basically, it will be a rectangular box that is divided into four compartments, one for each of your chickens. The top of each compartment will hinge upwards so you can take your eggs if necessary.
The chicken house will be placed in a larger space that is made of lumber and wire mesh. This space should be approximately six feet by ten feet, and as tall as you want.
Once you have marked off boundaries, use the drill and plant four posts for the corners of your entire space. Then, string up chicken wire around the perimeter by stapling it to the posts with your heavy-duty stapler. Leave room in the middle to create a swinging door with your hinges and latches and assorted lumber (make sure it swings inward).
Cover the top of the fenced-off run with chicken wire to keep other birds out.
How to Build a Chicken Coop: Creating the Chicken House
Once you have built your run and perimeter, use plywood to construct your chicken house. You can use smaller posts and 2x4s to create a platform for your box. The box itself will be made from plywood. You will have six panels:
- Two 1.5x4 panels (A)
- Five 1.5x2 panels (B)
- Two 2x4 panels (C)
Use ring shank nails and hammer together a box by laying flat C and attaching five B panels upright and perpendicular to C. Then, fasten the second C on top, and cover the open sides with the two A panels. Then, cut open an archway in the front A panel so your chickens can go in and out.
When you attach the ‘roof’ (the second C panel), you may want to place hinges on it so you can lift the entire lid up at once to extract eggs. You can also cut the C panel up and do individual lids for each chicken compartment, but that is more labor intensive.
All you have to do then is create chicken ramps. To do this, take a 1x6 plank that is long enough to reach the entry way to the cubbie hole. Use small wooden strips or blocks to create a ladder out of the plank so that your chickens can have grips to climb up and in.
Once you have done that, your chicken house and chicken run – and chicken coop – should all be complete.