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Chicken Coop Plans - How to Build a Chicken Coop

Updated on August 16, 2014

Proud Owners of a Chick!

Several years ago when our older kids were in elementary school, the first grade teacher had a project each spring where they would hatch chicken eggs and give the new chicks out to willing families who would "raise" the little guys or gals. Somehow we thought this was better than a dog, so we became the proud owners of a little chick we named Quad.

When you get a chick, it's gender is not know until it develops and either starts crowing (a male or rooster) or starts laying eggs (a female or a hen). Of course we were hoping for the hen and that is what we got.

Inexperienced as we were, it was soon obvious that we needed to house our chick somewhere, and of course a chicken coop is the answer. From a small cage to a custom built coop, here's a selection of things to keep in mind when you are building a chicken coop to house your egg laying friends - and eggs they do lay!

Coop with perches, heater, water, and climbing board.
Coop with perches, heater, water, and climbing board. | Source

Key Factors for Your Chicken Coop

Appearance - Make sure you check your city ordinances as a first step. The coop can be somewhat attractive and yet inconspicuous. It may need to be mounted up and with some clearance so that the lawn could be mowed and edged around it. High bushes can form a natural barrier to neighboring homes.

Protection from the elements - Thunderstorms, high winds, and depending on your area snowstorms are real issues, not to mention the heat of the summer. You may want to situate the coop under trees, reducing both sunload and direct rain. The bushes or trees can act as a natural windbreak. (One time we found ourselves searching for our chicken as the tornado sirens were going off. Couldn't find her, gave up, hid in the closet and came out after it had passed to find the chicken hid herself behind a fence section that was blown off it's posts. Smart bird. She was unscathed!)

Size - How many hens are you wanting to house? A typical coop might be built to handle 6 hens, but it will vary. You may need somewhere around four square feet for each hen if they are allowed to roam, or at least twice that much if they stay in the coop. Or, you can plan for a roaming area around the coop like the picture above. Note: there is still "chicken wire" around the roaming area. Now we know where that item came from!

Nesting box - Above the ground, but below the perch, it needs to be away from the main activity area so the hens feel safe and secure enough to lay their eggs.

Protection from predators - Everyone wants a piece of the chickens or their eggs. Raccoons, squirrels, rats, wolves and hawks are just a few of the critters you want to keep away. Be sure the sides have a fine enough mesh to keep them away from the goods.

Perches - Providing even a simple perch keeps the chickens spread out, making the cleanup a little easier.

These are just a few ideas, and you can find more complete chicken coop plans to help you buid a chicken coop in several books at Amazon. Probably the most popular is "Fresh Air Poultry Houses". There are also a few sets of plans for under $5.

One House for One Chick

We did this exercise twice, and our first chicken lasted about a year and half. It's demise was met by a hawk or such by the evidence we found. Since we started out letting her roam freely, this is how we came to know you need a cage or coop!

Our second chicken lived for 4 1/2 years with many stories to tell. We still let her roam the yard, but put her in a coop at night. We named that one Pat (after the SNL character) and she really became a pet. Was very good at eating the bugs out of our garden. We could have written a book with the experiences we had! Instead, check out this one by Catherine Goldhammer, Still Life With Chickens.


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    • Suthap Klomrod profile image

      Suthap Klomrod 

      6 years ago

      It wasn't until I found this site that I finally completed my chicken coop project. Learn how to build your own chicken coop and start raising chickens in your own backyard. Details here

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      We also thought we could leave our door open at night. We think a fisher got ours. We ended up with our granddaughter's school project living at our house.

      Enjoyed your hub. Voted

    • johnr54 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joanie Ruppel 

      6 years ago from Texas

      You are right, that's why we came to know and understand why you need a coop!

    • profile image

      Chicken Coops 

      7 years ago

      great post. I bet not many people even think about #5.


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