Everybody should have a chicken coop in their backyard, as they can bring many benefits to a household. Building one yourself is actually easier than you think, but there are some important things to consider.
Here you’ll find some easy steps to start building your own chicken coop and some fun tutorials and free chicken coop plans to get you on the right track.
Decide The Size
The first thing to decide is on the number of chickens you’ll have. You certainly don’t want them cramped up on a small space, so it’s important to build a coop with adequate space.
Here’s the deal:
Each chicken should have at least 3 or 4 sq. ft. to live, and it would be ideal to make it a little bigger, to increase their happiness and to allow you to maybe add more hens in the future.
Decide the Location
Don’t just pick a corner right away. Before deciding on a location for your backyard chicken coop, you should take a week to monitor the area to ensure they will provide:
- Sunshine and Shade: Your chickens need natural sunlight, but not all day. Morning sun would be ideal.
- Ventilation: You’ll want proper ventilation to reach your coop, but, of course, nothing excessive. Avoid choosing a location exposed to strong wind. Near trees is a good choice.
- Easy Access: Remember that you’ll be cleaning and collecting eggs, so the coop should have easy access.
- Smell and Noise: Don’t choose a spot that is too close to the neighbor’s house or your own.
Plan the Coop
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Mahatma Gandhi
A coop isn’t just a shelter that your chickens will stay in. It’s their house and their world, so it’s important to keep them as healthy and happy as possible.
The happier a chicken is, the more eggs it will lay and the less illnesses it will have.
You also have to consider that the coop should be aesthetically appealing and highly visible, and that it should be sturdy to handle the occasional storms, flooding and other weather events that your city may have from time to time.
Chicken Coop Checklist
1. Nesting Boxes
Chickens require a nesting area so they can safely lay their eggs. It is suggested that you have one nesting box for every 2 hens and that they have some kind of warm insulation, such as straw.
Chickens love to sleep on a perch, so you should try installing some horizontal bars across the chicken house, where they can fall asleep. You should also install a dropping board or tarp under it for easy cleaning.
Just like us, chickens also require fresh air. They can get sick if the air inside the coop is stale, so make sure there is enough ventilation. You can do that by adding a vent or a window, just don’t forget to protect it with chicken wire or mesh.
4. Insulation and Bedding
Prolong the life of your chickens by providing a well-insulated coop. Just like in your own house, make sure the coop is protected against weather conditions. Choose appropriate insulating materials and also remember to avoid overheating during summer.
For the bedding, the most common material is straw: it’s absorbent, cheap and soft. You can also use wood shavings or chips.
Make sure you protect the backyard chicken coop to avoid predators. Use wire mesh around the outside, use sturdy materials, and consider padlocking the door.
6. Food and Water
It’s good to keep the feeders off the ground, to avoid spillages and accidents.
7. Watertight and Shady
It’s important to keep the chicken coop as comfortable as possible. Make sure it is waterproof to prevent the hens from getting a cold during a wet season and build a shaded area where they can stay out of the sun and cool off.
8. Egg Access and Decoration
You’ll be gathering the eggs frequently, so make sure the tray has an easy access and that you don’t have to crawl in the coop every time. Maybe add a small access window behind it. You can also decorate the coop with plants and greenery, it’s great for the animals.
It’s time to build your own chicken coop!
This awesome DIY by HGTV is super detailed and with lots of pictures. It can house up to six chickens of any size and breed. The rustic style was created by painting it with contrasting red and white, along with a planter box and other decorative elements.
Simple and Cozy
This budget-friendly DIY from Ana White comes with a free backyard chicken coop plan, and the total cost of the project is around $100. Oh, and it’s perfect for beginners! If you’re new to this kind of DIY and if you don’t have that much experience, it’s just the right tutorial!
Wichita Cabin Coop
This gorgeous chicken coop is everything you need: it has convenient access and cleaning, it’s aesthetically pleasing, it has removable ramps and feeders and outside access for egg gathering, and more.
This project is simply the ultimate backyard chicken coop: it’s big, it’s gorgeous, and it will provide the chickens the best there is. You can check out more details over at Trevor Made.
Chicken Coop With Planter
If you have a small backyard, this is the perfect option. The free chicken coop plan provides a nesting box, a clean out tray and also a planter to make it even more cool. Check out the details over at Ana White.
For more free chicken coop plans, check out Morning Chores.
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What will your chicken coop look like? Let us know at our Facebook page or in the comments below!