The “Building Chicken Coops Guide” package is designed for anyone with or without carpenter experiences. No matter if you are looking for a big coop, a small coop or a chicken run, with a big or a little budget, this package takes care of all that.
Over 20 DIY chicken coop plans + the chicken coop project: planning, building and managing your chicken coops.
If you’re reading this, you probably already are very aware of the benefits of owning and maintaining your own chickens. You’ve probably already know that the average chicken lays over 260 eggs a year, and that can lead to over FIVE THOUSAND eggs for your family per year.
What Is The Easiest Way To Build A Chicken Coop?
Building a chicken coop is easier said than done. It is not just a structure that can be constructed according to how you want it. It needs thorough planning and researching to provide convenient and effective chicken coop. Lack of preparations may lead to higher mortality rates and slow development of chickens.
You should bear in mind that chicken coop is the shelter of your chicken. An improper construction of your chicken coop is simply a waste of time and money. In any construction planning, it is very essential to know the location. This is to know the details of the site whether it is a slope, flat, rough, or anything for that matter. This will help you decide the design of the chicken coop. Keep in mind that the quality of the location affects the building plan of the chicken coop.
However, to avoid the unpleasant and tedious work in building a chicken coop, here are easy ways to build your chicken coop efficiently and effectively:
It is essential that you have a detailed plan or blueprint so that you will have a reference and foundation for your construction. This will prevent any waste of time making modifications in the process of building the chicken coop. Also, it will give an accurate list of materials needed for the job.
Purchase of construction materials
List down the materials you need based on the plan you prepared. To save on expenses, buy from second-hand shops but see to it that the materials are still in good shape. If you plan for a home of a few numbers of chickens, make sure that the size of the coop is not only sufficient but think about future expansion. Take into consideration the wood or the lumber to be specific. Consider buying bigger ones, you can cut it into pieces accordingly. For rough wood surfaces, you have to sand it so it will become thinner and suitable for the chicken coop.
Build the frame
The real construction begins at this stage. Get your notes, plan or diagram, measuring tape, sander, power saw, workbench, face mask, and leather gloves ready. Once you have that and the rest of the materials needed, you can start building your chicken coop. No need to worry if you do not have experience in hammering, it might take a long time though but it gets more exciting when the chicken coop begins to take shape. Do not forget to clean all the pieces of woods by sanding it.
Putting it all together
Once the frame is ready, sidings and the roofing material are next. When increasing the dimensions of your hen-house, it is important that you double the length of the wood that hold up. Also, look into the windows and doors. That is the last thing you should work on. Once construction is done, have an inspection and plug all the joints and seams with an insulation material to prevent cold air from entering your chicken coop.
Lastly, paint the coop with any color you want to match with the total character of the chicken coop. This will not only gives color to the chicken coop but also protect the materials from rust and deterioration.
Although building a chicken coop can be tiring but then it will all be worthwhile when you are receiving the fruit of your labor – your profits.
What are the Main Criteria for Building Chicken Coop?
A chicken coop is vital in the overall health and productivity of chickens. For egg production, it is the nesting place for egg-laying and perches on which these chickens can sleep. Thorough preparations have to be done in building a chicken coop. It can be done through research and asking for experts advises. Several factors have to be seriously considered to attain success.
To help you with building a chicken coop, here are the main criteria you need to consider:
• Suitable location for the chicken coop
Firstly, you must have the right location for your chicken coop. It can even be in your backyard or any place, depending on how many chickens you intend to raise and housed in a chicken coop. It should have easy access to food and water, has good ventilation and enough light. Make sure that your hens have some shade when it is hot, somewhere dry when it rains, and some direct sunlight for when it is just right.
• Appropriate materials available for use
When it comes to building a house for them, chickens are not picky about the look. Rather, the main considerations are whether the chicken coop is dry, clean and dark. You, then, need to choose materials that will keep out the weather and any possible predators. Windows with well-built net coverings on both sides would allow cross-ventilation. Doors have to be considered to make it easier to get into the chicken house and collect eggs or clean. Chicken houses should have a thick layer of hay or wood shavings covering the ground. Keep nesting boxes well supplied with fresh hay to encourage egg-laying. Make sure that no dampness can seep up from under the hen house. You may need to use a concrete base or build the hen house up on stilts to keep out the moisture.
• Proper size of the chicken coop
The number of chickens you intend to have will decide how big their house should be. Make provision for individual nesting boxes and enough perching spaces to house all of your chickens. There should be adequate room for them all to flutter and move about. Chickens tend to be more at ease laying eggs in smaller nesting boxes. This puts off chickens from kicking off the straws out of the box and at the same time stinking their nest.
• Water & Electricity
Chickens need clean water as much as they need it for their food. Thus, chicken coop must be close to water resources. Electricity in the chicken coops is essential as these chickens must have enough light as it affects egg-laying hens.
• Proper drainage system
Waste materials like mud formation, chicken manure, and food wastage can bring about germs and bacteria that would be the source of health problems with chicken. Frequent clean up and using metal sheets for your drainage will prevent this occurrence.
A suitable chicken coop caters proper comfort to the chickens. Chicken layers need a safe, comfortable, conducive and healthy environment. These are expected if you want lots of lovely, fresh eggs every day!
What Are The Best Materials To Build A Chicken Coop?
It formulates a financial sense to construct a chicken coop yourself than buying pricey ready-made ones. Besides, you still have to be put together for assembly. You are just paying immensely exaggerated costs for the material. Building your own chicken coop is worth the venture regardless of whether you’ve ever raised chickens before or not. There are many folks who pay out hundreds or even thousands purchasing a chicken coop before realizing they could have easily built their own for just a fraction of the price.
There are many factors in deciding what dimension and form of chicken coop you will build. If you are making out a shopping list, consider the following items:
• Framing Lumber
The frame of the coop is most often made up of 2 x 3s or 2 x 4s. For a big walk-in coop’s structural floor beams and/or roof rafters, you may upgrade to 2 x 6s or 2 x 8s. Skids or support posts can be heavy 4 x 4s. Use a naturally rot-resistant wood like cedar, redwood, or tropical hardwoods and infuse with pesticides. They have to be treated to prevent moisture build up in the coop which could cause your chickens to get sick. In a moist environment, the disease could easily spread.
For floors, protective walls, and covering roofs, sheet lumber are generally used. Oriented strand board or T1-11 paneling may be a good substitute.
• Roofing Shingles
Safeguard your completed chicken coop with roofing shingles made of asphalt. Fiberglass or corrugated roofing panels of metal can be used to cover or protect your chicken from the intense heat of the sun. The addition of shingles to the roof will keep your chickens warm and dry.
• Wire mesh
Most chicken coops have runs enclosed in heavy-gauge wire mesh. Use the recommended size of 25mm x 25mm x 2mm wire mesh. It can also be used to cover windows, vents, or other openings in the shelter and make them predator-proof. If your chicken coop is on the ground, you may bury the wire mesh up to 1.6 feet to prevent predators from digging under the fence.
• Nails or screws
In all chances, you will need both nails and screws for different steps of building your coop. There are times where a nail basically won’t do a screw job, and the screw will do the nail’s job. Choose fastener that suits your building application and your coop’s weather conditions. Special roofing nails are required for shingled roofs.
• Fencing staples
Use U-shaped nails to lock wire mesh in place.
Use insulation for a comfortable coop for the chickens. Keeping the chickens warm is very important to keep them healthy. There are several insulating materials that best fits your chicken coop like nylon, polyethylene, Styrofoam and fiber glass. You may also consider wood since it can absorb both heat and cold external conditions.
If your chickens are not secure in their chicken coop, they will not be producing to their utmost potential. Learn the necessary information needed to construct a profitable chicken coop, and do not just strike some wood jointly, cover mesh around it, and think they’re good as done. Regardless of what you use, as long as you meet your poultry needs, you will certainly have plenty of fresh eggs.
How to Keep Predators Away From My Chicken Coop
One of the primary concerns in poultry raising is how to keep predators away from the chicken coop. The vulnerability of chickens to predators can lead to the profit loss. This is something that should be taken seriously by poultry farmers.
There are several predators that can cause problems to your chickens like snakes, rats, hawks, dogs, owls and other bewildering animals. These predators are just waiting for the chance to take something inside your chicken coop. The lack of safety preparations in your chicken coop can be a great advantage for predators to have a bountiful feast.
There are effective ways to keep predators away from your chicken coop:
• Have a well-constructed chicken coop.
This is your primary line of defense. You have to take time in preparing the blueprint and quality of materials for chicken coop. It is best to design your chicken coop high enough for land animals to reach but still conveniently accessible for feeding and other maintenance tasks. Also, invest in materials to be used in the chicken coop. It should be in high quality and chicken-friendly. You can use hardwood that is permeated with pesticides, rabbit wire, chain link and other popular chicken material that are tested for durability and reliability.
• Elevate the chicken coop off the ground.
Raise a certain level of height from the ground to the base of your chicken coop. This should be high enough to prevent rats, dogs, fox and other animals to reach. However, maintain a level that can still be accessible for feeding, cleaning and other daily routine. It is advisable to have 3 to 4 feet distance from the coop base to the ground. If you intend to go higher, you may have a portable ramp for use in your poultry routine.
• Install proper lightings around the coop.
This is not optional but compulsory. This is essential especially during night time. Several nocturnal predators are just waiting for darkness and take advantage of the situation. With proper lighting surrounding you coop, predators will be hesitant to attack and become visible in case they will attempt to strike. Motion-sensor lighting is a great addition for enhanced protection.
• Maintain cleanliness around the area.
This is one of the effective ways to avoid insects, pests, and other bugs. The existence of compost pile and food scraps will certainly catch the attention of these harmful pests to plague the chicken coop area. Although these insects, pests and bugs seem to be very small but then they have the ability to multiply in a short period of time. They are excellent carriers of chicken diseases and deadly viruses. Make sure that cleaning schedule is properly complied and cleanliness in the surrounding is emphasized.
The effectiveness of these ways to keep predators away from your chicken coop depends on the implementation. Caretakers should be aware and properly oriented with the importance of these methods to be observed consistently. Bear in mind that it only takes few minutes for predators to strike and leave you with several damages.
How can I make my chicken coop and their run smell better?
Raising chickens require lots of time and efforts. This is where you invest money and hoping to have better profit in return. You can earn from chicken meat or from its egg production. But there are several concerns to be addressed along the way. One of the challenges to cope with is neutralizing the odor.
The unpleasant part in poultry production is dealing with the odor. More often than not, the chicken coop is filled with manure, fallen feathers, and squandered feeds in a short period of time. This is something that should be dealt with seriously. The foul odor produces as by-product of poultry farming is not only irritating to human but also for chicken. Disregarding this issue will surely cause a headache.
Here are some effective ways to prevent bad odor spreading in your poultry area:
• Have straw or pine shavings for the floor.
Spread all over the area or chicken coop base. Straw or pine provides a fresh scent when it is first laid down.
It also gives a warm and fluffy feeling in the area. The fresh scent also comes with easy maintenance and cleanup.
• Ensure proper chicken to coop area ratio.
Although there is no exact ratio for chicken to coop are but then the recommended ratio is one chicken per three square feet. Well, the bigger space — the better. The same is true when it comes to neutralizing the smell. Providing sufficient space for chicken in the chicken coop will lessen the accumulation of odor-producing waste.
• Provide proper ventilation.
You must have adequate room for ventilation. Proper exposure to air will prevent odor to pile-up and create a strong foul scent. Even a well-built chicken coop can still be damped, dimmed, and stank through lack of ventilation. If your coop has a very small opening, cut holes and cover them with chicken wire so that air can circulate better and cut back on odor.
• Check for stagnant water or any drainage problem.
Ensure that there is no drainage problem or stuck water in any area. Check the top and openings for leaks and seal them up to prevent water from developing dank and foul-smelling. This will also prevent mosquitoes to plague in your poultry area.
• Use wood shavings for bedding and floor covering.
These will absorb moist from chicken manure, waste water and feeds. The animal bedding acts like cat litter, absorbing and coating the manure. This keeps the smell down and the flies away just like we want. Change it once a week or as needed to get rid of residual smells from chicken manure, dampness and rotten food.
• Apply deep litter concept.
Control your coop’s floor litter or deep litter well and you can create low-smell warm coop. This lessens maintenance routine and harvest compost at the end of the year. The deep litter concept uses bacteria to heat and break down the incoming manure so it remains virtually odorless, environment-friendly and source of fertilizer. You need not do any cleaning for at least six months and can stay good for up to 12 months. However, routine monitoring is advised.
The efforts you exerted in neutralizing the smell of your poultry area will definitely lead to significant productivity.
I want to build a chicken coop what kind of flooring is recommended?
Constructing a chicken coop can be a gratifying accomplishment. One of the main concerns in having economical and cost effective design is deciding on the kind of floor you will use. Whatever flooring you prefer, you will have to put bedding on top to absorb chicken manure and water spillage. Chickens peck and scratch and as a result, they can dig through to the floor. The flooring of the chicken coop plays a vital role for the benefits of your chickens and also for the chicken farmers. Here are some flooring suggestions for your chicken coop:
• Steel or Plastic Screen
This is a good choice for the flooring but you need to elevate your chicken coop and the holes must be big enough for the manure to pass through. Make sure that it is not too high for you to climb and not too low to be reached by predators. It is wise if you have a small chicken coop and you do not have to get inside to clean it. The good thing about this is that, you can put a pad of sawdust under it to catch the chicken manure. It will be very easy to change it and at the same time the sawdust will serve as deodorizer. If you will be raising egg-laying chickens, this is highly recommended.
• Saw Dust
This is a better option in cold season because it will temperate your chicken’s feet. It is also soft to step on, thus your chickens love to scratch the ground and their feet are safe from wounds.
One good thing about saw dust is its deodorizer element that will suck down the odor of the chicken manure. Later on, you can use it as an organic fertilizer after altering the bedding. On the contrary, it is hard to clean when wet. It becomes loamy as an outcome of the mixture of water and chicken manure.
This is a good flooring choice for hot season because it will take on the cool temperature inside the chicken coop. The draining activity of the sand is great when the water pours down into the floor.
The good thing about sand is that, you can easily sweep the chicken manure while cleaning. In contrast, it does not have the ability to suck down the odor of the manure unlike the saw dust.
• Bamboo Sticks
Another great choice for chicken coop floorings is the bamboo. This is widely used by most chicken farmers because it is strong to step on especially when you elevate the floors and your coop is big that you have to get inside when cleaning. This is very easy to clean since the manure can pass through the bamboo stick floor intervals and then you can collect it.
The good thing is that, you can also make money from the collected manure because most plant growers use organic fertilizers to bring back the soil’s richness.
• Concrete Floor
A concrete floor is good enough, but you must provide abundant bedding and make sure it is not damp. Be careful because the floor might become slippery and hens will break or injure their legs.
Whatever flooring type you will use will depend on the climate, the chicken coop size, the number of chickens and your financial capacity. As long as it is worth every minute of work and every penny you spend to make sure you’ve built a secure and safe home for your chickens.
Tips to Find a Good Chicken Coop Design
Keeping chickens is simple, anybody can do it. But keeping them in top shape is certainly challenging. One of the difficult parts is selecting the perfect chicken coop. The desire for appropriate chicken coop that can keep your chickens protected, comfortable and productive should be a top priority. There are lots of designs to choose that can be suitable for your chicken size, location and other factors.
Finding the appropriate chicken coop design can be tedious. There are things you need to seriously consider. Here are some design considerations for your chicken coop:
• Space Dimensions
The rough dimension needed for each bird inside the coop is 4 square feet. For the outside run, only about 16 square feet has to be planned. This dimension will help you calculate the area and will help you select a good location. While you have already selected the area, through this dimension, you can identify how many chickens you can keep.
Secure your chickens from possible predators in the area. Chicken meat is a favorite meal not only of people but of other carnivorous creatures such as rats, dogs, snakes, foxes. As predators, they would break through all possibilities to attack. Therefore, they would need a good, strong, predator-proof run any time of the day. They have to be secured or else you cannot rest thinking that your chickens might have been attacked by these predators, especially at night time. Their house must be a safe haven. Thus, your coop must be designed having a solid lumber and to bury outside runs with chicken wire all around the coop about 1 foot deep. This will prevent the entry of these unwelcome guests.
Coop design must be able to tolerate any weather conditions, to ensure the protections of your flock in your particular location. Windows and doors have to be built that can be opened and closed when needed.
• Food & Water
Chicken feeders and watersheds should be placed where they can have easy access. But access is not the only thing to be considered but we know how chickens eat, and food and water can be all over your coop because of their scratching. To prevent this, feeders and watersheds must be placed at the height of the back of the chicken, so they need to stretch their necks to eat and cannot be reached by their feet.
• Light Source
Ensure to install the chicken coop windows where they will receive direct sunlight throughout the day, this will give a well-ventilated during the hot months and a good source of light and warmth for your chickens during cold months.
Coop should be designed to keep and protect the chickens from predators and bad weather but proper ventilation is still required. Chickens need fresh air and oxygen just like humans. Thus, it is important to have free air movement within the coop that would also take away put up of ammonia and moisture that may grow inside its walls. Chicken coop walls must be insulated as this keeps the chicken dry. And if they are dry, they can manage cold weather.
Once you have studied these factors in deciding which coop design suits your requirement, then you can start building your chicken coop. Read more…