How to Build a Chicken Coop - 7 Tips on Building a Chicken House
If you want to learn how to build a chicken coop, so it will meet expectations and needs of your chickens, this article is for you. Chickens aren't choosy animals, but they require few things in their life to stay happy, health and lay eggs regularly. However, this article isn't only about convenience of your chickens, by following tips I share below, you will be building a chicken coop that is easier and faster to clean as well as keep in good condition.
Chicken are very dependent on light when it comes to their life cycle. They go to sleep when it is getting dark and wake up with sunrise. That is why you have to build windows in your chicken coop that will supply a lot of light.
You should place windows in your chicken coop in a way that will allow your flock to get as much sun as they only can. Especially in the mornings. Most of the windows in your chicken house should be in a direction of the sunrise.
Second use for windows is creating air circulation inside your chicken coop. They allow your chickens to breath with fresh air and save you from dealing with bad smells while you are cleaning the chicken coop.
Failing to supply your chickens with an appropriate source of light will decrease their performance and cause them to lay eggs less frequently or during weird hours. So if, for some reason, you can't supply them with natural light, try to substitute it with electrical. This, however, should be done under supervision of someone who knows how to build a chicken coop.
Electrical light is a great idea, but you have to make sure that the installation is well hidden and won't become a pecking target. The other thing you have to remember is that with electrical light, your bills can get really high, so my recommendation is to always search for natural solutions.
You have to remember about creating a chicken house of the right size. You should estimate how many chickens you are going to keep and based on that choose an appropriate plan. Each chicken requires from 4 to 5 square feet to feel comfortable.
If you are unable to find a perfect fit for your flock, always choose bigger coop. Small chicken coops will force your birds to crowd on a very limited space and that can cause disease spreading and in some extreme cases cannibalism.
The next dramatic result of keeping your chickens in a small space is, aggression. Chickens that don't have enough room, can become aggressive towards you, other members of the flock and the chicken coop itself. They also tend to break their own eggs so, pay attention to the size of your chicken house.
What is your budget?
Budget is a very important factor you should consider while learning how to build a chicken coop. It can be the single reason that will kill your entire undertaking. That is why you should always establish how much you can spend before starting to build.
There are many ways you can cut the cost of construction. One of the most obvious ones is buying cheaper, but still usable materials. This, however, requires information on what kind of materials are chicken safe and, which aren't.
Another way you can decrease the money you will spend is, by finding free materials. Yes, it is possible. Just ask around if some of your neighbors don't have spare pieces of wood they don't plan to use. You will be surprised how much stuff you will receive.
However, if all the above methods don't work for you, I recommend to hold building your chicken coop for some time. It is better to wait until you save an appropriate amount of money, then rush into construction. This will insure you are building a chicken coop that will last long and not some low-quality dummy that will fall apart faster than you have built it.
How much time can you spare
Your time limitations are very important when you are discovering how to build a chicken house. If you have problems finding an hour every week to clean up your chicken coop, you have to give it some thinking.
Taking care of your chicken house is very important. So if you have problems finding enough time to clean it, forget about complicated chicken house designs. By creating a simpler construction that is easier to access and keep clean, you invest in happiness and health of your chickens.
Always build chicken houses that have plenty of well designed access points. They will make cleaning and collecting eggs' way easier. By simply making the floor of your chicken coop slightly tilted in the direction of the entrance, you will cut the cleaning time by more than half. This simple trick will allow you to hose down your chicken coops floor, helping you to save a lot of energy.
Land and climate
It is really important to choose the right place for your chicken house. It should stand on an even, hard ground in order to be durable and useful to your chickens. That is why, you should spend some time thinking about this issue.
What kind of a climate you are living in? Does it rain a lot? What kind of a soil is in your backyard? Is it cold for most of the year?
If you are living in a place, where the soil is very soft and it rains a lot, you should raise your chicken coop above the ground, or else it will drown with time. Especially if your chicken house is very large, and you own a large flock.
If it is cold in your area for most of the time you have to use thicker materials and insulation that will help your chicken to remain warm during harsher weather conditions. If the thicker walls alone don't do the trick, you may also want to install an artificial heather that will keep the right temperature when it is needed. For more specific advice on heathers ask a person who has experience in the area of how to build a chicken coop.
Do you want a mobile chicken coop?
The next thing you should ask yourself is, will you move your chicken coop a lot. If yes, you may think about building a mobile chicken house. It will allow you to change location of your flocks' home with ease.
The only disadvantage of such a solution is the size limitation. In order to create a mobile chicken coop, you will have to attach wheels to it. This, on the other hand, will force you to build a chicken coop which size allows you to carry it. The next thing you have to think about is the hardness of the ground in your backyard. If it is very soft you won't be able to pull your chicken coop through it, without getting stuck.
Protection from predators
Topic of predators is often missed by many people who learn how to build a chicken coop. But this issue is of utter importance and if neglected can lead to loss of your entire flock.
You should start from establishing what kind of predators are in your neighborhood. You can do it either by asking people near you or searching this information on the Internet. The thing you are after is the method they will try to attack your chicken coop.
If they will try to go from the top, you should cover the top of your chicken run with a fence. If you are dealing with really big animals that may try to destroy the fence of your run or chicken coop overall, use the most durable materials you can find. If you think they will try to dig their way to your chicken house, make sure you dig the fence at least a foot into the ground.
In addition to these tips, you should also remember to tweak the weakest link of nearly all chicken coops and runs, doors. Try to find ones that have a tight fit, multiple latches and overall there is no way to get in, for unwanted animals.
As you can see learning how to build a chicken coop requires a lot of time and experience on your part. That is why you shouldn't rush in to the building. Don't hope you will combat all the obstacles along the way. It is plain stupid and you will have to spend more time doing necessary modifications then, you would spend on the entire construction, only if you would invest more time into crucial preparations. So spend some more time learning how to build a chicken coop and plan your chicken house with confidence.