Chicken farm - how to bild chicken coop

A chicken coop is a structure where live chickens are kept either on a chicken homestead or, in our case, a backyard chicken farm. It is also known by many chicken breeders as a chicken house or chicken shack.

Most chicken coops are made of wood, a special kind of fencing known as chicken wire, and straw. Do not worry, these chicken coop building materials are inexpensive and can be found at your local hardware / lumber store. As a matter of fact, it is not difficult to build a chicken coop using materials found in your own home. When my father and I built our first chicken house, we only used a few pieces of wood and a small frame of chicken wire for the top. Ofcourse this was designed and built in just a few hours for 2 baby chickens that we owned, but as our flock grew, so did our ideas and creativity. We refused to purchase those overpriced chicken coops from the store which at the time were in the two to five hundred dollar range, so we took upon ourselves to construct a coop from the ground up. Needless to say, we succeeded and for the past 15 years, we have been raising pet chickens effortlessly. 

chicken coop

Chicken Coop Plans

If you are not a carpenter or have not had extensive experience construction chicken coops, it is a good idea to have some comprehensive chicken coop designs handy before you start building a chicken house. I wasn't the artist in the family so my father took on the tedious task of sketching all of his chicken coop plans himself before we would build them. It serves as a good reference point and helps you avoid costly mistakes afterwards, but does require some sort of artistic skill. If you are like myself, and are not as artistically inclined like my father was, I would recommend looking up some chicken coop design sources online that will help you get started.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when building a chicken house is protection. A chicken house is not only designed as a place for keeping chickens or shelter for your hens to lay their chicken eggs, but for protection as well. Protecting your chickens from cold drafts or other sorts of poor weather should be your #1 concern when building your first chicken coop. While keeping a flock of chickens can be fun and rewarding, it can be quite sad if your flock gets ill due to adverse weather conditions and poor chicken coop planning. Although you want to keep your chickens protected from cold or hazardous weather, you also do not want them suffocating due to the chicken coop being too hot. Chickens require a draft free coop where humidity is non existant. You want to build your chicken house with doors or windows that can be opened for ventilation as needed, otherwise when closed, the coop will remain warm and dry. Keep in mind that prolonged dampness can harm your coop so make sure to construct your coop on a well drained area, preferably in a high structure to keep water saturation away. The front of the chicken coop and windows should face the sun so that during the day it will dry up the soil and keep the coop warm. Ultimately, you want to make sure the chicken coop you build is well ventilated but does not provide an easy way in for predators.  

Protection from Predators

One of the best ways to keep your chickens protected from predators is to keep the coop confined with fence or chicken wire. You may want to consider cementing the floor and start out the walls using two cinder blocks. This will prevent snakes and other predators from digging under the ground and coop walls. However, I prefer to use a chicken wired floor so that the chickens can still enjoy pecking at worms and small rodents for a quick meal. Make sure to keep the windows and doors of the chicken coop covered up securely. It is recommended to install a screening system to the doors and windows for protection when opened. Another security measure is to bury the outside chicken wire along the coops borders about 1 foot deep. This will ensure that largers predators won't even fathom digging under the fence and preying on your chicken flock. It is an even better idea to toe the chicken wire fence outward for about 6 inches. Predators usually dig at the base of the wire with the intention of easily going right underneath it and into the chicken coop. Won't it come as a big shock when those dig loving animals end up digging themselves into some more buried wire? This will definitely discourage them and protect your livestock from future predatorial attempts.

Chicken Feeders and Waterers

Next we want to make sure to keep a chicken feeding device or watering structure so that you wont have to invest much time during the day to feed your chickens. You also wouldn't want your chickens to get too skiny from a lack of nutrition, so keeping their chicken feeding devices clean and filled with their favorite foods will be enough to keep your chicken flock happy and healthy. Make sure to keep the chicken feeders and waterers conveniently placed throughout the chicken coop for easy access. However, it is ideal to keep them hung at about the average chickens' height to ensure they won't get dirty from dumplings and also to avoid wastage. Chickens are not conscious about where they poop or even step on, and if the feeders and waterers are kept at ground level, most of them will poop all over their supply and end up consuming it later. For the healthiest chicken keep, it's best to provide them with fresh clean water, and clean dry food.

by Miriam Rolling – poultry farmer