Building a Chicken Coop
There are several benefits to owning chickens, especially if you find yourself frowning at the grocery store’s prices on eggs. There is no need to build an extravagant coop if you only plan on keeping a few birds, especially if you have limited space. Chicken coops can be a great backyard project, but there are a few guidelines you should follow. If you have no prior carpentry experience, try opting for a different project, or make sure to prepare accordingly before committing yourself to the cause.
Before building a chicken coop, decide what type of breeds of chickens you want to keep. Some chicken breeds require a bit more space, or special coops designed for their stock. Determine how many you want to keep, or tailor your coop to the amount of chickens you plan on buying. Make sure to set aside space, and remember that chickens react badly when cooped up. They should have room to wander and a safe, elevated place to sleep. A happy, healthy chicken will lay more eggs than one that’s cramped in close quarters.
Make sure the chickens have a shady place to sleep and play. Place your coop under a tree, or install awnings over their run. Make sure there’s a place for their water, and don’t put the coop too close to your house! The smell might bother you or other housemates, and your chickens might not appreciate the constant action within the home. Put the coop somewhere quiet, and make sure the chickens are protected from predators like dogs or coyotes.
Chicken coops have two basic parts. A place for the chickens to rest, sleep, and lay eggs, and the run, which gives them room to roam around. These parts should have ample space, and you should make sure that they have adequate lodgings at night.
The main part of the coop should be elevated, and you should leave room under the coop so you can shovel out droppings. The floor should be made out of chicken wire to ensure easy cleaning. Make sure you can get within the coop easily, otherwise replacing straw and collecting eggs can be a pain.
The run should be big in comparison to the house, since chickens usually like to roam around and play. At least 4 square feet per bird is good, although you should avoid putting too many chickens in a small run. They may fuss, squabble, or become stressed.
Tin and wood paneling are cheap easy-to-use materials. While you can opt for more expensive materials or make your coop larger, extravagance isn’t necessary. Chickens are simple animals. As long as their quarters are clean and spacious, they will likely be content.
Chickens can be a worthwhile investment, and you can look into fancier breeds of chickens if you intend to keep them for show. Many different chicken breeds can be kept together in one normal coop, and they are social animals that usually don’t mind company. Chicken-keeping can be a good project for children. You can teach them responsible animal-handling and upkeep, and you don’t have to commit to a dog.
Along with fresh eggs and quiet company, chickens are useful as livestock or pets. Make sure to get a few so your chicken doesn’t become lonely, and make sure that their lodgings are sufficient before purchasing them. Chicken coops are easy to build, and you can always expand, renovate, or replace them in the future. Look up creative blueprints online, or stick with a traditional layout for simplicity.