Raising chickens can be a lot of fun. If you raise them properly, you and your family can have a nice steady supply of organic eggs for years to come. Also, chickens make decent pets too. If you’re thinking of raising chickens, then you’re going to need to pick up a chicken coop. You can always buy your own pre-fabricated chicken coop, but they’re actually simple to build, so you can make your own pretty easily. Here are a few tips on how to build a chicken coop.
The Spot: First off, before you even start to build your coop, you need to pick a decent location. Ideally, your coop should be somewhere shady, like under a tree. Chickens love to sun themselves, but if they’re exposed to too much sun, they can develop heat exhaustion. So, you’ll need roughly four feet by four feet for the chickens’ coop (the coop, for the record, is the area where they rest and lay their eggs), and an additional four or eight square feet for the chickens’ “run.” A run is a covered space where the chickens can run around and get a little bit of exercise—if you want your chickens to live comfortably, then this is very important.
Nest: The chickens’ nest or coop needs to be about three feet off the ground. This will help to keep out any ground insects or pests, and it should help to ward off any nosy predators. Also, by elevating the chickens’ coop, it will keep them dry too, and it should make the egg-collection process a bit easier (you wont have to bend down as much!). The hens need a ramp to enter their coop from the run, and it’s also a great idea to build a little door so you can access the coop to clean it and gather eggs.
Sleeping and eggs: Chickens, like most birds, like to sleep at the highest point available, and they like to come together for additional warmth. So, you’re going to want to build a few different roosts (or high points) for your chickens in the coop. These roosts can be simple closet rods or two by two boards, and you can suspend them about a foot or two off the ground. Chickens prefer straw-lined nooks to lay their eggs, so you can build those ordered nooks closer to the ground.
Air and light: Chickens needs plenty of fresh air and light, so make sure that the coop is exposed to some sunlight throughout the day, and that you use mesh to ensure that the inside of the coop and run are well-ventilated. Also, if your neck of the woods gets cold at night, you can add a lamp or two to the inside of your coop to help keep it warm. Lastly, make sure that your chickens’ feed and their litter areas (where they use the bathroom) are kept on opposite sides of the run and coop. You don’t want the chickens to accidently contaminate their feed. With a little bit of work, you can build a fantastic coop that will help keep your chickens both happy and healthy. Have a great time building the coop!