It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or you already know how to build a chicken coop like an expert, you must plan before any building or construction of your new chicken coop begins. This is a vital step for you and your chickens.
You need to offer humane, comfortable conditions for your birds, whether you're keeping chickens to give you eggs for the family, for pleasure, or as a meat source.
Your chickens want comfort with their surroundings, have good feed, clean water, sunshine, ventilation, and enough room to move around comfortably.
All this fluff and comfort is not just for your birds sake, but for yours as well. If your birds are healthy, happy, and egg productivity is good, then it makes for an efficient venture for you and your family.
Laying out a plan for your new chicken house is a very important step you should not overlook. The health of your flock and egg laying productivity depends on you making the right decisions. Many people get so excited about the building process they tend to overlook the basic fundamentals for setting up a coop correctly. I've put together a handful of tips which will help guide you through the planning stage for your new chicken coop project.
Tip #1 - Shelter from the Wind and Rain
Your chickens need a house that keeps them dry in wet weather, warm in the winter, shaded from the burning sun, and protected from the wind.
If your chickens are wet, cold, or fearful, they will be unhappy, unhealthy, and your egg production will decrease.
Tip #2 - Decide How Many Birds You Plans To Have and Size Accordingly
This is an important decision. If you were to build your coop too small, or you decide to add more birds to an already full coop, you and your birds will suffer.
Always build a little larger than you think you will need. Too much room will not hurt you at all, but too little most certainly will.
Let's say you were thinking of starting out with 4 chickens, and maybe down the road adding a few more. You should size your coop according to the final outcome, not the starting number.
Allow for a minimum of 2-3 square feet per bird for inside the coop. For the run area, allow at least 4 square feet per bird. The more the better.
If your flock is confined inside a completely enclosed area, allow for at least 6-10 square feet per bird.
Cramped spaces will cause problems such as pecking and aggressiveness, or even poor egg laying.
Tip #3 - What Kind of Climate Do You Live In?
It's important in colder climates that you insulate your coop to protect your birds from cold temperatures and freezing to death.
Cold is not the only problem, if you live in a hot climate, you need to provide shade so your birds don't cook from the heat.
Tip #4 - Decide on Coop Size according To Your Yard Size
We already talked about sizing your chicken coop once you know how many birds you'll be raising, but how large your property is will obviously play a huge factor.
If you have plenty of room, then you have no worries. But, if you have a small property you may have to build according to your available room, and size your flock according to that.
Tip #5 - Let in Some Sunshine and Fresh air
It's important that your chickens have sunshine. Do not keep your birds in a constant shaded area or they will suffer from lack of sunshine.
Just like most creatures, chickens need sunshine for health and well-being. If you have a small property with limited choices for coop site, you may want to seriously consider having a mobile coop you can move around so your birds can catch some sun-rays.
Just like sunshine, you need to provide adequate ventilation as well.
Tip #6 - Give Your Chickens Exercise
Chickens need exercise! You can either let your chickens run free, or give a fenced in area they can run around in. Make it easy for them to access their coop at any time.
If you have predator problems you would be advised to keep the chickens in a fenced area to provide protection. Make sure to run the wire fencing across the top of the run area as well to protect against cats, hawks, owls, and other animals that could easily climb over your fence or fly in.
Tip #7: Build According To Your Budget
Finally, the last tip is about cost. The larger the coop size, the larger the cost. If you are on a fairly tight budget, you'll need to consider how big of a coop and flock you can realistically afford.
There are many things you can do to cut down the costs when building your chicken coop. Building with used material you already have lying around, or maybe a friend or neighbor has lumber they would like to give you and that would certainly cut the costs of building materials down. Also, building the housing yourself from a good set of chicken coop plans could save you as much as 50% off the price of buying a coop in kit form or already built.
Planning and building your chicken coop should not be difficult or even take a lot of time. Just a few hours of planning will go a long way in keeping the process smooth.
Let's do a quick recap.
Provide shelter from the environment and predators, build according to your projected flock size and how much property you have to work with, give your chickens enough room to exercise, place your chicken coop so they get plenty of sunshine and fresh air, and finally, size according to your projected budget.
Keep these building tips in mind and your chickens will be happy, you'll be happy, and your building costs will stay reasonable with proper planning and building the coop correctly the first time.
Even if you don't know how to build a chicken coop yourself, knowing how to plan the coop construction is an absolute must.
Mark P. Cooper is a seasoned expert builder who excels at planning, constructing and building long-lasting chicken coops with an obsession on delivering quality. With over 30 years experience with farm animals and chicken coop construction, Mark has some powerful insight to share that will help you plan and build your chicken housing like an expert.