Welcome to Backyard Chicken Coop Central….Everything you need to know about building your own backyard chicken coop!
Before you get your chickens you must have a chicken coop. The main purpose of having a chicken coop is to protect your chickens from bad weather and predators. Whether you are raising egg laying chickens or show chickens you need to have a place for them to live before investing in them and bringing them home. More and more people are changing the way they eat, looking for a healthy alternative to what they can find in the grocery store. Or, even if organic food can be found, it is often very expensive. Eggs are a staple in most people’s diet, and it has been proven that once the cost of building a backyard chicken coop has been recouped, there are substantial savings in raising egg laying chickens.
Build you own backyard chicken coop
Figure out where you are going to build your chicken coop. Do you plan to build a coop that is portable, fixed, or semi-permanent? Something to keep in mind, a movable, or portable, the chicken coop is easier to clean. Make sure the place you pick is safe from predators, clean and where they are comfortable laying their eggs. Before you start you need to decide how many chickens you want to have as this will dictate the size of your backyard chicken coop.
Plan on one feed and water station for four chickens. Keep in mind access to water when planning on where you will put your chicken coop. When you are building your chicken coop build the nest box at the same time and integrate it into the design. A good rule of thumb is six egg laying chickens require nine square feet of nesting space. Build your coop in an area with plenty of sunlight, out of the direct path of the wind, and away from predators.
Buying Your Supplies
Once you have determined the right place to build your backyard chicken coop and know how big it needs to be to house your chickens, you are ready to buy your building supplies. Take the chicken coop plans you have chosen and make a list of supplies you need. At this stage is best to consider where you want to be in a year or two with your chickens. If you feel sure you are going to add to your flock, build your chicken coop now to accommodate the future need. In addition, you can usually construct your backyard chicken coop with used and/or recycled material. This saves on cost and helps the environment.
There are some things to keep in mind when you are choosing your lumber. Pick out wood that is bigger than the actual dimensions shown in your plants. Don’t be concerned if the wood has cracks, the age of the wood confirms that it won’t crack. Buy all that you need during this trip so you aren’t running back in the midst of building.
Before you start building gather your equipment in one place. You will need your chicken coop plans, a sander, a tape measure, power saw, work bench, face mask, and gloves. It’s best to get everything you need together and in one place so you don’t have to stop and look for something you need to continue.
Time to Start Building
Take the time to examine and clean all your wood. If you bought it second hand, a good cost saving idea, make sure all old nails are out. Sand down the wood before you build so you will have a smooth surface. Cut your wood to size based on the dimensions in your chicken coop plans. Start with the bottom frames, then work up to the side frames and supporting frames.
When you are assembling the frames, use wood glue to hold the wood together. Drill small pilot holes for the nails. This will guarantee the nails will go in straight. If you have some carpentry experience you can choose to construct your frame with miter joint or an end lap joint.
When you have the frame finished it’s time to put on the siding and the roofing. You can choose the material you want to do this, plywood and chicken wire are the most common. If you are building your chicken coop bigger than the dimensions in your plans, make sure you increase the length of the wood supports and sides appropriately.
Once the sides and root are on you can then add any windows and the door to the chicken coop. When you have finished, look over the coop and plug all seams and joints with insulation material to ensure your chickens stay warm.
Finally…paint your backyard chicken coop to match your own home, or choose something different just for your chickens! For some fun ideas click here.
To save a little money, you can choose to build your backyard chicken coop in the corner of your fence and use it as two sides of your coop. You need to make sure the roof of the coop is higher than the fence and the roof edge extends over the fence. The material for the roof can be corrugated plastic or tin. Make sure your wire mesh is 25x25x25 to keep out predators. The entrance into the coop needs to be big enough for you to get in with feed and to clean the coop. When building include enough perches so your chickens have a place to rest and sleep.
You now are ready to build your own backyard chicken coop. Let us know how your backyard chicken coop turns out!