If you are into rearing chicken, you know it is essential to have a chicken coop. A chicken coop will shelter the chicken from weather elements and protect them from predators. When it comes to chicken coops, you can opt for a DIY chicken coop or purchase a prefabricated one. The choice will depend on your taste, preference, and budget.
Building a chicken coop from scratch can be quite a daunting task. But if you have chosen this option, you need to know plenty of things. This way, you can avoid any mistakes that might cost you a lot in the long run.
In this article, we discuss some of the most important things you must remember when building a chicken coop. Let’s delve into them.
1. Determine your needs
Before looking at chicken coops, everyone needs to determine how many chickens they need to house, what breed and size of hens they have, and what kind of weather they will be experiencing. A coop should typically have no less than four square feet of area per chicken, or ten if the hens don’t get to go outside for exercise.
However, this is where the breed of bird being considered matters: Unsurprisingly, bantam breeds can survive with less area (approximately two square feet each), whereas larger types like Brahmas require more (up to eight square feet).
The climate is the final factor to consider. Does the coop require insulation to protect it from the cold? Is there constant flooding that requires the coop to be elevated? By providing the answers to these questions in advance, you can avoid wasting time on ineffective coop construction for your flock.
2. Take into account the total cost of the project.
The materials you use and the tools and building materials (screws, braces, hinges, etc.) you currently have will determine how much a DIY chicken coop will cost. The cost can be almost free if you use secondhand materials and decide you already have all you need. If you purchase your brand-new supplies, the price may reach several hundred dollars. The most affordable and frequently suggested solution for outdoor projects like this is vinyl. It is no only affordable but resistant to rot and weather elements.
3. Choose a plan
Any builder will tell you that the most crucial phase in the process is planning your DIY chicken coop. This requires selecting a coop plan, which is fortunately simple and cost-free online. Make sure your coop design works with the materials you have on hand and your flock. Many people prefer using used or salvaged materials to create their coops, greatly reducing the project’s cost. If you’re utilizing secondhand materials, make sure the layout can be modified to match what you have on hand or that the items will work with your intended coop plan.
4. Determine the ideal size.
Of course, the size of your chickens will determine the size of your chicken coop. You can have four square feet if you have normal hen. Although they only require two square feet per breed, bantam breeds want additional vertical space. Giant breeds may require up to eight square feet per individual.
However, these figures are only accurate for hens and if they have access to outdoor activity. Hens without a run will need at least 10 square feet of floor space each, and roosters will need additional space. Plan 10 square feet for each chicken in your run. However, double-check for your particular breed because different breeds may require varied amount of space.
5. Choose a location where your girls will be safe and comfortable.
Like with blueprints, there is no set formula for the ideal location; rather, there are several
considerations to weigh against your requirements and preferences. Shade is a major factor; positioning the coop away from the sun can help prevent your flock from overheating. A different issue, which is predator accessibility, can arise if your DIY chicken coop is built right under the trees.
If your flock is housed immediately under a strong tree, hawks will view them as easy food, and ground-based predators will have an easier time getting to your coop if suitable hiding places surround it. Human accessibility is crucial, too. It can take anything from a weekend to roughly two weeks to build a chicken coop and more than five years to sustain a flock in one.
Think about the distance you wish to go to and from the coop carrying tools, building supplies, chicken feed, and eggs. Think twice before choosing the location the farthest from the house because you might do this each day for a couple of years.
6. Make sure there is adequate ventilation for all seasons
A DIY chicken coop needs sufficient ventilation. It’s among the best things you can do to safeguard the well-being and safety of your chickens. Lots of fresh air will enter a well-ventilated coop, which will aid in preventing the spread of potentially fatal respiratory illnesses like Newcastle and avian flu among your flock. In warmer weather, airflow will also assist in keeping your hens cool. Modern chickens are descendants of tropical junglefowl, yet they are far more sensitive to heat than cold.
However, hens can be harmed by both heat waves and cold snaps. The answer is to have numerous vents around the coop at various heights, which will blow cool drafts over your birds on hot days, yet with the ability to close those vents. Your flock will remain healthy and toasty in the winter if you close all but two vents at the top of the coop (above the roosts).
7. You must include proper lighting.
For hens to eat, drink, and even lay eggs, there must be natural or artificial light. An artificial light source enables evening chores, keeps chickens active during the winter, and aids in predator protection.
Now that you know the essential things you need to know before building a chicken coop, you can build a safe, comfortable one that will last much longer.
Check out more blogs such as “how to choose the perfect flooring material for your chicken coop” or “What is a chicken coop: Everything you should know.”