Learning how to build a chicken coop doesn’t have to be difficult with these 4 easy steps. If you’ve decided to raise backyard chickens in your own DIY chicken coop, you won’t go wrong with these tips. We’ve updated this post with even more advice and step-by-step instructions on how to build your own chicken coop.
How to Build a Chicken Coop [2nd Edition]
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Step 1: Know the Number of Chickens You’ll Keep
For every chicken you have, you’re going to need an area of at least 4 sq ft to keep it from being cramped. That’s why it’s an important step to know how many chickens you are going to have. Plan this first and then make the ideal dimension for your coop. It’s also recommended to make it a little bigger than the recommended space required for each chicken.
Step 2: Plan Your Chicken Coop
Planning is a vital component of building a chicken coop. Remember, you’re building a home for your chickens and the main goal is to keep them safe and comfortable. Pay attention to different chicken coop designs and their purpose. For example, an A-frame chicken coop is faster to build and best for raising 2-3 chickens.
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7 Things to Consider When Planning Your Chicken Coop
1. Choose the Right Materials
Chicken wire mesh is the ideal material to cover the outer portion of your coop. For the locks, since you have to consider that chickens are easy prey, choose one that won’t be easily flicked open.
2. Prop Your Coop Up
Build your coop at least 2-3 feet from the ground. Doing so will ensure that their feet will stay dry during the rainy season and it will also allow them to move freely. This set-up also adds protection from predators.
3. Include a Perch Area
Have you noticed how chickens usually sleep? They’re more comfortable when they are perched. Offer enough space for this so they don’t get too cramped.
4. Nest Boxes
For your hen house, you’ll need a nesting area for the hens to safely lay their eggs. Keep your nest boxes at least 4 inches deep to keep the eggs safe. Make it large enough so they can lay as many eggs as they can since they will lay eggs every 1-2 days.
5. Proper Ventilation
Like all animals, chickens require fresh air. They can easily get sick if the air is stale inside the coop. Make sure there is sufficient airflow by adding a vent or a window.
6. Adequate Insulation
A well-insulated chicken coop will prolong the life of your chickens. Make sure you are aware of what kind of weather conditions the coop will be exposed to. Once you are, use the appropriate types of insulating material for your coop. If you use a heat lamp, make sure it is safe and won’t burn the place down.
Your chicken coop should not only be chicken-friendly but human-friendly as well. You have to remember that you’ll be cleaning and collecting eggs. Add access doors and dropping trays to make clean up easy.
Step 3: Gather Materials and Tools
After planning, start collecting all the materials and tools you’ll need to start building your coop. Be sure to take accurate measurements so you’re able to estimate how much material you’ll need to build your chickens’ home.
Step 4: Build Your Coop!
Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to start building! Follow the step-by-step procedure based on the plan you made. Measure twice, cut once. Start with the foundation first moving up. Finally, build the doors, windows, and roofing last.
The Chicken Coop Checklist: Additional Tips and Advice
1. Roosting Bars
Chicken sleep just as much as any other animal and sometimes more. They love to sleep on a perch or a roosting bar, so you should try and install a horizontal bar across the chicken house where they can crouch and fall asleep.
2. Nesting Boxes
Chickens require nesting boxes where they will be able to lay their eggs. These nests should have some warm insulation such as straw. It is suggested that you have one nesting box per three hens.
3. Food & Water
You have plenty of freedom when it comes to how you design your coop, but many people keep their feeders off the ground. This can help prevent spillages and accidents.
4. Insulation & Bedding
The most common bedding material is straw because it’s absorbent, affordable, and soft for the birds. You can also use wood shavings or chips. Remember to reduce the insulation of the wall of your coop in summer.
Have you ever smelled a chicken coop which hasn’t been cleaned out and ventilated properly? It’s not pretty! Install a simple window at least, but remember to also protect it with chicken wire or mesh.
Chickens have quite a lot of predators such as foxes, birds of prey, and raccoons. Make sure you protect your chickens by using a wire mesh around the outside, building with sturdy materials and remembering to padlock the door (if you have one!)
7. Watertight & Shade
Chickens also hate being too hot or too cold. Make sure the coop is waterproof to prevent them from getting cold during the wet season. Also, ensure that your run has a shaded area where your birds can get out of the sun and cool off!
8. Egg Access & Decoration
Make sure to build a hatch or door near the nesting boxes so you have access to the eggs without climbing into a small chicken coop. You can also decorate the coop and add a chalkboard to keep track of the eggs you’ve harvested.
Watch this video from Living The Dream to find out how to build a DIY chicken coop out of pallets!
There is a lot to consider when planning chicken coops, but once you’re done planning, building chicken coops become a lot simpler. Add a chicken coop to your list of DIY projects and start keeping chickens in your backyard!
Do you now know how to build a chicken coop? Let us know below in the comments!
Interested in Raising Backyard Chickens? Check out our Homesteading Handbook!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.