So you’re thinking about building a chicken coop? You have made up your mind to be a chicken farmer and do this coop thing yourself. Congratulations! Hey wait, hold your feathers there a minute. There is much more needed than an image in your mind, wood and nails. .
How Much Space do you Need in Your Coop?
One of the first and most important things to consider when building your chicken coop is the space you are going to need. Space will be based on the amount of chickens you have or plan to have. Do not do what we did and build a coop then decide you want more chickens! You have to build another coop or simply build a bigger one! Know your number in the beginning so you can save time and money.
How do you know how much space you will need? As a rule of thumb each chicken needs from 2-3 square feet of space inside the chicken coop. If you are uncertain when building build larger as opposed to smaller. Chickens can live peacefully in a coop considered too large but if you crowd them into tight spaces you will encounter problems. A space that is too small leads to pecking, cannibalism, stress and many times often death. You don’t want that now do you? If you build a run to your coop you will need 3-8 square feet per chicken in your outside run.
Ventilation is Important When Building a Chicken Coop
Chickens need lots of ventilation for odors and their own health. Chickens have temperamental respiratory tracts. It is unhealthy to house them with little or no ventilation and can potentially be a deadly decision. When building a chicken coop consider what you are going to need in order to ventilate. You have different options such as windows, vents in the roof or up high in your coop, or exhaust fans. You can also use wire to build front and back entrances to your coop. I do not recommend this being the only thing you do unless you are able to leave your coop open. Wire will need to be covered in the winter to keep the birds warm and if this is the only option you used then you may have ventilation problems arise.
When Building a Chicken Coop Consider Roost Options
Chickens roost at night so they are going to need some type of area where they can do this. You can use roost bars or use a ladder structure. I personally use roost bars in a ladder format in my coop. Either way you need space for all chickens to roost.
Each chicken will need around 8 inches of perch space unless they are a larger breed in which case they will need around 10 inches. Roosts need to be off the ground. Heavier birds will need lower bars since they do not fly as well. As long as a perch can fit all your birds you can use just one but I like having multiples so they have a choice if they want to roost elsewhere. It is recommended to space roost bars around 18 inches apart. I try to keep enough space that each bar can easily have no crowding from bars above, below or beside.
Don’t Forget About Predators
Predators can be a large problem when it comes to raising chickens. In my experience I have learned that everything likes eating chicken including chickens! The struggle is real and something you have to consider when building your coop.
How are you going to protect from coyotes, snakes, hawks, raccoons, dogs or other animals that might want to harm your chickens? Coops need to be able to be closed up at night so you need doors. You can build doors you close each night and open each morning, invest in automatic doors, or have a lever system to raise and lower your coop doors. If you have coons be sure to fix any latches so that the coon can not open them. A knob or wooden piece across the door might work for most predators but a coon can open those. We personally used a latch that we could secure with a carabiner. This worked very well until we had to change coops! Electric fencing and netting can help protect from predators getting close to your coop. You can install mesh netting or a fence with very small holes underneath and along the sides of your coop to prevent even snakes from getting inside.
Have a Plan, a Budget and Skills
You want your coop to be a success so before you start building have a realistic plan, a budget, and either the needed skills under your belt or someone with the skills lined up to help. This is important to save you time and money. It ensures you don’t end up with materials you can’t use or don’t really even need. I am sure you want your coop built as soon as possible and a plan with a budget can help you set a realistic and working time frame to have it completed. You can purchase the materials you are going to need in one trip saving time on having to run for an item here and there. Having someone with good carpentry skills can save you from needing extra materials because you messed something up. A good carpenter can also help with your plan. They are usually on their game with math needed for figuring space and measuring.
There You Have it, 5 Things to Consider When Building a Chicken Coop
These are only 5 things you will need to consider when building a chicken coop. These tips can get anyone wanting to build a chicken coop well on their way. You may need to alter and tweak them to your specific area and needs but you are going to need these basics covered. Good luck with building your coop!
Did you build your own chicken coop or did you buy one? Do you have any tips that could help others make a decision when at a buying or building crossroads? If so please share your tips and advice in the comments below.
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If you enjoy building your own things also read Simple & Easy Nesting Boxes.
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