How to Build Chicken Coop - DIY Building of Chicken Houses
Whether you are new to keeping chickens or are an experienced chicken keeper, there comes a time when we need to build a chicken coop. Learning how to build a chicken coop for ourselves can save us an awful lot of money. It may seem like a slightly daunting task but if we follow a set of instructions that are laid out clearly it is surprising how simple and cost effective it can be. If you had plans that would make it as easy as assembling a piece of flat pack furniture don't you think it would be worth the time to do it yourself and save money? Well, maybe that is not the best comparison, we all have problems with that type of assembly!
Before we look at exactly how to build chicken houses cheaply let's take a look at the advantages of building our own chicken house:
* It will be much cheaper
* A great sense of satisfaction
* We can build to the exact dimensions we want
* We can modify it to meet our needs
None of these points are an option if we purchase a house for chickens .
If we are on a budget, or even if we know a bespoke house will better suit our needs there are any number of reasons why we should build our own coop for chickens.
What We Need To Build A Chicken House
There are a few things we will need if we are going to begin building cheap houses for chickens ourselves. Don't be put off, it is not as difficult as you may think. Anyone can do it as long as they have the following:
* A good set of plans
* A basic set of tools (drill, hammer, saw)
* Screws and nails
* The necessary lumber
* A weekend to build the chicken house
Obviously the most important among these will be a good set of plans. We will want plans that will suit the style and size of the house we wish to build. There are any number of good and very detailed sets of plans available and we will choose the one best suited to our needs.
The amount of tools needed is very basic indeed. If you are very unsure about your carpentry skills then you can even get the lumber yard to cut all the wood to your exact dimensions. This will save you a lot of time and it is very cheap to get the place that you purchase the wood to make the cuts for you. It really will then be as simple as assembling the pieces.
Any quality hen house that we build ourselves will have a few basic design aspects in common and whatever the source of the plans that we use we should ensure that they cover the following comprehensively. If you are designing your own house then you should ensure that you give the following considerable consideration.
What Chicken Houses We Build Will Need
Pay careful consideration to the following, it is very important that all the following points are given some thought, as once built the cheap chicken house will be a permanent structure for some considerable time to come.
* A suitable entry and exit point
* Adequate ventilation
* A source of light
* Shelter from the elements
* A warm and comfortable environment
* Perches sited correctly for roosting
* Chicken nesting boxes and a suitable position for them
* Feeders and a water supply
These are the main points that we need to consider when building chicken houses. Let's take a closer look at them so there no mistakes when we make our D.I.Y chicken house.
Suitable access to the hen house
Depending on the size of the chicken house we will either have a full sized doorway or a simple hatch for the hens to come in and out of. Whatever design is chosen you must ensure that it is always easy to clean out the house when needed.
A well ventilated coop is very important. Not only will ventilation keep the birds healthy, it will ensure that noxious fumes do not built up from the chickens droppings that will inevitably collect in the house. A window or a suitable air vent will be the ideal way to ensure that the flow of air through the house is steady and keeps the house a little bit fresher.
A Light Source
For cold winter days, or times when the birds are inside the coop they will need a good source of light. Not only will this keep them healthy, it is important if we wish to get the maximum number of eggs every day. Hens need a minimum number of hours of daylight if they are to lay regularly. By giving them a light source for maximum hours of daylight we will ensure we get eggs as soon as there are sufficient hours of daylight.
Whatever the design of the hen coop it should be well guarded against the elements. This means that although we want the house ventilated we don't want it to be draughty. This is best achieved by ensuring all vents or windows are sited out of any prevailing winds and that all doors and windows are easily closed if the weather turns bad.
A Warm And Safe Environment
Hens are not fussy birds but their comfort should be kept in mind when constructing their house. Don't leave nails sticking out where they could damage themselves. Ensure they have good bedding and that the house will stay warm once they are inside. Make sure the hen coop is animal proofed so that no animals can gain access, either to steal the chickens themselves or their feed.
Correct Roosting Perches
Hens perch to sleep. They prefer to be off the ground to sleep so we need to construct or incorporate a good perch for them. A roosting perch can either be a log or something similar placed on the ground but better if you use a wide pole or a branch that can be attached off the ground and a little away from the wall. This will be ideal for the hens and will add to their overall comfort.
Chicken Nesting Boxes
Ideally the nesting boxes will be well away from the perches. We don't want any chicken droppings landing on or in the nesting boxes. Nesting boxes with a solid and steeply sloped roof are ideal. It stops the birds perching on them and they will stay much cleaner.
You will only need one nesting box for every three birds so ensure it is placed somewhere comfortable and out of the way of the general floor space. If you wish to collect eggs without having to go in to the hen house then make sure the laying boxes are sited against a convenient wall where you can build a hatch that is easily opened form the outside. This will certainly make life easier in the future.
Feeders And Water Supplies
Feeders and water troughs are very inexpensive. If possible always purchase the type that can be hung from a hook. For the water source this is even more important. It will stop it becoming dirty very quickly and will mean that all the birds can get easy access to a fresh drink.
The same applies to the feeders. If possible get a feeder that can be hung up and topped up when needed. Of course, if you are on a tight budget then you can use any suitable container that can be found in the house. I have used simple bowls and old containers in the past as feeders and water troughs. If you have the available funds though, get something a little more professional as just described.
If we bear all the above in mind we will have constructed a great hen coop that will more than meet the standards required to keep healthy chickens. As previously stated, hens are not at all fussy birds. They are very forgiving of less than perfect environments. It is, however, in our best interests to ensure that they are as comfortable and well looked after as possible. A happy chicken will lay an egg a day for a very large percentage of the year.
Build a chicken house to suit both your budget and the number of birds you are going to keep. Bear the above important points in mind and you will be very surprised at just what you can construct with a few days work.
Ensure that you get as good a quality of materials as you possibly can and never rush the construction. It is much better to take your time with the build than to make something that will not suit your present or future needs. I would also recommend starting a compost heap. The mix of droppings and whatever material you use as bedding is a fantastic by product and will work wonders on plants and vegetables when incorporated in to the soil.
Learning how to build a chicken coop may seem daunting but if you follow the above directions and get a good set of suitable plans it will be constructed in a s surprisingly short space of time and will save a tremendous amount of money.
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