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    Build A Chicken Coop

    You have decided on the types of chickens you want to raise and have a brooder ready and waiting… so now what? Keeping chickens in your house is fine until they have gotten a little bigger, but you are going to need a place to put them once they are ready for the outdoors. You have a few different options when it comes to housing your flock. There are hen houses, chicken coops, and chicken tractors, but which one works the best for your flock? How many square feet should you plan for?

    Decide on a Management Technique

    The style and size of your coop depends on a couple of different factors.

    • Will you need to move your coop frequently towards fresher ground?
    • Will you contain your flock in the coop full-time?
    • Will your chickens need to have a large portion of land they can range on

    How Much Space Does Your Chicken Coop Require?

    Once you decide on a management method the next step is figuring out how much space you are going to need based upon the size of your flock. Think about how much land you will need for your current flock, and plan for more chickens in case you decide to expand later. If you are just getting started and are unsure of what you should expand to, then build on the large side just in case.

    Outdoor Chicken Run - You will need at least 2 to 3 square ft. per chicken on the inside of your coop, and around 4 square ft. each in the run. But of course the bigger the better in this case.

    Chicken Tractor Without a Pen Outside - If you plan to keep your chickens confined year round then you should allow 5 square ft. per chicken.

    Winter Only Coops - If you want to keep then indoors during cold weather then you should allow for 5- 10 square ft. for every chicken.

    Keep in mind that a larger chicken will need more space. So if you are raising chickens for meat then these larger birds will need more room. If you are raising hens for egg production then you will require less room as they are typically smaller than their meat producing counterparts.

    Weigh your options carefully and remember that many common behavior problems in chicked are cured with more space. If you notice your chickens acting aggressively, or notice that they are pecking each other then consider a larger living area for your flock.

    Other Coop Design Features to Consider

    The variety of chicken coop designs range from simple homemade structures that are built with simple chicken wire and a basic roof, to elaborate chicken coops that rival the size and complexities of a modern human home. Don't be overwhelmed by the many options and methods of containing your chickens. Consider what you need, look at your budget, space, flock size, and location. Once you know your requirements the size, scope and style of your coop becomes more clear.

    If you are an urban chicken farmer, then you will need to be more careful with security to keep your chickens out of the neighbors yard and also in the appearance of your coop as you don't want an eye sore in your yard where everyone can see.

    Additional Coop Needs for Egg Laying Hens

    Nesting/Roosting Space - You will need a nesting area of at least 1 square foot per 4 or 5 hens and a roosting area of 6 - 10 inches per chicken. Remember that roosts should be elevated from the ground by 2 feet at a minimum.

    Ventilation is another consideration. You do not want a build up of gas from chicken droppings or respiration.

    Chickens like shady area's so its a good feature to have for those that build a coop and run.

    Dust bathing is another nice amenity for chickens and can be built out of a simple box containing dirt or sand.

    Decide Whether to Reuse, Build or Buy

    If you have a dog kennel, garage, or shed that can be configured into a coop then these make great options if you plan to build, as a lot of coops design requirements are already met.

    Just throw on a fresh coat of paint. Make sure there is ventilation and that the vents are protected with chicken wire. Now add a few nesting areas and roosts and you are good to go if you plan to build from an existing structure.

    If no existing structure is available, and you live in an urban area, then you may want to buy a coop for the easy aethetics and security. If you are a farmer with only a couple dozen chickens to consider, then building is probably a better solution.

    Download Plans To Build Your Own Coop

    While there are many factors involved with raising and caring for chickens, one absolute necessity is providing them with a safe, clean, dry place to live. Let us show you how easy it can be to build your own attractive and affordable chicken coop with these simple step-by-step instructions, using materials you probably already have on hand. Let us show you how to level your site, frame your coop, build and attach doors, add wire for the chicken run and more.

    Chicken Coop Ideas & Plans