Poultry coops are important for your flock of chickens. You wouldn’t dream of raising children without a home for them and the same goes for your feathered friends out back.Keep them safe from predators, comfortable in the weather, and happy by learning how to make a chicken coop.
The Importance of Chicken Coops
Chicken coops are vital for protecting your birds from predators.You may not have mountain lions or bears in your neck of the woods, but you can bet that you have raccoons! Coyotes, foxes, dogs, chicken hawks, and cats all love a fresh chicken meal.Your chickens need someplace where they will be safe from other critters. They also need somewhere to roost for comfort, and you will want nesting boxes for collecting eggs.
How To Make A Chicken Coop: Deciding on Size
It’s true that your yard will naturally limit the size of your coop. Other considerations include how many chickens you plan on having? Will the eggs be allowed to hatch? Are you planning on buying more? For health reasons and to reduce the risk of salmonella, you don’t want your chickens too crowded.Allow at least 4 square feet per bird, and if you can make that closer to 8 square feet per bird, that would be better.
For instance, if you currently have 3 birds, your coop should be at about 6 foot by 3 foot. This would give you 18 square feet of floor space, or 6 square feet per bird.Now, expand that number again. Rather than going 6 foot by 3 foot, build it 7 feet by 5 feet. With 35 square feet, you could comfortably have seven chickens.Having chickens can be addictive, and you may decide you want a few more.
Raise the Coop!
You can build a coop directly on the ground. However, there are definite benefits to raising the coop up on legs.
- You won’t have to worry about winter snow or spring rains getting your chickens feather’s wet.
- Your flock will be safer in a raised coop! Predators, including rats and other rodents, will have a harder time getting to your birds.
- Even though they’re largely flightless, chickens still like having that bird’s eye view! Add some roosting perches to a raised coop and you have the makings for a truly happy bird family.
- Egg gathering will be a lot easier on your back.
- Retrieving chickens for care will also be easier on your back.
Choosing the Enclosure
Chicken coops don’t have to be fully enclosed, although your birds will appreciate that.
Chicken coops can be built with basic 2×4’s and plywood; or they can be constructed using the same materials that are on your own home, including glass windows and gingerbread trim.
The birds will not care. As long as they are safe and comfortable, they don’t care if they are at the Ritz or a basic wooden structure. However, they do want to be warm! Be sure that your coop will not be drafty and overly cold in the winter.Since the coop design is basically what you enjoy and want to see in the yard, get the family involved. Let the kids help you pick the coop plan, and then you can all learn how to make a chicken coop together.