Building a Functional Chicken Coop
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You’ve got eggs in the incubator and they will soon hatch and need a home. So now what?
It’s time to build a coop and there are a few important features every chicken coop should have. So let’s dive right in!
Roosts – A perch or roost is important for your chickens to sleep on. The size of your roosts should be dictated by how many chickens you have and can be made from many different materials but a simple thicker limb alone can be used as a nice solid perch for them.
Nesting Boxes – Nesting Boxes are important for your hens to lay eggs. A layer of straw will provide them with some insulation and warmth. If you’re wondering how many nesting boxes you should have a good estimate is one box for every 3 hens.
Bedding – Bedding and Insulation are really important for the chickens. Straw is an inexpensive option and is very absorbent. However, wood shavings will also work just fine if you have them on hand. Remember the need for insulation is more important in the winter. In the summer you want to scale back in an effort to keep the chickens from overheating.
Ventilation – A enclosed chicken coop in the heat of the summer is a beast all its own. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation.
Food and Water – Food and Water is essential for your chickens and there are lots of great ideas out there for ways to place an effective food and water systems in your coop.
This PVC feeder is a great DIY idea you can build on your own.
Roof – Again, common sense right? Well, the importance of having a roof on your coop is double fold. It keeps the water out and the dry and warm but also gives them shade and helps with overheating in the summer.
Protection – Chickens fall prey to a lot of different predators. Foxes, Coyotes, Snakes, and Raccoons just to name a few. So it’s key that you have a sturdy coop and keep it secure for your chickens.
Egg Access – The easier access you have to your eggs the better both for you and the chickens. We have to walk into our coop to access the nesting boxes and frequently looking around for a way to create an outside access hatch.
With a little ingenuity, you can build your own chicken coop for little or no cost.
Coop kits are available for purchase at many hardware stores as well as places like Tractor Supply. I’ve even seen multiple options available to order from online.
But if DIY is your thing and you’re looking for a little more guidance I’ve put together a few links to my favorite Chicken Coop Hacks.
Inexpensive Nesting Boxes – Literally next to nothing to make these.
China Cabinet Nesting Boxes – This is hands down my favorite. I love the look and the function. Just genius!
Bucket Nesting Boxes – This idea to use 5 Gallon buckets is pretty genius in my book. This makes for super easy cleanup. You dump it out on occasion and put in a fresh layer of straw from time to time. It doesn’t get much easier.
$50 Scratch Coop – Between items, you have laying around your homestead and a few supplies from the store you can building this coop for $50 or less
HGTV Downloadable Coop Plans – HGTV has put together a great set of plans that you can print out to follow along while you build.
And if you’re like me and more of a visual learner and YouTube is a better option for you I found this great tutorial.
You’re well on your way to building a safe and happy home for your chickens and now it’s time to enjoy some fresh eggs. Enjoy!
Do you already have a chicken coop you built? We’d love to hear all about it and the ways you keep your chickens happy and producing so leave us a comment below.