Owning chickens is an excellent way to liven up your backyard and get fresh, delicious and most importantly, free, eggs. After six weeks, baby chicks will have grown to a point where they require a coop. Your option is to hire a professional to build the coops, buy pre-made coops on Amazon and install them in your backyard or make the chicken coops yourself. The last option will save you money, time and hassle as well as being a fun, educating experience. The main features of a chicken coop are the sleeping area where chickens can shelter themselves and sleep along with the ‘run’ which gives the chickens space to roam and feed.
Think About the Dimensions and Position of Your Backyard
Before you start fiddling with wire or digging holes in the ground, it’s important that you do some preparation and planning. You should have a good idea of where the chicken coop will best fit in your backyard and if you have adequate space for the intended number of chickens. Moreover, don’t start building your chicken coop without determining any hazards. For instance, proximity to falling tree limbs, storm exposure or other dangers should be identified and incorporated into your plan. Each chicken will require at least 3 square feet of space in the coop and 5 square feet in the coop’s run.
Build the Frame in Sections
For the coop sleeping area, construct a basic, well ventilated rectangular frame from rot resistant wood (like cedar). It is important that you use concrete when set in the corner posts to avoid the collapse of your chicken coop during rough wind or rain. A gently inclined board can be used to connect the sleeping area with the rest of the coop. If you are intending to collect chicken eggs, it might be a good idea to make a sliding tin roof for easy collection and cleaning. The run area is easier to construct as it is mainly formed using prefabricated rolls of welded wire mesh. The mesh should surround the entirety of the run to safeguard your chickens from predators like foxes and snakes.
Incorporate Other Essentials
To make things easier for yourself and your chickens, you can incorporate a water device and feeding trough in your chicken coop. Laying the ground with straw will help absorb moisture and chicken droppings. The interior of the sleeping area should have ample space for roosting bar and nest boxes. If you build you chicken coop in an area that is constantly exposed to sunlight, it might be a good idea to hand a shade cloth over half the coop area.
Have Some Fun With The Exterior
After treating the sleeping area structure with waterproofing and rot protecting agents, feel free to decorate and even paint your chicken coop. Using non-toxic paints can add a splash of colour to your backyard and keep the chickens entertained. Make sure you have fun building your chicken coop and don’t hesitate to ask a professional builder or animal expert if you need advice.