Chicken Coop Plans
Chicken coop plans are widely available in your local building centers and online. Many chicken coop plans are available online for very low cost, and most contain a list of all the materials you need for completion. The best chicken coops are built by hand with your particular needs in mind.
When planning your chicken housing and runs, you should plan for your climate conditions and the number of chickens that you want to provide for. Each standard size chicken needs at least four square feet of space. This means that for every three chickens you plan to have, you will need 12 square feet of space.
Of course, the more space you provide, the happier and healthier the chickens will be. A larger space significantly cuts down on squabbling, gives your chickens more opportunity for exercise, and decreases the threats of illnesses that are prevalent in close quarters.
Chicken coop kits are readily available with all construction materials included. However, these are usually only meant for up to 3 chickens, and are cost prohibitive for larger units.
If you are only planning to keep a couple of chickens you can buy a coop and run ready made through online mail order. These units sit on the ground and are not secure against even medium sized predators. But they are easily moved from one part of your yard to another. They are a good consideration for a ‘day’ pen, as you can move to locations for fresh vegetation and bug intake.
When building your own chicken coop, be careful of building materials that can be a hazard to your birds and the eggs you plan to collect. Wood that has been pressure treated to prevent termites and rot can have traces of arsenic imbedded in it. Also be careful not to use paint that could contain lead. Remember that anything ingested by the chicken can end up in her eggs that can end up in your family.
If you are new to raising chickens, you may not know that chicken wire affords very little protection to chickens. Dogs, skunks, opossums, raccoons, fox, coyotes, and many other predators tear right through chicken wire.
When formulating your chicken coop plans, only use chicken wire for the bottom of the cage to keep predators from digging under. It is a great deterrent for that because the animal doesn’t have the leverage he needs to tear through from underneath. He will get discouraged and hunt elsewhere.
Use a heavier gauge wire mesh for the sides and top of your pen to protect your chickens. Even if your coop provides for lock down at night, predators will still try to get through to eat grain, drink from their water, and will try to get into the coop itself.
If you have raccoons in your area you may have to use a padlock to keep them out of the coop. A slide bolt or hasp is easily maneuvered by a chicken killing veteran raccoon. Your chicken coop plans should take into account the type of predators present around your location.
With some thought about your climate, the number of chickens you would like to have, and basic safety measures, your chicken coop plans can be the start of an enjoyable hobby for you and your family.