How To Build A Chicken Coop
Learning how to build a chicken coop is not difficult and there is no need to spend over a thousand dollars on one if you take some time and build your own.
The best part of it all is that you don't have to be an expert and you don't even need to be handy with tools thanks to some new guides that have become very popular in recent months.
In fact we found over a dozen such guides and tested them all. Below we picked two that we thought where detailed, offered the most value and where the easiest to use.
If you want to discover how to build a chicken coop without spending a fortune then these chicken coop plans are essential. You will get material lists, step-by-step simple instructions and most importantly this guide will show you how to do it all for a tiny fraction of the cost that retail stores would charge you. If you really want to build the perfect chicken coop then get this guide now!
This is another fantastic and easy to use DIY chicken coop guide. This guide covers chicken coops of all sizes including plans for portable chicken coops. It is very detailed and comes with many useful bonuses that will help you raise your chickens better, furthermore, we found that the support responded quickly and was helpful in answering any questions we had.
The above chicken coop guides will save you money and will show you how to build the perfect chicken coop. Do not get ripped off by stores selling overpriced coops and discover the simple secret to building your own chicken coop in just one weekend. Click on the guides above to get started!
What size should your chicken coop be?
Raising chickens has recently seen an increase in popularity in the United States. Many people who have the space and time are beginning to see the advantages of having chickens in the backyard. Chickens cannot defend themselves, so they will need to have shelter in a secure area where they are safe from predators. A pen for chickens is called a coop, and there are many different types of chicken coops, from small and plain to large and elaborate.
Anyone who wants to begin raising chickens should first do a bit of research for any local ordinances that apply. If no laws prohibit keeping chickens in your back yard, then the next step is to decide what kind of chickens to raise. Determine if enough space is available in the area in which they will be kept.
First decide on the number of chickens you want to raise and the purpose. Raising chickens makes an enjoyable hobby or it can be scaled up to a small family business. If just having fresh eggs is the object, then look for White Leghorns or other egg-laying breeds. These chickens are not particularly good for food, however, and do not do as well in cold climates. Breeds that are best for meat are White Cornish, White Rock, or a cross breed called the Cornish Rock. They are large and meaty birds and do well in colder climates.
Chicken Coop Size and Design
A chicken coop must have an enclosed room for hens to nest or chickens to roost for the night and for shelter from the weather. Coops are simple to make for anyone handy with a saw and a hammer and need only be a square, rectangular or A-frame shaped box. The ideal coop is raised a few feet off the ground. There are also plenty of ready-made coops for sale and cost a few hundred dollars each. For egg-layers, provide small partitioned boxes with a good layer of straw. For roosting chickens, shelves with straw will be fine. Also provide a fenced-in outdoor area for the birds to roam in the daytime.
A small coop will house up to three or four birds and they will need two to three square feet per bird. For housing a dozen or so chickens, a medium sized coop and the fenced yard should provide at least ten square feet for each chicken. The largest of coops is actually similar to a small house. A shed or small barn on the property can be converted very easily and additions can be built to house any number of birds. These coops are usually called hen houses and are large enough to walk into, gather eggs and clean the area. Chickens in the larger hen house will still need an outdoor fenced-in area to walk around in the sunlight. They should also be fed outdoors.
The basic chicken coops are all somewhat the same, in that they have an enclosed area for protection at night, shelter from inclement weather and a large fenced-in yard for walking during the day. They can be painted or left plain and the style and finish is really just a matter of personal preference of the owner.
Chicken Feeding Advice
Raising chickens can be a fun and profitable hobby for small scale farmers. However, many novice chicken farmers end up losing their entire first flock due to feeding chickens the wrong foods at the wrong time. Understanding your flock's nutritional needs and development will help prevent the loss of your new flock.
During the first twenty-four hours after hatching, chicks do not need food or water. It is still a good idea to provide a small watering tray with shallow water for newly hatched chicks, however, as some of them will attempt to drink. After the first day, provide feed specifically formulated for baby chicks up to eight weeks of age. Chick feed may be found with or without coccidiostat, which is a medication used to prevent coccidiosis, a common chicken illness. If using feed without medication, check young chicks daily for signs of illness, such as pasted tails and lethargy. Isolate and treat ill chicks at once and clean all food and water trays daily to reduce the chance of illness in the rest of the flock.
From the age of six to seventeen weeks, chickens should be fed mash, or growing pellets. This type of feed helps birds gain weight without putting on a lot of fat. Switch to growing pellets gradually to avoid shocking the flock. Chickens which are being raised for meat can be kept on growing pellets indefinitely.
Once hens reach sixteen to eighteen weeks of age, they are ready to start laying eggs. Layer's mash should be introduced to egg laying hens gradually, by adding slightly more mash to their feed every day. Layer's mash contains extra calcium and nutrients to help hens lay more eggs, and should be given to pullets when they begin producing eggs. Layer's mash may be supplemented with extra calcium, but only after hens have begun laying.
After eighteen weeks of age, chicks may be given extra grains, such as corn, barley, and oats, but this should not be the only food available for them. Chickens also enjoy fresh vegetables, table scraps, and sunflower seed as a treat. In order to keep your flock healthy, avoid feeding too many treats, and be careful with table scraps. Onions, sugary foods, garlic, raw potatoes, meat, and spoiled foods should never be fed to chickens.
Chickens will naturally eat small pebbles and dirt to help them digest their food. However, owners should provide chickens with grit in addition to their regular feed. Grit may be added to chicken feed, or served in a separate feeder.
Finally, at all stages in a chicken's life, fresh, clean water must be available at all times. Gravity fed water trays work well for small flocks. In winter, a heated watering fountain will help prevent dehydration due to frozen water supplies. Chickens should be prevented from drinking water out of decorative ponds, polluted creeks, and puddles due to the risk of parasites. All water fountains and feeders should be cleaned daily to reduce the risk of illness.