For new chicken owners, nothing can top the thrill of building a home for their beloved pets. It's an expression of love as owners to create the best coop possible. Which is why, guided by their emotions, most owners would build the most elaborate, most expensive, and most insert-all-superlatives-here coop, even if they have no clue how. So, before making any chicken coop plans for the next architectural wonder in Cooplandia, take your time to learn the basics first.
What You Need to Know
These are basic chicken coop knowledge that you need to know before starting on any chicken coop plans.
Types. Depending on your preference or available space, you can either build a (1) confined housing, where the coop and the run are built together (2) open housing, which is ideal if you like to raise your chickens free range and (3) tractor type housing, which is a mobile type of chicken coop.
Parts. A chicken coop is usually made up of four walls, a roof, and a run. Inside is the roost and the nest boxes. There's also the ventilation, doors for human access, and for mobile coops, a tractor that pulls them along.
Space Requirements. Generally, chickens need a lot of personal space. If you stack them too close to each other, they'll eventually start pecking on each other. Also, a large space will give your chickens more exercise to keep them healthy.
The rule of thumb is to have 8 to 10 square feet of space per chicken. This number is calculated to include the space of the coop plus the run. If you live in colder regions, however, add a bit more to this number, since your chickens will be staying inside longer.
For the roosts or perches, allow for a vertical distance of 1 foot or a few inches for each row and about 8 inches or more of horizontal space per bird on each row.
Materials. Typically, chicken coops are made from wood, but you can build a coop from absolutely anything. Walls can be made from solid wood, plastic, wire mesh, or concrete depending on the weather conditions in your place, the space available, and your budget. The roof can be slanted (mostly recommended for places where it snows a lot, because then the snow will just slide down), flat (most urban chicken coops are modular in design to maximize space), or double as plant box (ideal for those that also have a complementary rooftop garden). While the run can be short, long, or detachable depending on how many chickens you have and the space available.
Extras. Beddings are what you place inside the coop such as straw, wood shavings, or sand. This will help you in managing and disposing your chickens' waste. Deep bedding using straw is favored by those that also keep a garden. They use the straw beddings from the coop to use as fertilizer for their plants.
If you live in cold weather, you might want to consider insulation and heating options. There are two group of thoughts for insulation, however, so check both first and see what you prefer before adding extra insulation or heat sources.
Why You Need to Know
It will save you money. A lot of money. There are some things that sound possible in theory, but not in reality. Winging it can result in using more materials than actually necessary or overbuilding your coop. Both of which will can take a chunk off of your budget. So, if you haven't built anything in your life and the hardware store is a foreign place for you, best to make a concrete plan first. It doesn't even have to be a detailed blueprint. Measurements and a shopping list of materials can get you started.
It will be easier to make something more sophisticated later on. Once you build a coop, it will never be finished. It will grow and change with your chickens every day that they are using it. Knowing the basics of how to make chicken coop plans will make it easier for expansion later on. You can either add another chicken coop or build on your existing coop with no sweat at all. Knowing the fundamentals will allow you to make your coop as complicated, unique, or modern as you want, while still retaining the core structure. Also, aside from possible expansion, knowing the basics is also good when repairs need to be made to your coop.
Build your own chicken coop now with simple, easy-to-follow, and FREE construction instructions available in Best Chicken Coop Guide.