Building a Chicken Coop
At Building a Chicken Coop our aim is to help you get the best house for your chickens. We will guide you through the different types of coops, downloadable plans, complete kits and the ranges of ready-made hen houses, both simple and elaborate.
Building a chicken coop yourself could be a sensible option as it’s likely to save more than half the cost of buying ready-made. Ready-made coops are normally supplied in panels, so there is still some assembly too.
We found a good set of chicken coop plans so you can build a coop easily and quickly. You only need basic tools and the chicken ark takes less than a day. The plans come with complete instructions, materials and measurements for three different designs:
1 A portable chicken ark suitable for around three hens – great if you’re just starting to keep chickens, and quick to build.
2 An upright hen house with a run - this is good if you want a static house that will take up to five to six chickens, and it is still easy to build.
3 A large pitched roof chicken coop with external nest boxes, which sits inside a large run for a larger flock. Chickens need good protection from the rain and cold, adequate ventilation and light, perches for roosting and nesting boxes to encourage egg laying. Your chicken coop needs to keep your hens safe from predators too - particularly foxes which can burrow underneath runs and will chew through basic chicken-wire. Building your own chicken coop is not as easy as just hammering wood and wire mesh together. If the chickens are safely enclosed in a covered roosting area, they will be protected at night.
In the day-time, your chickens will be safe if you use strong steel mesh for the run. If you do want them to free range, let them out when you are around. Even in suburban areas, foxes are active during the day (we’ve lost two pet rabbits to foxes during the daytime).
It makes sense to build your Chicken Coop from plans that come with materials lists, so the design works and you have clear instructions. Not only will you get the job done much more quickly, you’ll have built an attractive chicken coop for a fraction of the cost of buying ready-made. It’s worth remembering too, that ready-made coops still need to be assembled. You can download building a chicken coop here. It’ll be a great investment that will last you for years.
When you build your own chicken coop, this will provide you with fresh organic eggs daily, and the chickens will recycle food scraps and supply high quality fertilizer. You’ll also have the sense of achievement associated with constructing a chicken coop on your own.
For a long time many people kept chickens for food reasons, but as egg and chicken production moved to being carried out on a factory basis, the backyard flock became rare. Now we have become much more concerned about where our food comes from, the conditions that animals are raised in and what they are fed on.
In chicken keeping, celebrity chefs have highlighted conditions that battery hens are reared in, and the ‘chicken out’ campaign has raised awareness of how much more healthy chickens’ lives are if they have access to outdoor grazing.
Raising chickens is an economically smart hobby. If money is not a problem, then there are lots of ready made Chicken Coops which you can buy. If funds are tight, you may opt build your own chicken coop with just scraps of wood - you’ll be surprised what you can scrounge from friends and neighbours!
Chicken coops simply need to be large and comfortable enough for your chickens to stay during the night, and big enough to extend their wings during the day. The coop should also have a place with protection and privacy where the chickens can comfortably lay their eggs.
When you are searching for ways to construct your own coop for raising chickens a good shortcut is to use easy-to-follow well designed plans.
You only need simple tools and equipment to build your own chicken coop, such as handsaw, drill, hammer and basic fittings that are readily available in hardware shops.
So what do you get if you build your own chicken coop?
• You save money over buying the premade kits
• You create a warm and soothing environment for your chicken to lay more eggs
• You’ll get fresh organic eggs daily
• You can put up your own security measures against predators like cats and foxes
• You protect your chickens from the bad weather and sustain their health
• You can maximise the productive lifespan of your flock since you are able to give them a healthy environment
Before you start to raise chickens, make sure that you begin with a small flock say three or four. If you then want more you will have to build a bigger chicken coop so they will have more room. Select a location so they will have enough sunlight to help them lay more eggs.
Being able to choose the right materials and the correct Chicken Coop design can save you hours of work and a lot of money. If you’re looking to save time and money when building your own Chicken Coop then Building a Chicken Coop may be the perfect solution.
If you’re just starting to keep chickens, a great way to save money is to build a simple chicken coop yourself. Although there are some good ready-made Chicken Coops they can be expensive, and normally you still need to assemble the panels yourself. For a first flock – say three chickens a chicken ark could be a good solution. Chicken arks are the simple triangular shaped chicken coops that have an integral run.
The easiest to type to build has a nest box and roosting space at one end and a run at the other. Building a chicken ark is a simple project that only takes a day, so you could get your chicken ark built and chickens installed over a weekend. It’s is a great family project too and will get your children interested in the whole process of caring for your chickens if they help with the building.
Children do like chickens - chickens are light and their feathers are quite soft. They have different personalities too, so children enjoy observing their behaviour and daily habits. Depending on the ages of your children, they will be able to help building the chicken ark by doing something: fetching and organising the materials, telling you what to do next, assembling some of the pieces or even building the entire chicken ark by themselves.
The principle behind the chicken ark is that you move it each day so the chickens get fresh ground to graze. But you could leave it in one place if you let the chickens out. They will clear rough ground for you; scratch up bugs and insects, and clear beds in the autumn.
If you do move the ark every day, you will get fertilised ground, but they won’t clear it completely. This can be a good plan if you want to keep your chicken ark on your lawn and still want some grass left. Although arks are simple, some good plans will save you time and trouble and you’ll know all the requirements have been designed in:
• Covered roosting space that can be secured
• A predator proof run
• Nesting space
• Easy access for cleaning
• A way of letting the chickens out (and in) easily
• Simple constructions that only needs basic tools
Finally check the plans are easy to follow, tell you what materials to use and have clear diagrams. We’ve found loads on the Internet, but most are either rather strange designs or the instructions are very sketchy. We like these chicken ark plans that also include plans for two other designs: a simple rectangular hen house (which could be your next chicken coop – or an alternative if you want a fixed chicken coop) and a large chicken coop for a bigger flock. If you’re just starting out, these instructions and plans for building a chicken coop are all you need, as there’s also a comprehensive guide to keeping chickens. Just add the hens – three brooders (hens that are about to start laying) and you’re done. In less than a weekend you’ll be all set to enjoy keeping chickens and collecting beautiful ‘home grown’ eggs.
Well…the time it takes to build a chicken coop does depend on a range of factors:
• How complex a design it is
• How good you are at woodworking
• How good your plans are
A simple chicken ark should take you less than a day, a rectangular hen house with a run would be a weekend project, a more complex design with a pitched roof is likely to be a three day project – but very rewarding and a long-term home for your flock.
This robust hen house and run could be a good wekend project.
Your Woodworking Skills
You will need to be able to cut timber accurately and to make simple joints, but if you use good plans, they will not require complex techniques, should only use simple tools – and you should be able to build your chicken coop without a high level of woodworking skills.
With good plans, Building a Chicken Coop would be a very good project to undertake with your pre or early teen children and will get them involved in planning for a flock of chickens – so they should get more involved in the chickens care later.
Chicken Coop Plans
There are a number of free plans available on the Internet – but they do tend to be rather basic, often very sketchy in terms of instructions and the designs are not always very practical, as they may not have been drawn up by a professional.
We like Chicken Coop Plans that are well researched and thought through, and come with materials lists and clear instructions and illustrations.
The plans we are featuring at the moment have very good illustrations and it’s easy to see what you should be doing next.
This makes the plans a good bet for a keen teenager – they should get a good result they are proud of.
The designs for all three Chicken Coops are attractive and practical too. The designer has thought about cleaning and care; roosting and nesting spaces work well, with good access for egg collection and cleaning.
If you’re just getting started, and want a small flock of about three hens, a chicken ark is a good choice. They are simple to build from a good set of chicken coop plans as you don’t need high-level woodworking or carpentry skills or a large number of tools, and the materials won’t cost you much either. So this is a great way to keep your initial start up costs down.
It is worth buying laying hens (ones that are almost ready to lay) the first time round. You can move on to raising your hens from chicks later.
A chicken ark will keep a small flock of chickens protected from predators and harsh conditions and because you move chicken arks around, your chickens get new areas of ground to peck and scratch. You get free-range chickens without having to catch them, or worry about predators such as stray foxes.
Some good chicken ark plans will ensure you get a design that works, and save you time, effort and frustration. You should be able to make one in less than a day, and may even find you’ve already got at least some of the materials you’ll need.
A simple chicken ark will house about three chickens, so you have enough space to keep a flock big enough to lay two to three eggs a day.