There are plenty of reasons to raise chickens in your backyard. Before the modern suburban age many people raised chickens at home so they could have fresh eggs on a regular basis, put that empty yard space to practical use and control weed growth. If you are interested in raising chickens, you will need to build a chicken coop to house and contain the chickens. Follow these instructions and you can build a chicken coop.
- Decide where to place the coop. You need to inspect your yard to determine where the coop will fit best then measure the area to determine the size of your chicken coop. When possible you should choose a location that is away from the front of your house and visible fence lines. Unless you live on a farm you want to keep the coop away from your neighbors who might be unhappy with a chicken coop in the area.
- Create a plan. There are several things to keep in mind when designing a chicken coop. Your coop must be well ventilated, have access to light and be easy to clean. The coop must also protect chickens from the elements, storms and predators so that the hens have a warm and secure place to lay their eggs. Try to place the doors so that they open inward to keep the chickens from escaping whenever you open the door and include windows so the birds get plenty of exposure to the nature outside.
- Build the frame and floor. Start with the building frame while keeping in mind where you will place the nest boxes. You can elect to leave the floor just dirt but be aware that when you want to hose down the area to remove debris and mess, you may get puddles and mud. You may prefer a concrete floor with straw that can be changed out and hosed down when necessary.
- Fence in the yard. Use chicken wire and posts or other secure fencing (but not barbed wire). The fencing should be strong enough to keep chickens in and predators out of the yard.
- Close in walls then add doors and windows. Remember to use building materials that are easy to hose down to clean. Chickens tend to be messy animals and leave excrement everywhere so you want to close in the building with washable materials. If you live in a warm climate you can make the frame of wood and the walls of screen material. This allows air movement and warmth.
- Install the nest boxes. The boxes should be elevated about three feet from the ground.
- Hang feeders and water containers. Make certain that the chickens can easily reach the food and water. You may want to keep the containers at least a few inches off the ground so that the birds don’t kick up dirt into the containers.
- Introduce your chickens to their new home. Try to bring the birds in early in the day on a warm day so they can acclimate to the new environment.
It should be easy to build the chicken coop you need. Follow these instructions or consider getting a chicken coop plan from one of the many online websites that offer plan designs.