How to Build Chicken Coop for your backyard chickens
Learn how to build chicken coop for your backyard cheaply, and how to keep healthy, happy chickens for eggs. Follow our video guides on raising chickens and read the many articles, advice and tips on backyard chickens.
There are several types of chicken coop to build, you first need to know how many chickens you are planning to keep and then filter from there. Below are some questions and things to think about when building a chicken hutch.
How many chickens do you want?
If you have not kept chickens before you need to know this before you build. Three chickens is a good number – if not three then two. Never only have one as they are social creatures and need to socialise with other chickens. Anymore than three and the mess they create in terms of chicken poo and also the amount of scratching about they do (if you let them into your garden that is) goes up exponentially!
Six chickens will give the impression you have a flock of birds in every sense! Not only does the noise levels go up (more chickens means more birds competing to be top hen) but the amount of space they need round them changes dramatically.
Many makers of chicken coops and hutches will tell you that their hutch is fine for 6 birds (this is what a lot of coops are built for in size) but what they do not tell you is that you cannot simply multiply the ground space in line with the number of chickens, you need to at least double it for every chicken over two.
Personally I let mine range freely in my garden (which is 1/3rd of an acre) and then when they are penned in, the pen size is approx 15 feet by 15 feet. The more room you can give them, the happier the birds will be, and happy, healthy chickens mean more eggs.
How many eggs do you want a day?
One chicken on average will produce one egg per day during the summer, during winter egg laying slows down, but if you keep your chicken coop warm and your hens healthy they will lay consistently year round. Below is a list of my experience in egg to chicken rations.
Number of chickens: 3
Summer: 1 per day each
Winter: 1 every 2 days
Number of eggs: 600 per year
What type of chicken coop do you want to build?
The choices are much greater since the explosion of “Backyard chicken keepers” and fans of the River Cottage lifestyle. All good news as far as I am concerned as I think more and more people should “grow their own” The broad types of how to build chicken coops are as follows:
Rustic, foghorn-leghorn style these are generally wooden chicken coops with lap fencing, Very dry, chickens love them as they are well ventilated as they have a pitched roof and are generally very nicely designed with an external egg box for easy collecting. The only downside is they are the most expensive versions, heavy but they are the Ferrari of chicken hutches in my view. If you want to learn how to build chicken coop in this style instead of buying one you will save hundreds of dollars.
Economy- these are more the box shaped versions, usually made from wood panels or rain proofed chip board style material with a large outer wire mesh. The egg boxes are usually integral but easy to get to. Cleaning these is usually easier than the rustic style unless your rustic style chicken coop version has the ability to take the sides of the hutch off for easy access, as mine does. (Recommendation of chicken coop plans to build chicken coop below).
How To Build Chicken Coop
Very often, the box like versions can come with an integrated outer cage to act as the chicken run. I do not think these are sufficient for chickens and unless you are keeping small bantams or only two small birds of another variety, I do not think these give the required space for the happiest chicken. Personal opinion but once you have had chickens, you realise how much they like to roam and scratch about. When you build chicken coop keep this in consideration.
One bird will have scratched every bit of interesting earth from a space 10 feet by 10 feet within a couple of days, so imagine what it will be like if you have 6 chickens in a space like that as many suppliers tell you that you can?. On a quick note about that, my garden has not been ravaged by my birds, they tend to keep to the areas of most food, such as the boarders and the compost heaps – the damage is limited but they do like to turn over soil so keep that in mind if you let them out where there are valuable plants.
However, they make excellent chicken coops and are economical when you learn how to build chicken coop for your backyard chickens, which is a great diy coop project for the family and kids love helping dad with the job.