Chicken Coop / June 8, 2018 / Maryellen
It is a big mistake to simply go with a vision you have in mind. Very closely related to the planning aspect is making sure you have a clear design for your coop. Draw plans for both the inside and the outside. It doesnt matter if you are not a professional it is just important to have direction when you are building. Be sure to also sketch and plan the various angles of your coop. The sides bottom and top. If you are a novice carpenter and it is your first time building a backyard chicken coop keep it simple. As your flock of chickens grows and you learn more about how chicken behave and what works for your space you can always go back and redesign and improve your coop. Stay organized. Before you begin construction on your chicken coop gather all of the materials you will need. this will save you time energy and the frustration. Of course the amount of materials you will need will vary with your design. However most coops will require: wood chicken wire or fence wire insulation nails screws saws various tools and a hammer.
Speaking of walls the chicken coop walls should have proper insulation installed which will help keep the chickens dry. As long as chickens are dry they can handle cold climates very well but humidity plus cold weather will cause health issues for your poultry. Therefore insulated walls are a must! If you want a good source of light and warmth for your chickens during the cold months of the year and a solid source of ventilation during the hot months then be sure to install the chicken coop windows facing the southside where they will receive direct sunlight throughout the day. On another note if your goal is to raise chickens that will produce great eggs all year round then you should look into an electrical source of light. You should be able to easily install an electrical light at the height of the chicken coops ceiling which will help keep your chickens warm and help them lay better chicken eggs throughout the year. One ceiling light should be enough for a small scale chicken coop for larger chicken coops though try to install one electrical ceiling light per every 30 - 40 feet.
Use appropriate building materials. Wood on the bottom of the coop that is in contact with the soil will eventually rot. Redwood and cedar are rot-resistant and excellent choices. Pine is cheaper and may need replacing in the future or require treatment. Be aware that preservatives put on wood might be poisonous to chickens. Use metal fiberglass or wood shingles for the roof. Perches. Chickens need to perch off the ground at night. You can be creative making perches from broom handles natural branches or 2x2s rounded and sanded (1x2 for bantams). Figure 6-10 inches of perching space per hen or 6-8 inches for bantams. Nesting boxes. Provide 1 nesting box for every 4-5 hens. They will often share a nest. Build the boxes where you can reach in through a hinged door for easy access to collect the eggs.