Chicken House / June 8, 2018 / Maryellen
Once you have settled on coop size you want to make sure your chicken coop designs meet your other needs. Unless you plan to purchase these separately you will want to make sure the plans also include sections on building your own feeders and nesting boxes. This simple detail is often left out of most plans. Most people do not know this but its important to position the coop strategically. In choosing the right position for a semi-permanent or fixed option make sure the area will have the right amount of sunlight and is not directly in the direction of the wind. You will also want to make sure that your placement keeps predator threats to a minimum. Most people neglect this fact when choosing chicken coop designs but lumber costs will make up about 90% of your building expenses.
Light. You need light in your chicken coop to stimulate egg laying. Particularly if you want your hens to lay eggs all year round. As a rule of thumb you should have 1 light every 40 feet inside you chicken building. If you are just building a small chicken coop it will be sufficient to have a single light above the watering/feeding section. As a bonus the light(s) will also be a source of heat for your chickens in the colder months. Perches. Your chickens have a natural instinct to perch so you must provide them with appropriate perches otherwise they will perch on nesting boxes feeders and anything else around the coop. This would then lead to these important areas getting covered in droppings which is certainly undesirable. It is as simple as using broom handles for your perches. Again it is important that your chickens have adequate space on the perches so as a rule of thumb allow 8 inches of perch space per chicken. To make it easy to keep the chicken coop clean slip some trays under the perches so the droppings land directly in them you can then pull the trays out to clean them.
A smaller coop is easily constructed as it does not contain a large number of unnecessary amenities. It can sit directly on the ground but more often is mounted slightly raised on cinder blocks keeping it safe from flooding and other moisture that can cause the wood and other materials to rot as well as providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The coop usually has a regular size door for access to clean the coop and let the chickens out. Also a smaller coop will consist of no more than one or two windows with an additional ventilation hole on the roof closed with chicken wire. The roof itself is usually slanted to allow water to run off and away from the coop. A small chicken house will usually have roosts on one side with nesting boxes on the other. The roosts are often elevated and closed by a small door in order to ensure that the chickens are safe during the night. A small coop may or may not include an exercise area however breeders often fence off an area outside the door of the building to allow the chickens to roam freely during the day.