Chicken House / March 21, 2018 / Maryellen.
Before you can start on construction you will need to clear any obstacles which may hinder or complicate matters later one. Since your chickens require plenty of light you will need to cut any trees which may block sunlight to the chicken house. Not only that it will actually keep your chicken warms during those extreme winter conditions. Next you will need to decide what type of chicken coop you are looking for. Are you looking for an extravagant double floored mansion with a ramp that connects both floors? Or do you prefer a plain and basic one just to fulfill the shelter needs of your chickens? Keep in mind however that chicken coops can get dirty very easily so you may want to consider building a chicken coop that is easy to clean.
To protect your little egg producing friends safe from predators you will want to bury the run wall supports and chicken wire as deep as you are able over a foot where possible this should be deep enough to stop most predators digging under. It is paramount to make sure that your chickens remain happy and more-so healthy. There are many enhancements that you can add or make to their living quarters in order to achieve this. Chickens are susceptible to the elements much the same as humans and it is important to think of them in this way. You can help by adding things like insulation to the walls of the coop to stop cold drafts and damp winds blowing through. They will want and need ventilation but not so it disrupts their environment too much. It should be stated here that a damp chicken environment can and will cause your chickens ill health. Cold they can handle as long as they do not get damp.
When you are building your chickens coop you will want to use only high quality timbers and materials as this will pay dividends further down the road and save you even more money by reducing running repairs and coop maintenance. Try and think of the cleaning aspects and how best to make it easily cleanable either by holes for water to run through or sloping floors etc with water escapes for when you are hosing out. Always try and build your coop on a raised level and not sitting on dirt or grass as this will only add to rotting problems. Also try and get a good amount of sunlight on it as this will keep it nice and dry even after a rain shower so place where it will get plenty of sun. This keeps a certain amount of heat in the coop and helps chickens stay warm throughout the night.
Ventilation. Chickens sweat. Sounds strange but it is true. Your chicken coop needs ventilation to keep your chickens cool in the warmer months and to allow the chickens perspiration to evaporate and escape the chicken coop. You should make sure your chicken coop plans include ventilation in the form of vents in walls or small windows but you also dont want it to be too drafty. You need a nice balance. One way to achieve this is to have the vents on the side of the chicken building that DOES NOT face the wind. This is typically the east or the south. This will also allow fresh oxygen rich air to flow into the hen house and the stale air and moisture to escape. Chickens can handle the cold but not the wet so it is vital to the health of your chickens that the moisture can escape.
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.