Chicken Coop / June 9, 2018 / Maryellen
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.
When you build a chicken coop you must consider how will you keep the floors clean in your coop. First you will need to cover them with a good material for the chickens to dig and scratch as they naturally do. Hay is unfortunately not ideal for this. Second you should build the coop with the floors slightly sloping towards the door. This way you can spray the hose in the coop and the dirt on the floor easily slides out to the ground below. You will have a clean coop and no puddles of water in the coop. Building a chicken coop is to protect your flock. The purpose of your coop is to protect your chickens from the element and outside predators but you also need to give them proper ventilation. Free movement of air inside the coop is very important but you do not want to freeze your chickens with a draft. Chickens are like humans they can only perform at their optimum levels if all of their basic needs are met first in this case protection and oxygen.
Building with used material you already have lying around or maybe a friend or neighbor has lumber they would like to give you and that would certainly cut the costs of building materials down. Also building the housing yourself from a good set of chicken coop plans could save you as much as 50% off the price of buying a coop in kit form or already built. Planning and building your chicken coop should not be difficult or even take a lot of time. Just a few hours of planning will go a long way in keeping the process smooth. Provide shelter from the environment and predators build according to your projected flock size and how much property you have to work with give your chickens enough room to exercise place your chicken coop so they get plenty of sunshine and fresh air and finally size according to your projected budget.