Chicken House / June 9, 2018 / Maryellen.
Regardless of what type of backyard coop you decide to build you will want to make sure the designs provide adequate shelter comfort security and cleanliness for your chickens. Your chickens will spend the majority of their lives in this new home so your coop will need to keep them safe and secure from potential predators. It is possible to purchase a pre-made coop and this may be a good option for some but if you want to do-it-yourself and save money make sure the chicken coop designs you choose meet the above needs. When choosing the right plans you must first consider how many chickens you are planning to keep. Two or three chickens may only require a small portable coop while two dozen grown chickens will need a large fixed coop.
Natural light is the best answer here so be sure and have the coops window facing south where it will get most light and natural warmth especially in the winter months. There are also some chicken keepers that have installed electric lighting in the apex of the coops roof as this will keep the chickens laying eggs throughout the year there are a variation of lights that can be used depending on the size and type of coop that you are building. This is more of a tip than anything else but it can save you a lot of frustration. Chickens tend to knock everything with their feet this includes food and feeders. An ideal solution to save having a constant mess on the coop floor is to raise the feeders and waterers to the height of the chickens shoulder this way they can only get their heads in the feeders and not their feet as well.
You will need to provide insulation if you reside in an area that experience cold or rainy seasons. Also it prevents moisture from entering the coop. Different people have different ways of keeping their coop clean. Some of them prefer to keep their coops elevated by building them on stilts. This prevents predators such as snakes or dogs from invading the coop and eating your precious chickens. One effective way to keep your chicken house clean is by installing perches for the chickens poop. By doing this you can significantly save yourself lots of trouble to clean up the coop because all you have to do is clear the perches. It also prevents bacteria and contamination and most important of all creates a clean and healthy environment for your chickens.
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.