How to Make a Chicken Coop

Learning how to make a chicken coop will help you improve your carpentry skills and understand the needs of your chickens. A chicken coop is straightforward to build, but allows for almost infinite customization. Your chicken coop can be a simple, functional structure or an elaborate work of art.

How To Make A Chicken Coop: The Basics

Chickens have needs. While that statement shouldn't surprise you, it should get you thinking. Although there are many ways to layout a chicken coop, every design should provide a few basic features, including:

  • A coop (duh!) - The coop is the indoor space for your chickens. It should provide adequate shelter and ventilation, such that your chickens are comfortable and protected from the elements. Your coop should provide 3 to 4 square feet of floor space per chicken.
  • A run - The run is the outdoor area for your chickens. The run should be well protected from predators and provide some shelter from wind and sun. Each chicken should have 6 to 8 square feet of run space.
  • Perches - In the coop, your chickens will need perches so that they can roost. 2x4 lumber makes a perfect perch and should set 18 to 24 inches above the floor of the coop. You should provide about 1 foot of perch space per bird.
  • Nests - Nesting boxes give your chickens a place to lay and hatch eggs. You should have a nesting box for every two to four hens in your flock. Two nesting boxes should be considered a minimum.
  • Access - Your chickens will be healthier and you'll be happier if you provide yourself with good access to the inside of the coop. A standard sized door is ideal, but make sure you can secure it so predators don't have the same easy access. The chickens can get by with less, of course: a 1 by 1 foot opening is plenty for most breeds of chicken.
  • Litter - A thick (3 to 5 inch) layer of wood shaving litter in the coop will help keep things clean and comfortable. Providing a wooden lip around the edge of the floor will help keep the litter in its place.

Chicken Coop Materials

Like other backyard structures, chicken coops can be made from a wide range of materials, but wood is the most common. Chickens will peck at anything, so avoid painted wood on the interior and pressure treated wood on any surface your chickens might have access to.

Flooring can be of any material. A dirt floor can become muddy and wooden floors are subject to rot. A concrete floor is long lasting and easy to clean, but can be expensive.

Any ventilation openings should be covered with poultry wire to limit predator access.

Roofing should be sloped and water tight. Standard asphalt shingles are easy to install and an economical choice.

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