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Build a chicken coop for the flock you now have; you can always expand.
Story by Chris Lesley.
WHEN YOU’RE CONSIDERING building a chicken coop (and running) for your flock, whether as a beginner or an experienced keeper, there are a few questions to ask yourself. How many chickens do you want to keep? What are their races and genders? Why do you want to raise chickens? Eggs? Meat? Pets? You’ll also need to know what the climate is in your area, what kind of weather your coop will need to withstand, and what your options are in terms of placement for a coop in your yard.
Plan the co-op
Planning your chicken coop is probably the most important step in the process, as any builder will tell you. This means first choosing a co-op plan, which fortunately is readily available for free online. Make sure your co-op plan not only matches your herd, but also the materials you have. Many people like to build their chicken coops from second-hand or salvaged materials, which cuts the cost down considerably. If you are using second-hand materials, make sure they will work with your intended co-op plan or that the plan can be adapted to fit what you have available.
The size of your coop will, of course, depend on the size of your chickens. For standard hens, allow four square feet per hen. Bantam breeds will only need two square feet each, but they will appreciate the extra vertical space. Giant breeds may require up to eight square feet each. However, these figures are only valid for hens and if they have the opportunity to exercise outside. Roosters will need extra space, and birds without enclosures will need at least 10 square feet of floor space each. For your pen, allow 10 square feet per chicken. Be sure to check for your specific breed, however, as some may need more space than others.
The importance of ventilation
Having good ventilation is probably the most important thing to do if you want to keep your chickens healthy. Ample, consistent airflow is crucial to the health of your flock, as chickens are susceptible to a wide variety of respiratory infections, including common cold and bird flu. Good ventilation will also help keep your hens cool during the hot months, which will help prevent heatstroke and other complications. The easiest way to add ventilation to your chicken coop is to add two vents near the ceiling above your perches. These can be left open all year round, as they won’t create a draft for your sleeping hens. Additional vents throughout the coop will be needed in hot weather to keep your hens comfortable. Fans and air exchangers can also be used to increase airflow if needed.
The cost of a chicken coop largely depends on the materials you use and the tools and building materials (screws, spacers, hinges, etc.) you already have on hand. If you for chicken coops. The pressure treatment process fills the wood with arsenic, copper and other toxic compounds that will leach into the ground and harm your hens. If you live in an extremely humid area or termites are a major concern for you, it may be worth weighing the risks, but a tropical hardwood or treated softwood is almost always a better option.
Your carpentry skills and the number of helpers are the main variables in terms of how long it will take you to build a chicken coop. The quickest option would obviously be to hire a professional carpenter, which will likely cost you around $300-400, although labor costs will vary depending on where you live. If you’re building it yourself, dedicating a weekend to the project should be enough to complete it for even the most amateur of builders.
A fragile or poorly assembled chicken coop can pose a serious danger to your hens and their health. Careful construction and thoughtful planning are therefore essential to get it right. The more you know before you start the project, both about chickens in general and your specific plans for your coop and flock, the better your chances of getting the right coop the first time and having a happy flock. and in good health. for the coming years.
If you want to learn more and see examples of co-op ideas, here are some helpful resources:
Chicken coops with shade: https://backyardpoultry.iamcountryside.com/coops/diy-chicken-coop-plans-that-add-shade/
Choosing the right size: https://backyardpoultry.iamcountryside.com/coops/best-chicken-coop-size/
How poultry house design can mitigate disease: https://backyardpoultry. iamcountryside.com/feed-health/top-5-chicken-diseases/
Find inexpensive materials: https://backyardpoultry.iamcountryside. com/coops/building-a-chicken-coop-11-cheap-idees/
Chris Lesley has been raising backyard chickens for over 20 years and is the Chickens and More poultry expert. She has a flock of 11 chickens (including three Silkies) and teaches people around the world how to take care of healthy chickens. His book, Raising Chickens: The Common Sense Guide to Backyard Chickensis available as a paperback and e-book.