Backyard Farming 101: How to Build a Chicken Coop

If going out and purchasing a manufactured chicken coop just isn’t making sense to you (The expense alone may get your head spinning), you may be wondering how to build a chicken coop yourself. Although most people these days will buy their coop, many others still prefer the freedom of designing and building their own coop so it has all the features they want, while saving money in the process.

But building a chicken coop yourself offers more than that. It really has a way of enhancing your backyard farming experience, connecting you to bygone days when the work of your hands included building from scratch. Plus it can add to the fun of raising your own chicken. Best of all, building your own coop helps ensure that your chickens enjoy the perfect home suited specifically for them.

Read on to learn the basics of building a chicken coop best suited for your chickens…

Know the Laws

Before you build anything, it is vital to check into the zoning laws where you live. Some zones require a certain amount of space per chicken and others limit how many chickens you can have – some even say whether you can or can’t have a rooster! While some of these rules may sound odd, it’s important to know what’s legal so you can proceed accordingly.

Design Your Coop

Next, you’ll want to choose a design for your coop. This can be anything from a design for a very primitive structure to a more ambitious design that includes window boxes and vinyl siding, or even one that features a whimsical theme. The only real limit is your imagination. Just be sure the design you go with includes all the specifics needed to produce a structurally sound coop plus the features your chickens need to be happy and healthy.

Determine How Much Space

The space needed per chicken can vary depending on the breed of chicken you’re raising, but the general rule of thumb is a minimum of four square feet per bird. If you want your brood to lay more eggs, consider providing more space. Hens that are given ten square feet or more and are provided other conditions that promote and maintain good health will produce great amounts of eggs in most cases.

Get Your Materials

The materials you use will depend on the plans you have chosen, however, the main supplies needed are 2 x 4’s, plywood or strand board, insulation (this is a must if you live in a cold climate), and chicken wire. Depending on the size of the coop you want to build, you can take this list to any local hardware store and probably pick up all of these materials.

Get Started Building

There are several key elements to remember when you are building your coop. First of all, do NOT use any pressure-treated lumber inside the chicken coop itself, and do not use any to construct a perch. The toxins it puts off can kill your flock or at very least make them very ill. You’ll want to be sure that your coop is slightly elevated to prevent any standing water from collecting on the coop floor. This will help keep conditions inside the coop healthy. You will also want to cover the top and sides with wiring to keep out predators, both on the ground and from the sky.

When it comes to building a chicken coop on your own, know that it absolutely CAN be done! All you need is some design know-how, space, and commonly available tools and materials. With these things on hand, you’ll not only have plenty of fun, but you’ll also come away with a great chicken coop for your new birds and more than a little pride in yourself.