So you’re thinking about building a chicken coop? You’re not alone. The past few years have brought a dramatic increase in the number of people now raising chickens for eggs, meats or just as a hobby. This is especially true in urban settings. Because of this increased interest, there has also been an explosion of plans that are now available on chicken coop designs. Picking the right building plan for you will depend on numerous factors. The tips below provide helpful information on choosing the plan that is best for your situation and the breed of chicken you plan to raise.
Tip 1: Check local regulations regarding the building and placement of chicken coops in your area.
Even with the increased number of people now raising chickens, many municipalities still outlaw the raising of poultry around dense human populations. Even if they are allowed, there are often strict regulations on the size and placements of coops on a property. Before choosing a design check the regulations in your area and make sure the design meets local requirements.
Tip 2: Thoroughly research the breed of chicken you plan to raise.
Different types of chickens will require different types of coops. Smaller breeds will require less space than larger breeds. Some prefer more open space for scratching and exercise, while others are content to stay in an enclosed space. There are numerous free resources available on chicken breeds and their particular needs and habits. Research your breed as thoroughly as possible before deciding on a coop design and be sure the size of the coop is adequate to the number of chickens you plan to raise.
Tip 3: Decide on how much you want to spend on building your coop.
Chicken coop building plans now range from large and elaborate to small and simple. There are also many plans for portable coops that can be regularly moved around your property. The simple fact is that chickens are not overly particular about where they live as long as their basic needs are met. All they require is access to food and water, an enclosed area for sleeping and roosting, simple nest boxes and, for most breeds, a small outdoor area for scratching and exercise. Choose a plan that meets these basic requirements and fits within your budget.
Tip 4: Keep in mind your skill level when choosing a design.
Coop building plans can range from requiring advanced construction techniques to simply nailing basic materials together. Be sure you understand how to complete a plans construction details before beginning construction.
Tip 5: Choose a design suitable to your area climate.
Chickens are negatively impacted by both extreme heat and excessively cold temperatures. If you live in an area that is consistently hot during summer months, the coop should be very well ventilated. If you live in colder climates, the coop will need to be well protected from cold winds and possibly even insulated; especially for keeping water from freezing. Be sure the building plan you choose is designed for your area weather extremes.
Tip 6: Make sure your plan includes at least one natural light source to the inside of the coop.
Chickens lay eggs based on the available source of daylight. During the shorter days in winter months, some breeds will stop laying all together. A good plan should include at least one south facing window for allowing sunlight into the coop. This will help maintain egg production. A window that can be opened can also help with coop ventilation during warm weather.
Tip 7: Choose a coop design that limits access by predators.
Chickens have many natural predators including foxes, skunks, opossums, coyotes, rats, hawks, owls as well as feral cats and dogs. Be sure your coop is predator proof and that outside exercise areas are covered in heavy wire or netting that is embedded 8 to 12 inches into the ground.