The Ultimate Homemade Chicken Coop Guide
Guest Post by Claire, creator of The Happy Chicken Coop
Spring is nearly here and for us, chicken enthusiasts, that means one thing; new baby chicks!
Build Your Own Chicken Coop! Whether you are a new chicken keeper or have kept them for years, there is something inexplicably special about seeing your chicks for the first time.
However once the excitement calms down, you realize you’re going to need somewhere to keep your new chickens.
In the guide below I will cover how to build your own chicken coop, including how to find the perfect coop plan, all the way through to what wood to build with.
Step 1: Chicken Coop Design
The first stage is designing your chicken coop.
You have a few choices here. If you are creative then you can design your coop from scratch. However, if you are like me, and aren’t very creative, then you can use existing chicken coop plans and modify them to your needs.
You can use this chicken coop plans finder tool and start with a plan you like.
Have a close look at the coop design and think through how this particular design would, and wouldn’t, work for you.
Take the best parts of the design and improve it for your individual build.
Step 2: Choosing Your Location
Before you start your build, I would recommend finding a suitable location to place your coop.
You first need to calculate how much space is required; this depends on the type of breed you are planning to buy. Average-sized breeds such as silkies require around three square feet of coop space each. Whereas larger breeds such as Jersey Giants should have four square feet of coop space each.
Once you have the coop size you can measure this amount of space out on your land and see how it fits.
You should also look to make sure your coop is sheltered from wind and rain. Placing a coop near tree cover can work very well!
Step 3: Choosing Your Materials
Now you have got your plan and found the perfect spot for your chicken coop, it’s time to decide which materials you are going to build your coop with.
I’ve seen chicken coops made from wood, plastic, glass, and even recycled pallets. In this guide, we’re going to focus on the most common type; wooden chicken coops!
You have two main options:
1. Reclaimed wood
2. Recently milled lumber (new wood).
If you’re using reclaimed wood you need to check it for common problems (e.g. warping, splitting, and rotting). With recently milled lumber you won’t need to check for this.
One thing to note is that you’ll save money using reclaimed wood but it is more difficult to work with.
Step 4: Measure Twice, Cut Once!
Now it’s time to start building your coop.
Take your time and don’t rush.
It can be very easy to miss cut wood if you are rushing. If you only take one piece of advice from this article it’s this; measure twice, cut once.
Also, if this is your first DIY project, I would recommend practicing on a few scrap pieces of wood. Just practice marking out the correct length and cutting the wood straight.
Remember your coop doesn’t have to be perfect; your hens will love you either way! It just needs to be sturdy and waterproof.
Step 5: Maintaining the Perfect Coop
The final step in this ultimate homemade chicken coop guide has actually nothing to do with the build at all, its maintenance.
It doesn’t matter how sturdy, or well-built, your coop is. If it isn’t properly maintained then you’re going to have problems. The maintenance of your coop doesn’t have to be too demanding! A yearly checkup will normally suffice.
During this checkup, you should look to fill any cracks/gaps in the coop and also maintain the coop’s anti-weathering paint.
I hope you’ve found this guide useful and I wish you the best of luck with building your chicken coop!
“Claire is a homesteader, chicken keeper, and a blogger about all things chickens at The Happy Chicken Coop. Born and raised in rural England, she is a fourth-generation chicken keeper and has a love for all things chicken! If you’d like to talk with her please leave a comment or send her an e-mail.”
You may contact Claire at thehappychickencoop.com