Wednesday, March 16, 2016

34 Free Chicken Coop Plans & Ideas That You Can Build by Yourself

Chicken Coop Plans
If you stumbled upon this article, there's a high chance that you're new to raising chickens and looking to build a chicken coop by yourself. Not buying a pre-made.
You made the right decision, building a chicken coop isn't really that hard.
But there's one thing...
...you need a detailed plan to build one.
Especially if you don't have any experience in building something like this before.
There are a lot of free chicken coop plans on the internet. In fact, BackyardChicken alone (one of the biggest chicken site) has almost 3,000 of them, submitted by its members.
But, the problem is, not all of them are good.
While I'm browsing the collection a few weeks ago, among those 3,000 ideas only like 10% of them are realistically can be built by beginners. Most of them are either too hard or don't have detailed plans.
That's why I created this article.
I gathered 34 of the best-looking, easiest-to-build, or the cheapest chicken coop plan available so YOU too can build it by yourself.

A few things before we start...

A coop isn't just a shelter, it's a place where your chickens live their life. Just like a house for human, the quality of your coop directly affected your chicken's happiness.
That's why it's important to know these things before you build one.
I'll try to keep it short.

1. Decide the size

As a general rule of thumb, 1 chicken needs 3-4 square feet of space. So if you have 3, then you'll need 12 square foot coop (3x4, 6x2, or bigger).
If the space is too small, your chickens will not be happy. The coop will get smelly fast, your chicken will get stressed out, they will start pecking each other, and get sick.
You can actually have less than 3 square feet per chicken, BUT they must be outdoor most of the time.
For smaller bantam breeds, you'll only need 2 square feet

2. Decide the location

Consider these points when choosing location for your chicken coop::
  1. Sunshine and shade - your flock needs natural sunlight, but not all day
  2. Wind - a nice flow of air is good, but avoid places exposed to strong wind. For reasons number 1 and 2, under a tree is often a good place
  3. Ease of access - you'll need to check the coop 2 times per day or more, make sure it's easily accessible
  4. Smell and noise - don't locate it too close to your house, or your neighbor's
Don't decide a location right away, monitor the area for at least 1 week to make sure there's no major problem.

3. Plan the coop

Your coop is not just a structure to protect your chickens, there are things on the inside (and outside) to keep your chickens alive and healthy. Here are a few important things to plan.
Must have:
  1. Nesting box - this is the place where your hens will lay their eggs. There should be at least 1 box per 2 hens with the size of 12x12x12 and about 10-20 inches above the ground
  2. Windows/ventilation - your chicken will get sick easily if there's no light and proper ventilation
  3. Feeder and waterer - obviously
Nice to have:
  1. Perch area - chickens love to sleep on perch
  2. The run - in the addition to the shelter, an outdoor run is important to keep your chickens happy, unless you're free-ranging them
  3. Dust bath box - chickens need to clean themselves with dust to stay healthy
  4. Poop boards - place it below perching area, it'll save you a lot of time cleaning the coop
  5. Lighting - in the winter, warm lights can boost egg production
Read the remainder of the article and see the plans from the source

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