Last time we started talking about chickens. A couple
years ago I began raising chickens so that my family
could have fresh eggs. After a while, we decided to
raise them for meat as well.

Between our layers and our fryers (the chickens for
eating) we have plenty of clucking in our backyard. Not
only that, but we have a consistent source of protein,
even if something happens to the supply chain and the
supermarket is closed.

Now it's time for me to pass on my chicken-keeping tips
so you can build your own backyard coop. Let's start by
talking about what a chicken coop needs to be.

But before you read any further, I want you to check out
this free video, where you'll learn the pro secrets of
building chicken coops for next to nothing:


Chicken coops serve two basic purposes: They keep your
chickens from destroying your backyard, and they keep
predators from destroying your chickens. Since chickens
aren't the smartest creatures in the world, they need a
little help with both.

The coop itself is the chicken's home. It needs to be
closed at night to keep the predators out. The chickens
will need something to roost on, like tree branches. A
wood closet rod works well for this. The chickens will
roost on these to sleep.

Figure on a minimum of two square feet of coop for every
chicken you have. More space is fine, but they need that
much room as a minimum.

Your chicken coop will also provide a place for the
chickens to nest and lay eggs. This is usually done in a
series of low boxes along the wall. Baskets work as well.
Chickens will share nests; one nest per three chickens is
a good ratio.

During the day, open up the chicken coop to let them
out. You'll want to leave it open so that they can go
inside to lay eggs or to hide in the case of inclement
weather. At night, you'll want to close the coop securely.

If you are raising chicks, you'll need to provide some
heat inside the chicken coop. This is easily done by
suspending a heat lamp. By the way, baby chicks don't need
to roost.

Most people put their coop inside a pen, called a run.
That way, they can let the chickens out while keeping
them from destroying everything else in the yard. Free
ranging is great, but you'll want to be able to control

Pens can either be totally enclosed or just in a fenced
area. Chickens don't fly so it's not necessary to keep
them from getting away. However, predators can get into
the coop if it isn't totally enclosed.

If your pen isn't totally enclosed, you'll need to put the
chickens in the coop and close it up every night. The
predators that will try and get your chickens come out at
night, not during the daytime.

The coop itself can be built of almost anything. I've seen
chicken coops that were made out of old desks and empty
refrigerators, or built from scrap wood gleaned from
pallets. The material just needs to protect your chickens
from the elements and from predators.

Actually, building a coop from a pre-existing container,
such as an old desk or dresser, is extremely easy since
the hardest part is already done. You just have to add a
roost, nesting area and an entryway.

Be sure to make your coop so that you can get into it as
well. You'll need regular access to collect the eggs and
clean out the coop.

The coop needs to be well-ventilated, especially if you
live in a hot environment. Ventilation should be near the
roof. Chickens can handle a lot of heat, but too much
isn't good for them. An unventilated chicken coop will
cause them to get sick.

Actually, ventilation is much more important than
insulation. Chickens can survive the cold because their
feathers provide adequate insulation. If you are in an
extremely cold environment, you might want to provide a
heat lamp in the coop in wintertime.

It's a good idea to put a litter tray in the bottom of the
coop itself. Chicken feces has a foul odor, and you will
need to clean out their home every month or so. By making
a slide-out tray, you can pull it out, empty it into your
compost heap, and simply slide the tray back in place.

Your chickens will also need food and water. Since
chickens aren't the smartest creatures in the world, they
will foul their own food and water if given the chance.
Using waterers and feeders that don't permit them to stand
in their food and water eliminates this problem.

Waterers and feeders are available at the local feed
supply. You can also build your own. There are several
plans floating around the internet for homemade chicken
feeders and waterers.

Make sure that there are enough available to allow all the
chickens to feed at the same time. They will feed all day
long; without access to food, they will peck at each

Remember, your chicken coop doesn't need to be fancy to be
effective. Chickens don't lay better eggs in a fancy home
than they do in a simple one. Either way, you'll have
fresh eggs to eat.

So, it looks like it's time to grab some tools and start
building a chicken coop. You don't want to go shopping for
chicks until you have that coop ready. After all, your
chickens will need their own home unless you want them to
share yours!

Stay tuned for more advice from me. I'll teach you how to
raise your chickens so that you can get lots of quality

Until then, you can watch this great free video to
discover how easy it is to build a great chicken coop that
nets you tons of eggs:



There are many lists around of what you should stockpile to be ready in case of an emergency. Most of those focus on the food that you should have on hand, as well as some basic survival supplies. There’s nothing wrong with that, but category is often missed: repair supplies.

Many of the most likely disasters which we are preparing for are natural disasters. These commonly cause moderate to severe damage to people’s homes—the same homes that they have everything stockpiled in and are trying to survive in. With damage to the home, it’s hard to use it as a survival shelter.

Moderate damage to a home, or even severe damage that is localized to only part of a home, doesn’t necessarily make it uninhabitable. The government may decide to declare that the home is damaged beyond repair, but doesn’t mean it can’t be a shelter for survival, at least until a better option becomes available. However, staying put may require some modest repairs, such as covering windows that were shattered and fixing a hole in the roof.

With the right materials, you can do a lot of repairs to a home. The home won’ be returned to like-new condition, but it can be fixed up to protect you from the elements. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just functional.

The Details

  • Tarps. These can be used to cover up a leaky roof, a hole in the wall or a window that has had the glass broken. Tarps are probably the easiest and most versatile home repair material there is to work with.
  • Clear Plastic Sheeting. While you can cover broken windows with tarps, you’re better off using clear plastic sheeting. Not only will it let more light into the home, but it will also make it possible for you to see what’s going on outside.
  • Lath or Furring Strips. If you just nail or staple the tarps or plastic sheeting in place, the wind will tear them out. You’re much better off nailing them through lath or furring strips. These thin pieces of wood will spread the pressure out, preventing tearing in the tarps.
  • Plywood. Plywood is another easy way to repair holes in walls and roofs. It’s also stronger than using a tarp alone. While a tarp may work fine for a typical leaky roof that has hail damage or shingles that have blown off, if there’s a hole in the roof from a tree branch, you’ll probably need something with a bit more substance. That’s where the plywood comes in handy.
  • 2 x 4 Studs. You can build anything from walls to roofs with plywood and studs. You can even build a smokehouse out of them, if you need one for smoking a steer you happen to shoot.
  • Duct Tape. It’s no secret how useful duct tape is. With it, you can repair lots of different things, even if you don’t have the right repair materials to use. Make sure you have plenty as you’ll find plenty of uses for it.
  • Wire Ties. Almost as useful as duct tape, these plastic ties are typically used for bundling wires. They come in a variety of sizes and are great for tying just about anything together, even criminals’ hands. I once made a shelter in the woods by tying the branches together with wire ties.
  • Caulking. Good for repairing all types of leaks. You may need it in conjunction with your other repair materials to make sure that the rain can’t get through that repair in your roof.
  • Wire Nuts. For connecting electrical wires together. If part of your wiring is damaged, you may need to disconnect part of your home’s electrical system. In that case, wire nuts will allow you to reconnect the parts that are working, as well as cap hot wires that aren’t attached to anything.
  • Plumbing Fittings. It’s possible that the part of your home that gets damaged is the part with pipes running through it. In that case, you may need to splice plumbing pipes or even cap them off in order to use the water in the rest of the house. Be sure to have the adhesive and primer to go with the fittings.
  • Hardware. All types of hardware are likely to be needed, especially an assortment of nails and screws. You might need brackets, hinges and latches as well to close up your temporary repairs.
  • Extension Cords. If you end up using a generator or any alternative electrical power system, you will need extension cords to get the power to your appliances and other electrical devices. There’s no such thing as having too many extension cords.

The Bottom Line

A few simple materials can make all the difference between keeping your home usable and sleeping out under a tree. While you won’t be able to return your home to its pre-disaster condition with this short list, you will be able to dry it in so that your home can protect you from the weather. Safety makes any repair worth doing.

In addition to these materials, make sure that you have the necessary tools, especially manual tools that don’t require electricity. We are so used to using electric power tools these days that many people don’t have their manual equivalents. If the power goes out, as usually happens in any disaster, power tools won’t do anyone any good, even with the materials to work with.