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
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
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: