Monday, December 13, 2010

3 Important Things To Know About Building A Small Chicken Coop

If you’re thinking of building a small chicken coop, there are a number of factors that you must know in order to have success.  Many chicken farmers dive right into the process without thinking about some serious factors first, and this is what will cause you to see results that are less than optimal.
By taking steps to ensure that you’re going about the process to build a small chicken coop successfully, you will make the most progress from your time invested.

Here are the 3 important factors that you should know about:

Think About Total Number Of Chickens
The very first thing you should be doing is making sure you are thinking about the total number of chickens you plan to keep in the small chicken coop. If you attempt to place too many birds inside at once, they are going to feel overcrowded, which will not lead to good results in terms of your ability to get fresh eggs daily.
It’s important not to attempt to go beyond the number of chickens that can successfully fit inside the house, so pay close attention to this. If you’re pushing the limits, you aren’t going to see results.

Landscape First
Next, you should be taking the time to landscape first before going forwards with the building process.  Landscaping is something that is essential to making sure the house stays stable over time, as those who attempt to build on land that has not been landscaped are at a serious risk of seeing problems over time.
Since it is a small chicken coop, the landscaping process itself should not be overly intense, so that’s not something you should concern yourself with, but it is important to consult a guide before building so you can be sure you get that correct.

Choose Your Materials Wisely
Finally, the last thing to do is make sure you’re choosing the materials you will use wisely.  You can definitely save a great deal of money through building supplies choices, but if you choose the wrong materials, it’s very likely they will get eroded by the weather over time, and rebuilding will be necessary.
A good chicken house building guide will walk you through the process of choosing the right materials (for as cheap as possible) so that your coop lasts for years.
So keep these points in mind. Don’t rush the process if you want to get good results.  The actual building process itself is quite quick, but only if you’ve read a guide beforehand and know precisely what to do.

For more help on the process, please see this guide:
———–>Build A Small Chicken House

How to build a cheap Chicken House

People wonder how to build a cheap chicken house and what the best way is for them to get a fresh supply of eggs daily. Building a cheap chicken house isn’t actually all that hard, provided you have a good plan to follow and understand some key points that will help to make the process a huge success.

Here are a few things to think about with regards to how to build a chicken house.

Build On An Elevated Piece Of Land
The first thing you should know about building a cheap chicken house is that you should be making an effort to build it on an elevated piece of land. This will help keep rainwater from collecting at the bottom of the chicken coop and potentially causing the walls to rot.

In addition to this, building it higher will also help increase the natural sunlight that the chicken coop gets, allowing your chickens to stay healthier and lay more eggs.

Build A Chicken Fence Into The Ground
Next, you should also make sure that you’re building the fence far enough into the ground that animals are not able to dig underneath it.  This causes a number of problems for a lot of farmers due to the fact that while they may keep out animals that will just jump over the fence, they aren't.

Be Sure To Maximize Sunlight
Finally, the last thing you should be doing is making sure you’re keeping the windows open in the direction of the sun.  As mentioned above, getting natural sunlight is incredibly important for the chickens to grow properly so something you cannot overlook.

Be sure that you’re building the windows large enough so that the entire coop stays lit and maximizes the sunlight you see.

So, keep these ideas in mind on how to build a cheap chicken house.  If you follow the right steps, this process is quite easy and can be incredibly successful for helping you save money.

For more information on this, check out this guide on how to build a chicken house:

——>  Build a Cheap Chicken House

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Finding Good Chicken Shed Plans

Finding good chicken shed plans to follow as you set out to complete this process will be critically important for long term continued results. Many people overlook the value that chicken shed plans will provide them with in terms of guiding them through the entire process to ensure that they are getting the exact results they are looking for.

By making sure you’re looking through the plan and taking into account a variety of aspects of the building process you can guarantee the results you have with the building process.

Here is what you need to know about chicken coops.

Consider All Building Materials

The first thing you should be doing is making sure you think about the wide variety of building supplies that are available to you. If you are able to use used materials throughout the building process you’re going to dramatically cut down on the total costs of building the coop, boosting the results you are looking for.

Even if you don’t have any materials that you can use to build the chicken coop around you, ask around to your neighbours. They might have exactly what you’re looking for that would get the job done very effectively.

Spend Some Time Landscaping First

Second, be sure you spend some time landscaping the area you plan to build on. Most chicken shed plans will provide instructions on what to look for in terms of where you are to build, so put some thought into this.

You don’t want to build in an area that is too low in elevation as this could cause flooding problems. Additionally, it’s almost important that you’re building somewhere that will get a decent amount of sunlight since this is important to make sure that your chickens lay eggs regularly.

Whatever you do, don’t build in the shade.

Avoid Cramping The Chickens In

Space is also another very important consideration so be sure the chicken shed plans you use give you a specific idea of your building dimension. There is so much space that each and every chicken that you keep will need to feel comfortable and if this space is not given they are not going to be laying eggs as desired.

As soon as you determine how many chickens you plan to keep, the next step is going to be figuring out the dimensions of your chicken coop.

Spend Some Time Building A Durable Fence

Finally, also be sure that you’re spending some time building a fence that will be able to stand the test of time. This will be vital so that you don’t run into a nasty encounter with one of the predatory animals that hunt chickens and that can easily wipe out the entire coop with little to no effort.

Be sure you’re building this fence both tall enough and deep enough into the ground, as these are the main points that will keep the animals out.

So be sure you look for chicken shed plans that take into account all of these factors. Getting it right the first time will save you a great deal of time and frustration down the road.

Guide on how to build a simple and beautiful chicken house now.

If you’re like many people, you’ve started thinking about how to build a chicken coop shed on your own. You love the taste of fresh eggs every morning and want to start a reliable chicken coop shed that will deliver.

If so, you’re in luck. Armed with the right information it’s fully possible to create a functioning chicken coop shed at a fraction of the cost that you would purchase one for. But, you must be careful because a few critical errors in the building process could easily have you struggling to see results.

Here are three keys, critical parts to know if you are to build a chicken coop shed effectively.

Focus On Flat Land for the Chicken Coop Shed

The very first thing you should make sure to do is focus on finding a flat piece of land to build on. One major mistake that many people make while building a chicken coop shed is not securing the right location. Remember that you must avoid water run-off when it starts to rain and if you’re building in a location that’s not elevated, you’re going to have problems.
A proper guide designed to help you build a chicken coop shed will walk you through the process of evaluating your own land area and making a smart decision in terms of space selection.

Be Sure To Think About Natural Light

Next, also take the time to plan your windows properly. This is one key area that many people overlook that can make a huge difference in how well the chickens perform. If they aren’t receiving enough natural light each day there is a far greater chance they will not lay eggs on a regular basis.
In order for your chicken coop shed to be effective, windows need to be placed in the right location on the shed and in the right direction facing the light. Don’t underestimate the impact this has.

Don’t Factor Out Feeding Location With Your Chicken Coop Shed

Finally, the last often forgotten factor that can cause issues with the success of the chicken coop shed is where you place the food. If it gets placed too high or too low to the ground and in a location too close to their nesting area, they won’t be eating properly and this will hinder their overall growth process.

For best results, you must measure out exactly how high off the ground you want to place the feeder and build it correctly.

So keep these simple, yet extremely important tips in mind. If you want to get fresh eggs day after day, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality chicken coop shed building book to walk you through the process.

To learn more about the one that I used to help me learn the ‘ins and outs’ of proper chicken coop shed building, check out this link:

—–> Build A Chicken Coop Shed <–Click Here

DIY Chicken Coop Low Cost Plan Guide

Chicken Coop Plans


So you're thinking about building a chicken coop but don't want to spend a fortune on
coop plans and building materials? This was my thought when I built my own coop a
few years ago. I've read that the average person spends $300.00 to build their coop
and I didn't want to spend that much - I scoured the internet to find free (or cheap)
but well made chicken coop designs that I could either build myself or buy.

I've included the links to FREE coop designs on the left side of the page.
the links contain plans to big or small chicken coops, depending on your needs. I've
also added some ideas for cheap or free chicken coop supplies i.e. building
materials, chicken feeders, chicken water containers, chicken nest boxes, chicken
roosts, and a few recommended books on how to care for chickens. I'll be adding more information to each of these topics as time goes on. For now, I wanted to give you the basics and show you some pictures of the coop that I use and some of the supplies that have worked for me.

There are hundreds of different designs available for your coop. A picture of my coop is posted here - It's made of scrap lumber and left over house paint. If you're looking to build a coop with the links to free plans below, you'll be limited to only those designs...but at least they're free, functional, and actually quite lovely! And you can always add your own design twists too.

How you design your coop will, of course, depend on your needs. If you are planning to have a small flock and want to build a smaller coop, you may want to consider a portable chicken coop. These are also called "chicken tractors." They often do not have floors and can be moved every few days or weeks from one part of your lawn to another so the grass does not get trampled down. This is ideal for raising chickens in urban areas where there may be limited space for them to run around. It's also beneficial for both your chickens and your lawn. The chicken droppings provide great fertilizer for your lawn and, by moving the coop often, the chickens get access to new bugs and fresh grass. Plus, you don't have to worry about cleaning up the droppings!

You can use any design you want, or create your own - the chickens won't likely care. But do keep in mind your skill level when building it. I used a design of my own creation - now this worked just fine in the end, and I had fun building it. But I didn't have a lot of experience in wood working or construction so it took me a lot longer to come up with a blueprint, to figure out how much wood it would take etc. I also encountered problems while constructing it since my blueprint wasn't perfectly polished and ready to go - so the construction process didn't always go smoothly either.

In hindsight, I wish I would have simply used an already available design that I found online since it would have saved me a ton of time and energy. But like I said - I do take great pride in my little 4'x8' creation and the chickens seem perfectly happy in it! You'll figure out what will work best for you.

Chicken coops can be made from almost anything - revamping an old shed or camping trailer, using scrap lumber, PVC pipes, 50 gallon barrels, tarps, kits, and the list goes on. Wood is the most commonly used material for coop building. Depending on the size of your coop, buying new lumber can get expensive.

I was able to find a couple of businesses which sell used or scrap lumber and this worked nicely for my 4'x 8' coop. I even found some used windows and a couple sets of unused shingle there. If you decide to build your coop with used lumber, be prepared to pull out some nails, cut out some broken pieces, and to be creative with what you find. It takes extra time and TLC to build a coop using "recycled" or used wood - but I found the extra time well worth it in how much money I saved!

Another view of my coop above - I lucked out in finding a few stacks of new shingles to use! I also saved extra space inside the coop by building the nest boxes on the outside - you can see the row of nest boxes in the picture, jutting out on the right side (which is actually the back of the coop). There are 8 total boxes for them to choose from.

The suggested size for chicken nest boxes is 15" wide, 15" high and 11 1/8" (see picture for example). This can vary to a certain extent. My nest boxes are about 2" smaller than this and work just fine. You can fill your boxes with straw or place some type of padding down on the bottom so the eggs won't crack when they lay. I noticed that they tend to kick and scratch a lot of straw out of the boxes so I stapled a piece of padding onto the bottom.

I started off with 8 chickens and made a nest box for each chicken. It turns out they all used the same 2 nest boxes for laying eggs! I've even seen 3 chickens in the same nest box at the same time - therefore, you don't need to make too many boxes. They tend to gravitate toward the same box. If you have a big flock - you'll need to make more. In some of the links I've provided, there are some excellent pictures of nest boxes, diagrams, and "how-to" instructions for building nest boxes. A view of a couple of my nest boxes is pictured above.

A 2" by 4" or 2" by 2" board works nicely as a roost. You can also use a tree branch measuring between 3" to 6." I used a 2 x 4 and rounded off the edges with a circular saw, and these are working like a champ. This step is not necessary, but I've found that they are able to grip onto the roost better when it's slightly rounded. A view of my roost and walkway leading to the roost is pictured above.

I made sure to place the roosts where the droppings are not in my way when I enter the coop so I don't have to clean it off my shoes after being inside. Depending on the type of coop you build, you may also want to consider positioning the roosts where you can easily clean up the droppings.

Chickens seem to like roosting higher in the coop at night, so I positioned mine about 4 feet off the ground. I then constructed a walkway leading up to the roost since we clipped their wings (more on this in a bit). It's basically an 8" wide board which angles up from the floor to the roost with some make shift "steps" nailed on and spaced every 6" or so - something they can use to "grip" onto as they walk up.

Back to wing clipping, just briefly - we clipped the outer part of the wings - on one side only. Don't worry - this does not involve pain for the chickens in any way, and it prevents them from taking flight. When the wings are clipped, it's done toward the outer part of the wing where there is no blood supply. We didn't clip their wings at first because we thought it would hurt them. They kept flying over the fence, however, and and we lost one to a neighborhood dog. Thus, the wing clipping, and consequent ramp from the floor to the roost inside the coop. There is a great illustration on wing clipping at

The farm stores all carry a nice selection of chicken feeders and water containers but they can be rather expensive. I made a 5 gallon feeder and waterer using two 5 gallon buckets I got for free at our local grocery store - usually the bakery or deli section - and two 20 inch plastic planter bases. The plastic planter bases cost around $5.00 - I purchased mine from a garage sale. Of course, any local retailer such as Walmart, Target, or your local hardware store or nursery would carry them as well. The 5 gallon feeder I'm currently using is pictured above - after filling it with feed, it will last about 3 weeks for 13 chickens.

How it's done: To make the Chicken feeder - drill several holes about 1 1/2" in diameter around the bottom of the bucket. Make sure the bottom edge of the holes are no higher up than 1/2" from the very bottom of the bucket. Next - place the bucket in the bottom of the plant base so the top of the bucket is still up. Don't throw away the lid - you'll still need it. Make sure the bucket is centered as best as possible in the plant bottom and then screw it in place using 3 or 4 screws until it is secure. That's it! just pour in the feed and put the lid on and you've got 5 gallons worth of feed. I'm guessing this would be roughly 20 lbs of feed since it holds just under half of a 50lb bag of chicken feed in my feeder. I place my feeder on top of 2 concrete blocks - chickens are sloppy eaters and this helps prevent feed spillage. I've seen other people hang their feeders a few inches off the ground with rope. The suggested distance off the ground is about the height of the chickens back.

For the waterer, it's the same method except you only need to drill one or two small holes (1/4" or so) near the base of the bucket - and drill them around 1" up from bottom of the bucket. You can vary the height or distance from the bottom of the bucket a little, but make sure the hole does not lie above the rim of the planter base - If you do, all the water will overflow out of the trough.

Dimensions: Each chicken requires 3 to 4 square feet of space - this will need to be taken into account when designing your coop so you don't make it too small. I would suggest making it a little bigger than you need since, if you're like me, you'll want to purchase more chickens each year.

Climate: Build your coop to suit the climate of your area. If you live in a warm climate, you will need to make sure there is plenty of ventilation to keep your chickens cool. In cold climates, it's important to keep out the draft and to make sure it's warm enough so that the drinking water doesn't freeze. An insulated coop will ensure the coop isn't drafty either. But you'll still want good ventilation, however, to ensure that fresh air can move in and out of the coop - minimizing the likelihood of your chickens getting sick.

Elevated Coop: An optional part of the design is elevating your coop. Having it elevated can help with the flooding rains and keep it cooler in the summer heat. It also gives the chickens a shady place to go during the day. I elevated my coop and noticed I've never had any rodents in it either - I'm not sure it's a way to fool proof your coop from rodents or predators, but it probably helps to some degree.

Location: If you live in the city, check your city regulations. Sometimes, they require you to be at least 5 ft from the property line. Also, try to make a coop that won't be offensive to your neighbors. It doesn't have to be as pretty as the home you live in, but not too unsightly so as to reduce property values. Keeping on top of the smell is also key, since you don't want to damage relationships with your neighbors.

It's beneficial for the chickens to have adequate sunlight as well - for staying warmer in cold climates and for maximum egg production. Putting a window on the south side would allow for the light to enter the coop all day.

Deep Litter Method
You'll also have to consider if you're going to clean out the droppings on a regular basis or if you want to use the "deep litter" method, which is less maintenance. This is important to consider for designing the floor of your coop. Some people prefer to use a chicken wire floor so the droppings fall into a container under the coop for easier cleaning, less odor in the coop, and a way to regularly stay on top of the cleaning.

With the deep litter method, you essentially have around 4-8 inches of wood pellets, wood (pine) shavings, or other bedding on the floor of the coop. Every few days you'll want to use a rake or shovel to stir the droppings on the top into the bedding underneath. The chickens do this on their own, but you'll want to rake it in a bit deeper and more evenly across the whole floor.

The bedding/droppings will begin to decompose underneath. As this happens, the amount or level of bedding starts to shrink down. As this happens, you'll simply add another inch (or more) of bedding so you'll always have about 4-8 inches. By using this method, the odor is minimal. You really only need to clean the entire coop out once or twice a year.

I use the deep litter method and highly recommend it - it saves me a lot of time, and I can use that rich compost for our garden once it's done! I buy 40 lb bags of wood pellets for my coop - most large retailers i.e. Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes will carry some. It may be that they only stock up on wood pellets during the winter so it may help to call the store in advance. Another great place to get pellets is at farm stores, and they usually carry them all year long. However, the price may be a bit higher.

I start off pouring a few bags on the floor until I get about 5 inches of pellets, spread evenly across the floor. I occasionally (once a week) rake the droppings on top, into the pellets underneath. Then I periodically add another bag of pellets - about every 3 monts on average.

I usually know when it's time to add another bag of bedding - when the coop starts to smell a little and just raking the droppings into the bedding underneath is not working to eliminate this odor anymore. After a year, I simply clean it all out and start the process over again. You can find more information on this process at which, by the way, is an excellent overall resource for all things related to chicken care.

Predator Control
If you live in an area near dogs, coyotes, racoons, skunks, mountain lions, fisher cats, red tailed hawks, or bears (the most common predators), you'll want to make sure to make your coop is predator proof. For an outpen made of chicken wire or bird netting, you should embed the material 8"-12" below the ground around the perimeter of the pen to prevent the would-be predator from digging in.

If your coop is fenced in with woven wire farm fencing (or any other type of farm fencing), it is a good idea to place either a strand of electric wire or barbed wire around the perimeter a few inches off the ground on the outside of the fence. Again, this will deter predators from entering.

If, after reading all of this, you don't feel up to the task or decide you DO have the money for a coop after all or don't want to go through the work of building a coop - there are dozens of good chicken coops for sale. 

I hope this information was helpful. I'll be adding more as time allows. Good luck with your coop building adventures!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How To Build A Poultry House That Lasts

If you’re starting to think about trying to build a poultry house, there are a few important things you must know to make sure it’s going to last for a longer period of time.
Here are three quick tips to build a poultry house successfully.
Don’t Overlook Building Materials Research
Many chicken farmers make the mistake of choosing the cheapest building materials they can find as they build a poultry house.  While it is good to save on costs and you can definitely do so with your building materials, make sure you spend some time researching the different materials available.
This can make a large difference with how long your chicken house lasts, so it’s not something to take lightlyl.
Build At An Elevation
The next thing you want to do with as you build a poultry house is make sure you’re building at an elevation.  If you happen to get a lot of precipitation, in time you may find that it starts collecting at the base of the chicken house.
When this happens the house could actually flood, which will essentially require you to rebuild the entire base - not a fun process.
Building on a hill will be your best option for succes.
Finally, the last thing you should do as you build a poultry house is take the time to learn how to landscape the area properly.  You could hire someone to do this for you but that will become pricey so consult a good guide instead that will enable you to learn exactly what you have to do to landscape properly.
This will make a very large difference over time with how well the walls maintain their structural integrity.
So be sure you’re keeping all of these factors in mind. If you want to have success as you build a poultry house, it’s critical that you are looking at a good building plan.
For more information on this, please check out the plan that I used that proved to be very successfull:
—-> How To Build A Poultry House

How to build a Chicken Coop - Easy Chicken Coop Blueprints and Plans

Are you one of the many people looking to build a chicken coop without having to spend a fortune? Did you know that the average person spends over $350 to construct a chicken coop of merely average quality?

The number one reason the cost often runs so high is misinformation. People often try to build a coop with either no plans or poor plans and wind up having to correct their own mistakes and costly errors!

Before you even begin to construct a chicken coop, you need to ask yourself what you would like and need in a coop. An absolute must have is proper ventilation. Another consideration, which will very greatly depending on the number of chickens you plan to raise, is that you must have a proper and adequate feeding system. And yet another important consideration is the climate in which you live. It is imperative that snow and rain be kept out of the coop, and that the chickens are raised in a comfortable environment. Heating may even be needed. While this may seem overwhelming, the whole process can really be simplified with a good set of Chicken Coop Blueprints! We will discuss this more later in the article.

A good set of chicken coop plans will explain that if you have a small amout of chickens, a somewhat movable chicken pen would likely be to your advantage. A movable coop is easier to clean, because you can move it close to your home. Small coops can often be made out of cheaper material commonly found around your home. Perhaps even a neighbor could help you with a few supplies. In a small coop environment, your chickens can be closer to you for easy feeding. The coops are durable to withstand movement without any problems.

In most cases, it is actually possible to construct your chicken coop using almost entirely used and / or recycled materials. Not only does this make the coop very inexpensive to build, it is also a great help to the environment!

The chicken coop plans we use, show you creative ways to build your chicken coop at virtually no cost. The plans will show you how to use wood scraps and other recycled materials from around your home to build professional looking and performing coops. Regardless of what companies selling $300-$500 coops would like you to believe, you virtually free, homemade chicken coop will be just as functional and aesthetically pleasing as theirs!

When planning your chicken coops factors such as weather, chicken population, cost, and space are just some of the things you need to keep in mind. As I explained, a good Chicken Coop Blueprint can really open up a lot of possibilities and will easily pay for itself 10 times over! You simply cannot afford to go it alone. The benefits that a homemade coop provides your chickens will far outweigh the minimal cost and materials.

Your next step in building a chicken coop is to examine the guide we use. It will walk you through every step and consideration with detailed explanations and pictures of each step in the process!