Best Chicken Coop Building Plans for Hobby Flocks
When comparing chicken
plans, there are several things to consider. The size
your chickens and number of birds in your flock,
keeping in mind possible future growth, are most important.
Each full sized bird needs about 3-4 square feet of indoor space. If the birds are not allowed to roam outside, they will not be happy. They like to scratch in the dirt and dig for insects. If you don’t have much space or free ranging is not possible, they can get by with about the same amount of square footage outdoors as is available in their coop.
>> Ready to see coop designs and pictures? Check out these pre- built coops or professional chicken coop plans to find the best coop and chicken run solution for your backyard flock. <<
Some coops are designed to have two levels, such as the one pictured above. The upper level is for roosting at night and laying eggs by day. The lower level allows access to the grass and ground. Many of those designs are movable, which makes things cleaner and assures constant acces to grass and fresh bugs, grubs and worms.
Once you have determined the size you need, you can choose a design. Small doors into the laying area make egg-gathering easier. Walk-in constructions are easier on your back.
For protection from predators and to make sure your chickens don’t try to cross the road, you will need chicken wire for fencing. Some chicken coop building plans include a fenced-in area. Others are designed to be placed inside of a larger fenced-in area.
Once the birds are full grown, there is less to worry about in terms of predators, but that all depends on where you live. Nighttime is the main concern.
You want the birds to be able to get into a safe area for roosting that is predator-resistant. Raccoons, foxes and even opossum are among the chicken predators that will take small and large chickens alike. Those pesky critters will also steal your eggs, if they can get at them.
Appearance is another factor that many of us find important. No matter how much land you have, coops can easily become unsightly. We want our neighbors, even though there are not many of them, to admire our birds and where they live. There are dozens of very attractive chicken coop building plans.
Choosing materials carefully and shopping around will lower your total costs. You can create a good-looking environment for your birds without spending a fortune.
Do the "free" eggs offset the building costs of a chicken house and run? Many backyard chicken growers certainly think so as they are able to save money on eggs and meat with careful flock management that maximizes feed conversion and eliminates loss from predator attacks.
It is believed that food prices will continue to rise. Some researchers believe that food shortages will become a problem, even in industrialized nations, as more land is used for other purposes. Having the infrastructure to raise chickens for eggs and meat gives a family a measure of sustainability and self-sufficiency that can not be overrated.
One last thing to consider when comparing chicken coop building plans is the amount of space you have. If you have only a small space, the larger coops may visually take over your small backyard. But, if you want one anyway, go ahead and build it. It’s really all a matter of personal preference.
You can buy a ready- made coop or build one from plans available for download. Use only lumber and building materials approved for outdoor use, such as pressure-treated wood and other long-lasting materials that will not rot after a few years in the rain and sun.
How to Build a Chicken Coop - detailed plans and construction guide for making backyard coops.
These chicken coop plans and building guide are the best I've found, and purchased them myself to build our first coops. There are five different chicken coops included, beginning with the most basic double-story ark and culminating with the largest design, the Chicken Barn with attached screened-in chicken yard. I want to use their plans again for their largest chicken coop, the chicken barn, when we are ready to upsize our chicken flock's habitat. The coop pictured here is a medium-sized all-in-one design.
Recommended Chicken Books:
- Homemade Living - Keeping Chickens: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock by Ashley English
- Storey's Guide - Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow
- Barnyard in Your Backyard - A Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cattle
Favorite Chicken Quotes
“ A chicken you eat only once — eggs a hundred times." ~ Tajikistani Proverb
“ You cannot cook one half of the chicken and leave the other to lay eggs." ~ Sanskrit Proverb
“ You don’t have to kill the chicken to get eggs." ~ French Proverb