Recently, we’ve noticed a lot of neighbors starting to build chicken coops in their backyards. Chicken coops are a fantastic way for them to have fresh eggs and natural chicken on their dinner table.
Chicken coops allow you to be more self-sufficient, enabling you to raise your own food and implementing a stronger work ethic around your home. With neighbors and customers asking us about how they can be self-sufficient with their own chicken coop, we decided to write an article on how to build one.
If building a chicken coop is too much for you, you can always purchase one at a decent price. Also, don’t forget that you can always depend on freeze-dried Chicken or our Chicken Lovers ReadyPack. You get quality chicken without having to build anything.
Comment below and tell us what you’ve found helpful in building your chicken coop. Share this with a friend or family member to let them know you want to build one for yourself.
Where to house the flock
The first thing you’ll need to determine is where you’re going to set up your coop. Portable housing is ideal for chickens because it’s nice to periodically relocate them to fresh land. Many people rotate between three locations. However, this requires more land than normal.
If you don’t have a lot of land to move around on, it’s important to know where you are going to build your chicken coop. A good alternative is to divide the area around your coup into different areas and partition off certain sections at a time to allow vegetation to grow back. An ideal location for a coop is on a hill or slope that offers good drainage during rainy weather.
Depending on your maintenance restraints, you should consider building a fenced area onto the chicken coop. This keeps the chickens from getting into your garden and lets you control where they eat. The disadvantages to this, however, are that you have to bring them their feed each time.
Depending on what type of weather you get throughout the year, you might have to install heating systems or good insulation in your chicken coop.
If you live in a mild-weathered area, your coop won’t need to be much more than a protective shelter from heavy rain and wind. In a harsh climate where the chickens are kept year-round, the insulation needs to keep chickens warm and keep combs and wattles from freezing.
How much space do I need?
The more room that chickens have, the better. Overcrowding your chickens leads to stress that can result in chickens fighting - pecking each other's feathers or flesh.
The minimum living space per chicken is usually figured to be about 4 square feet per heavy breed chicken and 3 square feet per light breed chicken. If the chickens are not allowed to roam around in a pen or yard, you need to make this space bigger. A heavy breed will need about 10 square feet while a light breed will need about 7.5 square feet of enclosed space.
|# of Chickens||Heavy Breed||Light Breed||Heavy Breed||Light Breed|
|1||4 sq ft||3 sq ft||10 sq ft||7.5 sq ft|
|2||8 sq ft||6 sq ft||20 sq ft||15 sq ft|
|3||12 sq ft||9 sq ft||30 sq ft||22.5 sq ft|
|4||16 sq ft||12 sq ft||40 sq ft||30 sq ft|
|5||20 sq ft||15 sq ft||50 sq ft||37.5 sq ft|
|6||24 sq ft||18 sq ft||60 sq ft||45 sq ft|
|7||28 sq ft||21 sq ft||70 sq ft||52.5 sq ft|
|8||32 sq ft||24 sq ft||80 sq ft||60 sq ft|
|9||36 sq ft||27 sq ft||90 sq ft||67.5 sq ft|
|10||40 sq ft||30 sq ft||100 sq ft||75 sq ft|
|15||60 sq ft||45 sq ft||150 sq ft||112.5 sq ft|
|20||80 sq ft||60 sq ft||200 sq ft||150 sq ft|
|25||100 sq ft||75 sq ft||250 sq ft||187.5 sq ft|
Remember that these are the minimum sizes that you need to make a chicken coop. The bigger the area, the more comfortable the chickens will be.
General rules to consider
A poultry house should be warm, dry, well-lit, and include ventilated shelter with convenient arrangements for roosts, feeding space and nest boxes. Fowls will stop laying eggs and their health will suffer when confined in cold, wet or dark conditions. Windows should be installed on the south or southeast sides. They should also be big enough to admit the sun freely and be able to slide open to increase circulation during the summer. During the winter, focus on providing enough light to the chickens while still keeping them warm.
Beyond those general requirements, your chicken coop can take on a lot of different sizes and designs. Here are a few that you might consider:
Small Coop Design
This design, is pretty small - 2x2 feet and 2.5 feet tall. It will typically house 1-2 chickens. The nesting box is located on the back of the coop and has a lid for easy egg collection.
• Accommodates 2 chickens
• Ventilated on the back wall
• Above ground for easier egg collection
• A roost for chickens to perch
• Two door entry
Check out the design images below and get instructions on how to build this design here.
Medium Coop Design
This is designed for about 4 chickens. It has an easy access side and is a sturdy design.
• 32 square feet
• Pitched roof for weather
• Above ground for easier egg collection
• Windows for light
• Insulation on the sides
You can click on the images below to see larger details or get instructions on how to build this coop here.
Large Coop Design
This house is pretty large. You’ll need about 8 ft by 12 feet to build it. Check out the images below and print off the free instructions.
• 8 ft by 12 ft
• Rock bottom to protect against burrowing predators
• 7 feet tall
• Door access on the side
• Easy coop access with retractable entries
You can find these designs and many others at backyardchickens.com. They have plenty of great designs submitted by users.
What do you think?
Comment below to tell us what you've found helpful in creating your own chicken coop. How has it helped you be more self-sufficient?
Don't forget to check out our complete DIY archives and food storage supplies for ultimate DIY preparation.
Homesteading: A Backyard Guide