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    How to build a backyard chicken coop

    A step by step guide of everything you'll need to do

    Alex | Oneflare

    Chickens are an excellent addition to a small farm or backyard in areas where they are allowed. Before your poultry journey begins, you need to construct a chicken coop and chicken enclosure, or chicken hutch, to keep them safe and happy. This is a project that you can do yourself, or you can hire a professional. This article will address the basics of building a chicken coop using the DIY route.

    Benefits of having chickens

    The benefits of owning backyard chickens go beyond the eggs. If you are a gardener, chickens and a produce patch are the perfect combination for many reasons. Chickens provide a natural fertilizer that helps promote foliage and fruit set. They also forage in the garden picking insects off the leaves without harming larger plants. Chickens are also the perfect way to dispose of surplus vegetables or that slightly overripe apple or banana. Chickens are also fun to watch and make wonderful pets. 

    DIY chicken coop ideas

    If you have decided to add chickens to your backyard, the first thing that you will need is a chicken pen. You can find plenty of chicken coop ideas online that are both practical and creative. Backyard chicken coops come in many shapes and sizes. 

    One of the primary considerations is where you plan to place your chickens. They should have access to some sunshine and some shade throughout the day, but they should also have a secure place for nesting and sleeping at night. The minimum requirements are two to three square metres per chicken inside the coop and four to five square feet per chicken outside. These are the minimums, but your chickens will be happier the more room you can provide. When building a chicken coop, keep in mind that chickens will fight in a crowded area, just like us. 

    Chickens are very beneficial animals to have as pets / Source: KC’s Pets At Home

    Materials and tools

    There are many different ways to build a chicken coop, including easy to build chicken coops that come in a kit. If you are doing it from scratch, you can decide on a wooden chicken coop, aluminium chicken coop, or use some other material. The plans and this article are for a simple chicken coop made of wood that anyone with basic carpentry skills can complete. 

    • Tape measure and carpenter’s pencil
    • Carpenter’s square 
    • Hammer and nails 
    • Cordless drill and screws 
    • Spirit level 
    • C-clamps or bar clamps
    • A retractable knife or utility knife
    • A circular saw or hand saw
    • Outdoor timber framing
    • Marine-grade plywood 
    • Treated fence panelling or other material for the outside of the coop
    • Treated H3 CCA fence rail
    • Fence mesh
    • Wire mesh panel
    • Hinges and door latches 
    • Chicken coop plans

    How to build a chicken coop DIY

    If this is your first time building a coop and you do not have a lot of experience with these projects, it might be best to purchase pre-made plans.

    1. Cut all the required timber: The first thing you need to do is cut all of the required lumber to the proper size. Make sure to do this carefully and follow all safety precautions. To ensure precision, measure twice and cut once.
    2. Assemble the side and back supports: You may choose to use posts set in concrete to do this. If you do not, make sure that the posts are secure and that the soil around them is compacted. You can also purchase special brackets specially designed for this purpose.
    3. Assemble the roosting box: Hens typically do not sleep in the same place as they lay. Also, roosters need their own space within the coop. The roosting box typically consists of four wood pieces that are nailed or screwed together, forming a square.
    4. Assemble the nesting box: Hens need a special nesting box to lay eggs and brood chicks. Constructing the nesting box is similar to constructing the roosting box. 
    5. Attach the outdoor area: Now it is time to attach the wire mesh to the outside of the coop and create the outdoor daytime area. When doing this, pay extra attention to ensuring that it is secure and will keep predators and rodents out. 
    6. Assemble and attach the walls: Now, you can connect the side walls recording to the plans. Make sure to close any gaps so that the coop will be protected from the weather and keep pests out.
    7. Cut and attach the flooring. Cut and attach the flooring to the floor joist assembly. One tip is to attach hardware cloth to the flooring’s underside before laying it down. This helps to prevent rodents and small predators from getting into the coop. They cannot chew through the hardwire cloth, but they will try to chew through a hardwood floor. 
    8. Create and assemble the door: Now it is time to assemble the door and attach it to the coop with hinges. 
    9. Cut and attach cladding: The main coop area’s last step is to connect the outside cladding. Once again, using a hardwire cloth on the inside will help secure the main coop area from rodents and pests.
    10. Install ramp and chicken wire: Although most chickens can manage short flights, many require a ramp to get into the coop. You should make sure that it is non-slip, not something that they will not try to peck and swallow, and it must have steps made from boards attached to the plank to prevent slipping.
    11. Create and attach the roof: The last part of the major construction is to attach the roof. Make sure to use roofing felt and either shingles or aluminium roofing materials. 
    12. Create and attach a nesting box roof: The final touches include attaching a roof to the nesting box. Hens like to feel like they are in a cozy, secured area. They should have enough room to stand up and move around, but most of the time, they will only be in this area for a short time while they are laying eggs unless they are brooding. 
    The more space chickens have the better / Source: Shutterstock

    How to hire a builder

    As you can see, even though building a backyard chicken coop looks like a simple process, there are many steps. You must have some basic carpentry skills and knowledge to be successful. Sometimes, it is less hassle and can be cheaper to hire a professional who knows how to do it right.

    Licencing and qualifications

    Unless you are running electricity or plumbing to the chicken coop, most chicken coop builders only need a general construction licence or carpentry credentials to do the job. Call around and get several quotes before hiring a contractor. It would help if you also read reviews or ask for photographs of their finished projects. 

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