Need a chicken coop? Think small, cheap and easy to build. You need a minimum of 2 square feet of floor space for each chicken. A 4 foot square chicken coop will house 6 to 8 chickens with ease. If you luck you can find enough materials free of charge to build a 4 by 4 foot to maybe as large as 4 by 8 foot coop. Check with your friends and neighbors, ask around at construction sites for free lumber.
Salvage and recycle old wood fencing. It seems that someone is always replacing wood fence panels and has a need to dispose of the old panels. Wood fence panels are about 8 feet long and 6 feet tall with 2 or 3 – 8 foot long 2X4′s and 6 foot long fence planks. If your willing to invest a little time and effort this project will cost almost no out of pocket cash to build. Tools needed are few. A measuring tape, claw hammer, hand saw or power circle saw and a pound or 2 of nails. Enlist the help of friends and neighbors, make it a fun to do project.
If your yard does not have shaded area(s) this coop is enclosed on 3 sides at the bottom, 2 feet off the ground to provide a shaded area for your chickens during the heat of summer. Without shade chickens can over heat and die. Keep in mind that it must be constructed provide you with easy access to gather eggs and to clean out old litter as needed. The picture is labeled as ‘portable coop’ but in all truth, it would not be easy to move this coop around without a lot of help. A solid built coop is very important in keeping your flock safe from bad weather and predators. People are not the only animal that likes chicks, chicken and eggs!
Consider recycling an old garage or storage shed into a coop. I often see these sheds being given away by people simply to get them out of their yard. They are light weight and would make excellent chicken coops with the addition of a few nest boxes and roosting perch.
This picture is of poor quality but item (A) is a roosting platform board 18 inches off the floor, wide enough to prevent roosting chickens from soiling your nest boxes with their droppings. (B) is a roosting perch 4 to 6 inches above the board platform. Allow at least 9 inches of roost perch space for each chicken in your flock and (C) is 1 or more nest boxes located underneath the roost platform board. Remember when constructing you nest boxes to build them so it will be easy for you to remove old nest box litter and refill with clean nesting litter materials such as saw shavings, straw or grass hay. Clean nest box litter will aid greatly in keeping your eggs from becoming soiled making egg cleaning much easer.
This is an example of a small simple chicken coop with an attached wire covered run to house your chickens as well as protect them from predators. Your yard, with or without fencing and your chicken flock size and available building materials will dictate what type of chicken coop best fits your needs. Happy stress free chickens will produce many eggs for many months for you and your family.
Next time I will talk about raising rabbits in your backyard survival farm.