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Need a chicken coop? Think small, cheap and easy to build. You will need a minimum of 2 square feet of floor space for each chicken. A 4 foot square chicken coop (4X4=16 square feet) will house 6 to 8 chickens with ease. If your lucky 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.
Old privacy fence that is being replaced is a good source of usable lumber. It comes in 8 foot sections 6 feet tall and will have a lot of picket lumber that after being trimmed will be 4 to 5 feet long as well as having two or sometimes three 8 foot long 2X4’s that can be salvaged.
Look on sites like Craigslist for free or cheap old wood frame windows and doors that are being replaced with modern steel, aluminum and vinyl type windows.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.
**Hint: Drywall or deck screws are better than nails. They are a bit more expensive but hold better than nails and are easy to screw in using a number 2 Phillips screwdriver bit and your power drill.
Your new chicken coop and chicken run must:
(1) provide protection from cold and wet weather.
(2) Provide protection from predators, dogs, cats, skunks, snakes, fox, racoons and coyotes.
If your yard (coop area) does not have a shaded area(s) this coop is an example of a coop that 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 to 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 easier.
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.
There are few ‘Free’ plans available on how to build a chicken coop. However you can find many Free Plans on building a storage shed. Any storage shed can easily be converted into a chicken coop with the addition of a few nest boxes and a perch for your hens. Your options are only limited by your imagination.
Don’t get carried away in your excitement and get to many hens for your egg needs. In general you can except to get 1 egg every 27 hours from each of your hens. That works out to 5 or 6 eggs per hen every week. Two hens will produce about 1 dozen eggs a week!
Why is common sense so uncommon?
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