Are you new to raising chickens? If so you are in for an awesome treat. To those that have, you should still gain a lot of information from this site. My name is Kenny Kern and I want to help you raise your backyard chickens.
Many people ask me all the time what the best coop plans are. Here I go over the chicken coop plans that I think you will really like. They are easy to use and come with multiple coop designs.
If you are new to raising chickens then you should consider reading over the basic chicken care and requirements. You will learn how much time you have to put in to care for your chickens, how much space they need, and how much it will cost you. This is some good information to take a look at.
When you are off to buy your backyard chickens, you are going to need the knowledge on how to pick out healthy chickens. Nobody want a sick chicken that could possible spread an infectious disease to your healthy chickens. Use this check list to learn how to pick the healthiest chickens of the batch. You can even print it out when you go to the chicken farm.
Getting Started with Chicken Coop Plans
Building the right chicken coop for your chickens is very important to me as it maybe to you. I know when I build my coops I want to make sure that my chickens are as safe and comfortable as possible. A chicken that is comfortable and has room to move around is going to be a happier chicken and lay more eggs. I raise my chickens for eggs, so that is very important to me.
You may have different reasons for raising your chickens but for the most part it’s either as a pet, for poultry, or for eggs. In either case you are going to want to have healthy chickens. So what are some things I look for when building a chicken coop or looking for plans? I usually look at the design, what it is made from, if it can protect my chickens and how much it will cost me overall.
How to Design the Coop
When I built my first coop I used a portable chicken coop design. I didn’t have very many chickens when I first started to raise backyard chickens so I decided on this option. If you only have 3 med sized laying hens which is what I started with this may be a good option for you as well.
A portable coop covers less ground and is still effective at keeping your hens safe from weather and most predators. This is also the most affordable option since you don’t use as much material as you would with a larger coop. Another great thing about a portable coop is that you can just move the coop out of the way if you need to mow your lawn and chickens provide good fertilization.
If you are planning on raising more chickens you can also build a bigger coop. I like bigger coops because of the added protection they bring against predators. They allow you to dig a barrier into the ground since this type of coop will not be moved around.
Placing the chicken wire 6 – 10 inches into the ground will protect your chickens from animals that will try to dig their way into your coop. If you enjoy building things, a bigger coop is fun since you can add more features to it like making windows, nest boxes and a chicken roost. You also have the option of making the coop easier to clean by making it accessible for you to get inside.
Cleaning the coop can be easy if you stay on top of things. I use pine shavings at the bottom of my coop and just pick out the poop once a week. If there is poop on the flat surface I just scape it with a brush. I also rack the upper most layer of dirt in the chicken run and put down a fresh layer. Also if you want, you can use the pine shaving from the coop you just cleaned as compost. I usually do this whenever I want to condition the soil in my garden. It really makes a great organic compost for your garden.
The location of your coop is very important in how you are going to design you coop. If you live in a colder climate you are going to want to make sure that the coop is well insulated and maybe even thing about putting in the direction the sun rises. You do not want to freeze your chickens to death so make sure you find plans that show you how to winterize your coop well. Here are just some tips to help winterize a chicken coop:
Tips for Winter Months:
- Use a 75 – watt reptile nighttime black colored incandescent heat lamp. You can use this on very cold nights.
- Windproof your chicken coop buy building a tarp tent around the whole coop. This will require some more building but will save your chickens from getting wet and protect them against the chilly winds. Chicken are able to adapt to change in weather as long as they are out of the wind and kept dry.
- These are two things that chickens need to be protected from. You can build a slider window to allow some air to get through which will prevent condensation.
- I would use straw for the bedding doing winter months.
- Use a heated pet dish to keep the drinking water from freezing.
- For the summer months, you just want to make sure there is ventilation. This will keep your chickens from overheating the coop.
If you live in a rainy area or somewhere that floods a lot you may want to elevate your coop. This will help keep your chickens dry. This may also help keep small animals from getting inside your coop.
Although you may be excited about your chickens your neighbor may not feel the same way. They may see it as sore eye in the yard. They could also complain about the noise and the smell of the chickens so try to build the coop where it will not interfere with your neighbors. My neighbors have never complained ever since I started raising my chickens. At times I even stop by their houses to offer them some fresh eggs for dealing with the chickens even though I keep my chickens from their viewing. I just went ahead and put a wooden fence around my backyard not only to prevent predators but also for the sake of my next door neighbors.
What to Make Coop From
You can pretty much make your coop from stuff you might have already. I have seen many people just use an old shed, some left over wood, PVC pipes used with chicken wire. I didn’t have an old shed and thought PVC pipe was very unattractive so I just went ahead and used wood and chicken wire. Depending on the type of wood you get it can get expensive but it will always almost be cheaper than going out and buying a pre-assembled chicken coop.
You could also ask your friends or neighbors if they have some scrap wood you can have. I have found out in most occasions they usually do. So I would try that out first if you are on a strict budget.
Protect Your Chickens
The one thing that many people forgot about when building their first coop is that chickens have predators. Some things that will try to go after chickens are:
- and depending where you live bears and mountain lions
If you live in an area where there are bears or mountain lions, the best thing you can do is just build a tall wooden fence around you yard. This will not only protect your chickens but also yourself.
To protect your chickens from the smaller animals pretty much all that is needed is placing the chicken wire 6-12inches below the ground so the predators cannot dig their way into the coop. I heard about stories where people lost their whole flock because they did not prepare their coop right. So when you buy your chicken coop plans just make sure it will teach you how to protect you flock from predators.
Other Things to Know About Getting Chickens
Getting chickens for the first time my seem very exciting but at the same time very overwhelming. I know when I first started raising chickens I invested into many books and read many sites online that dealt with the raising of backyard chickens. I was in the forums for hours making sure I knew every little thing there was to know about keeping chickens safe and happy. One good place I found when I started off online was backyard chickens. Many people from all over the world input their thoughts on how to raise chickens.
Most of the people on there are chickens owners themselves or use to raise chickens so it is another great place to check out if you cannot find all the info you are looking for here at cheap chicken coop plans. I will try my best though to put up as much info as possible to help you take care of your chickens and building your chicken coops. In this short article I will just explain a few things about raising chickens that I think are very important when starting off.
Important tips to remember when raising backyard chickens
Are you breaking the law? Many times, people get chickens without even checking to see if it is legal in their area. I know that in some cities the government has restrictions on where chickens can be raised and how many chickens an owner can have at a time. In bigger cities, chickens may even be banned. I have seen recently though that many cities are allowing people to own chickens under certain circumstances. So before you buy chickens and build a chicken coop make sure you find out what your city zoning laws are. This will save you the embarrassment of receiving a fine in the mail do to your backyard chickens.
How much space do you have? You might be limited to the amount of chickens you can have due to lack of space. So some of you might only be able to have 2-3 chickens at a time. The last thing you want is trying to cram chickens into a tight spot. They will probably kill each other and that is not a joke. Chickens like their space and will often fight each other for it if there is not enough room. The fight can cause wounds which could get infected and kill the chicken.
So always try to give your chicken enough space to move around. Three square feet of run and two square feet is needed per adult chicken. So keep this in mind when deciding how big to make your coop. To small your chickens will fight like gladiators and too big, well it can never really be too big. The more space your chickens have the happier they will be and produce the most eggs.
Should you buy or make the coop? This really depends on what you want. If you want something that doesn’t cost too much and is custom I would go with just building the coop yourself. You might have all the material needed already to get started. If not, you could just ask around for some spare wood. Also a shed would work perfect for a coop as well. If you are not really hands on and just want something quick and easy, I would just go with a pre-made coop. They are usually pretty nice but I never actually bought one because I like to build things and figured why pay more for something I can build myself.
So these are just a couple things to get you started when raising your first chickens. I hope they help out some and get you on your way to becoming a successful chicken owner. I will post more stuff soon to help you even future. I read a lot about raising chickens and will share anything I find interesting that will help not only me but also yourself. Also if you have any questions or want to share some tips about raising chickens just contact me on my contact page. I would love to hear what you have to say and may even post it on my site with your permission.
My First Time Getting Chickens
I remember my first time getting chickens and building my first chicken coop. I have always wanted to raise chickens ever since I saw someone in my town raising chickens in their backyard yard. I just went over ask them a few questions and from then on I started reading online about the basic care of owning chickens. I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be so about 3 weeks later I asked my wife what she thought about us owning a couple chickens. She thought it would be interesting so we went ahead and got 3 chickens to start off with.
My First Chicken Coop
When I was deciding on how to house my chickens, I had to think between two things. I could either buy a pre-made chicken coop or go with chicken coop plans and build my own coop. When I was going through this process I thought about the cost and how I wanted the coops to look. When I was searching around online, I found out that pre-assembled coops were very expensive. At the time I did not want to pay too much because I was a new chicken owner and was not sure how it was going to turn out. I would feel bad if I spent $500 on a chicken coop, only to give up a month into it because I did not raising chickens.
So here is what I did, I found some pretty cheap chicken coop plans online and some spare wood and just built a small portable chicken coop. I was surprised by how well it turned out. Even since then I just built by own coops because it is cheaper and I can customize it to my liking. That is something you cannot do with a coop you buy from a store or an online retailer. My first chicken coop was really basic. I just used a few pieces of wood and some chicken wire. It was not very big at all because I only had to house 3 chickens.
We ordered are first chickens and they got sent to use in the mail. Yes, they send baby chicks in the mail. I thought it was a little strange at first also when I heard about that. When I got them I thought it was amazing. Seeing these little chicks really got me excited and looking forward to caring for them. Actually caring for the chickens was not hard at all. I just made sure I feed them and cleaned out their coop. When the chickens got older, they were starting producing about 1 egg per day so that came out to us having on average 3 fresh eggs per day for breakfast.
So all in all, my first time raising chickens was a good experience, so good that I continue to this day. I love building new homes for my chickens and being able to say that I own chickens in my backyard. It is always a good conversation starter when I meet new people or here of people that are thinking about raising some chickens in their own backyard. So if you are still a little hesitant about getting your own flock, I think you should just go for it. You can start off my putting together a cheap little chicken coop together and only raising 2 chickens at first to see if you like it or not. If not you can always sell your chickens or give them away. Well, I hope if you decide to get your own flock someday you will enjoy it as much as I do.
Chicken Coop Plans – Free or Paid
Deciding on whether to get free plans or paid plans can be quite stressful at times. Sometime you are just not sure if the paid plans are worth it and if the free plans are good enough. Well I will tell you what I think and this is just my opinion so you can still do whatever you want afterwards.
Free Chicken Coop Plans
To start off, I think free plans are a good option for someone that knows a great deal about chickens and is a very handy person. If you built something before with a blueprint then free plans maybe a better option for you. This is especially true if you have been raising chickens for a while now and have been building coops for a couple years. The only thing about free plans is that they have a tendency to leave out some information like what type of material to use or how to best position your coop to prevent dampness and rotting. Building a chicken coop you are going to want to know how to properly ventilate your coop so ammonia and carbon dioxide does not build which could potentially kill you flock. So all in all, I would only use free plans if you’re an expert or if you did your homework and know how to proper set up a coop.
Paid Chicken Coop Plans
When I first started off, I went ahead and bought coop plans because they provided the most information about building coops. Things such as:
- Best material to use for easy cleaning,
- how to control the climate and ventilation
- how to make sure my coop did not rot
I was very new at the how raising chicken thing so this was a bargain for me because I could just read all the information at once and not searching around the internet for every little detail. I got all my information about building coops the right why from buying a while written coop plan. It helped me a lot in the long one and from the knowledge I learned from I can now build my own coops and customize them the way I like. You can also get them for pretty cheap, the one I purchased was around 30 dollars which isn’t so bad considering all the extra information you are receiving.
So what should you do? I think it is really up to you at this point. If you are an expert at building coops and have raised chickens before, I would recommend you just go with the free chicken house plans you find online. If you are completely new to owning chickens and never built a coop before, I would highly recommend you go with a paid plan that teaches you the important steps of building a coop.
Go with a coop plans that teaches you things such as the material to use to prevent rotting or how to properly ventilate your coop to prevent diseases that could kill off you chickens. If you go to the chicken coop plans page on this website I have some plans that have all that information included. I also have the one I used my first time as well. Good luck on building your coop.