Since you’re considering building a coop yourself, you can search the Web for “chicken coop building plans” and get an endless array of coop plans in different types, sizes and shapes. Look for plans that provide you with a list of required tools and materials required. Really, really good plans will even include an estimate of how much the materials will cost.
In any case, the chicken coop plans should come with clear drawings and exact dimensions. There are many good coop plans available for free, though the paid ones often lay everything out in easy-to-understand-and-implement steps. Plus, they come with useful bonuses as well.
While you’re choosing your blueprint, your chicken coop plans require some thought beyond the coop itself. Some questions you’ll need to address are:
- How is the coop going to fit onto your property?
- How is raising chickens going to fit into your life?
- How much room do you have?
- How many birds do you want?
To help answer those questions, consider the following:
Where Do You Live?
Climate – Chickens need lots of fresh air, plenty of sun, warmth when it’s cold, shade when it’s hot, a dry place when it’s rainy. You may want to elevate the coop so it remains above damp ground, or to provide extra cooling if your climate tends toward hot. Cross ventilation, even in winter, is important. As you form your chicken coop plans, think about ventilation, light, perhaps even windows. A coop can’t be just a box.
Space – Each bird needs AT LEAST three square feet of living space. If they are going to spend their whole time in the coop, with no chicken run or fenced yard, that climbs to about ten square feet each. Having adequate space can help prevent some of the worst and most-difficult-to-modify chicken behavior. Nesting boxes don’t count as living area and they should be about a square foot each, one for every three to four two or three laying hens. Also, chickens like to roost a couple of feet off the ground, so height should be considered when you make your chicken coop plans.
Who Are Your Neighbors?
Appearance – If you live on ten acres, your neighbors may not even know you have a chicken coop. If you live on two acres in suburbia, your chicken coop plans better include an attractive structure that doesn’t detract from property values and that allows you to easily keep the odor and the noise under control. (Offer your neighbors fresh eggs every week is one way to keep them happy!
Legal Requirements – Even if you’re willing to do the necessaries mentioned above, do you have the legal right to raise chickens in your area of town? Some communities, especially those that have homeowners associations, have very strict rules regarding animals, especially critters termed “livestock.” Some locales (New York City!) offer waivers for chickens. Do your homework to make sure you are allowed to raise chickens.
Have You Thought About These?
Budget – Be realistic. Your chickens are going to cost you anywhere from five to fifteen dollars apiece, maybe more. Once you figure for the chicken coop, accessories, feed, and incidentals, you’re talking anywhere from fifty to a hundred-and-fifty dollars per bird as an initial outlay. This amount is not meant to shock, it’s a caution to realize what sort of investment is required. Do your own cost analysis and maybe scale down your chicken coop plans a bit. Since you’ve decided to build your own coop, you’ll be saving quite a bit. Still, look for other ways to scale back; postpone some niceties for the future.
Return – Once the initial outlay is paid, the upkeep and feed costs per bird will dwindle to a very low monthly expense. And soon your outlay will become “inlay” as you start to gather the benefits of caring for chickens. Eventually, you’ll realize that the time of figuring out your Grade A Large Picture chicken coop plans was well worth the return you’ll get in enjoyment, as well as health, with this beneficial and rewarding pastime.
Having only “broken the surface” here, you can see there’s a lot to know about raising chickens. To get a good jump start and learn more, download my free report, “Top 7 Chicken Coop Mistakes,” at http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/.