Chicken coops are structures that are commonly used to house chickens or hens for the purpose of laying eggs. Hen house is an alternative name used for chicken coops. Farmers or chicken owners can purchase a chicken coop or have a local contractor build them their own private hen-house on their property. People who own chickens can also construct their own coops as well. Building a sturdy and dependable chicken coop is not an easy thing to accomplish but it is possible to do. The following information will explain how to build a chicken coop without problems or hassle.
You must Plan before you Build
Planning is the most important phase of the building project. People who overlook the planning process will encounter problems when they construct their hen-house or they might be forced to tear it down if this type of unit is not permitted in their community.
The first thing that a person should do is to make sure that their chicken coup can be constructed in their community. Builders should check the official zoning codes in their area, their general city ordinance or town bylaws to ensure that a chicken coop can be constructed on their property. Again, if a person does not follow through with this very important step their homeowners association could force them to tear it down.
After a person has been given a green light on the project the next step is draw up blueprints for the chicken coop. Blueprints are essential because they will give a builder a good idea about how their hen-house structure should look once its finished. Here are some essential steps that all builders should do before they begin to build a chicken coop.
- Figure out how much available space you have on your property that can be used toward building a chicken coop.
- Figure out where you will place your chicken coop.
- Think about the features or objects in your yard that might create obstacles to building your coop. Also think about features and objects to your coop. If you have a dog, do you want your canine’s house near the chicken coop? Will you place your coop near your garden or by your kids swing set? What if you have a pool area in your yard? Do you want a chicken coop in the same vicinity as your swimming pool. You will have to take these factors into consideration before you decide to build a coop.
- Keep in mind that some communities have building regulations already in place about how a chicken coop should look. They have height and length requirements and they could also specify the number of birds that a person can house on their property. You might also be required to adhere to rules about setting up barriers against predators and providing water to the structure. Again, you will need to check with your community laws and rules on this matter before you build.
- You should also be aware that some businesses sell completed chicken coop plans. These plans will explain how to build a coop and the materials and equipment that will be needed to build the project.
A lot of information has been presented here but it was necessary for a builder to understand that the planning stage is the most important and necessary part of the building process.
Building the Coop
Keep in mind that there is no set standard for building a chicken coop. While some communities specify how big or long a coop should be, people are free to design them in whatever style that they want as long as they fall within those guidelines. This ultimately means that no two coops will be the same.
Laying a Foundation
Some chicken coops are set up on foundations and others are not. Many laws regarding the construction of chicken coops require builders to construct their units at least 2 to 3 feet off the ground. This height is necessary for preventing predators from easily harassing the chickens. Some people build their coops on wooden platforms or decks or concrete slabs. You should lay a foundation where you plan on setting up your structure especially if you plan on supporting your structure with a concrete slab.
In order to clear out a foundation you must:
- Cut out a rectangular area in your yard that is at least 2 – inches wider than the length and width of your structure. You should also dig out the dirt within that area that is at least 5 – inches deep into the ground. This is necessary for applying the concrete or other material that you will use for support.
- The next step is place wood panels along the inside perimeter of the area that you just cleared away for the structure. The wood panels or planks will be used as a guide to support the concrete. Make sure to nail them together so they will not slip when you add the other materials into the foundation hole.
- After you place the wood panels along the perimeter of the foundation hole the next step is place gravel or sand into the hole to create a subgrade. These materials are needed to support the concrete. These materials should be used to fill up 2 – inches of the foundation hole.
- Builders should then smooth out the sand or gravel as much as possible. Once that has been completed the next step is to add a vapor barrier or polyethylene plastic sheet to keep the concrete and gravel from mixing together. This barrier will also keep out moisture from seeping into the subgrade which could ultimately weaken the foundation. You can also use wire mesh or some other material for this purpose.
- After the vapor barrier has been applied on top of the subgrade you are then ready to pour on the concrete. Make sure you wear long sleeves, pants and gloves because concrete will burn your skin when it come in contact, if you do not wash it off fast enough. The next thing you must do is to pour in the concrete.
- You should multiply the length of the foundation hole by its width in order to figure out how much concrete you will need to fill the area. You can either pour concrete from a truck or a wheel barrel. Place the concrete into the foundation hole starting at the opposite edge where you need to stand and work your way through the hole until its filled.
- You will need to use a shovel, a concrete rake, a bullfloat and a screed. Each of these items will be necessary for smoothing out and evening the concrete once it is applied to the foundation hole. Concrete is a very thick and sticky substance so you will have to work fast before it sets. Many professionals state that a person will only get one chance to work to concrete. This means that a project involving this substance must be completed right the first time around otherwise it will create problems for the builder. Take your time when applying concrete to your foundation hole, but just do not go too slow.
- You can cure your concrete slab which will help to make it stronger. Allow the concrete to dry for at least 1 or 2 days depending on climate and current weather conditions.
Constructing the Chicken Coup
After you built a foundation you will need to start constructing the hen house. Start by building the frame onto the concrete slab. Start at the bottom of the frame and add wall plates that will be used to support the walls once you add them to the structure. Drill the wall plates into the concrete slab and connect them together around the perimeter area of the slab. Make sure you are assembling the wall plates according to your specific plans, otherwise your structure will turn out wrong. You should also make sure that you are building the frame for the side of the walls and for the roof of the structure as well.
Add the Walls
Once the frame has been assembled the next step is to add the walls and roofing over the structure. Walls should be nailed to the frame or builders can use powerful screws to connect them together as well. Walls that require windows should already have the spaces cut out before placing them onto the shelter.
Add Wire Mesh or Screen
Many chicken coops require the use of wire mesh or screens to keep predators out, chickens in and the air flowing through the structure. You can assemble wire mesh with an industrial sized staple gun to keep it in place or you can use gorilla glue or some other type of compound that is strong enough to bond this substance to wood. Though the latter might not be as effective. Make sure you cut the mesh or screen to size. You can do this before you build the structure or after. It just depends on what is more convenient for you.
Add a Room
Make sure that you add the roof the structure. Roofs can be built in a variety of ways and materials but essentially they all must have a frame, they must have a covering placed over the frame and then you can add tiles over a covering if that is the type of design that you desire to use. Remember, that all chicken coops are not the same.
This is a basic guideline that people can use to construct their chicken coop. Make sure to make adjustments during the building process. You might be required to alter your plans or to cut building materials during the course of the building process. Again, make sure that you stick with your building plans while you are framing the structure.
If you do not stick to your plans, your structure could turn out completely wrong. Measure while you build to ensure you are getting the right dimensions and use high quality materials (within your budget) for your project. Try and make sure you have the all the equipment that you will need before you start this procedure. Good luck and happy building.