I've been promising a friend to write a post about chicken coops for about a year now. (This one's for you, Sophie!) Since it took me so long to get around to it, I figure I actually owe her an entire series of posts. So, I'm putting together a series on animal shelters (coops, sheds and such) with tips on building them.
I'll post a step-by-step later in the week, but to kick things off, I asked one of my chicken friends to say a few words about her chicken coops because, well, I kinda have coop envy.
"Mamabear" Amy is one of the warmest, kindest people I know. She's always quick with a smile and a helping hand. Mamabear and I first met through a chicken group on Facebook and we've been friends ever since. She's here to say a few words about her chicken venture and those fantastic coops she built!
I was asked by Heather to say a little something about the coops I've put together. I'll do my best to truly make it "a little". Before I start, I want you ALL to realize I am by NO means an expert at raising chickens or building ANYTHING. I'm so NOT either but I do my best. With that said, here goes nothing....
I started with 30 tiny chicks late April 2012, knowing absolutely NOTHING about chickens or raising them. They grew quickly. WHO KNEW?! I had to quickly slap something together for these ever growing things...NOT A GOOD IDEA, truly.
This is what I've learned thus far: ALWAYS make your coop/shelter for your chickens BIGGER than you THINK you need. Apparently, ideally, one chicken should have 4 sq ft of space (I learned AFTER slapping my first "coop" together).
Secondly, have something for the chickens to roost on, be branches, left over lumber, old wooden ladder...so on, whatever your mind can think of.
Make sure to have roughly 12" of space for each bird. Next, have a nesting area for your hens, where they feel safe, BUT be aware, regardless how cozy and safe it looks to YOU, don't be too surprised if they decide to lay outside in the middle of the chicken yard, hide eggs behind hay bales or under bushes.
Other things to consider when making/buying housing for your chickens, is their entrance and YOUR entrance(to clean, collect eggs, or just sit with them), the type of bedding( I personally have found the Deep Litter Method has worked best for me), what kind of flooring(cement, wood, dirt) and are you going to free range or have a chicken yard/pen.
Being the self professed CHEAPSKATE, tightwad, stingy person...and so on, I like to reuse whatever I can get my hands on. I have been fortunate enough to get most of materials for FREE.
Alright, with that all said, here are just some of my coops I have either built, reused what I had or was given. I hope this helps give you some ideas. Remember, there is NO limit to what one can do, research your wants/needs and always always, HAVE FUN!