Kits for Building Chicken Coops
A chicken coop kit can be a great way to start your little chicken farm if you are short on time or are not sure about your ability with a saw. A set of plans show you how to put the kit together, which comes with wood cut to specs, all hardware needed, etc. Some companies even include everything right down to a paintbrush.
Choosing your Kit
How large your kit is will be decided by the number of hens you plan to house. A standard 4’x4′ coop will house three to four hens of normal size. Each adult chicken needs about four square feet of space and you can figure square footage by multiplying the number of feet (four by four = 16 square feet).
Chickens also require access to exercise so they can get fresh air and sunshine. This will mean a chicken run attached to the coop.
Most kits will not include the run. Sometimes the run can be purchased separately as a kit or added yourself with some good wire and know-how.
When you purchase your chicken coop kit, pay close attention to the specifications of the coop. Sometimes, space not usable to the chickens is included as part of the kit’s measurements. Just as your home’s living space does not include measurements of bathrooms and closets, a coop’s nesting boxes and roosting spaces are not included in the chickens’ living space.
Ask about the wood used in the structure as well. Pressure treated wood that is proof against termites will often have arsenic in it. If you order a run with your chicken coop kit, make sure it won’t be made of chicken wire. Predators can often easily tear through chicken wire.
Beginning Your Project
Once your new chicken coop kit arrives, count all materials against the shippers manifest. It might seem silly, but many people forget this and find themselves halfway through a chicken coop project with missing parts.
Rather than risk high blood pressure during your hen house build, it is easier to catch the problem early and get it corrected.
Be sure you consider the chicken coop’s location in your yard carefully. A spot that is protected from the elements is important. Even portable “chicken tractors” need a place to park in bad weather.
Like all creatures, hens need some sunshine, but also a shade from the summer heat. Cold climates will require hens have protection from weather.
Make sure you’ve provided adequate protection against predators in your area. Slide bolts and simple locks are no match for a raccoon that smells chicken. Raccoons are smart and you may need to consider a padlock or other complex lock to keep them out.
Keeping chickens is a popular, growing hobby. Many people find that chickens not only pay for themselves in eggs, but are great pets too. Not only is it a lot of fun for the family, but it can become a business as well.