To make a chicken coop, it is enough to have minimal construction skills and a little desire. Creating a chicken coop with your own hands is not an overwhelming task, and if you treat the matter with maximum responsibility, the result will exceed any expectations.
Basic requirements and conditions
Before starting construction, it is important to familiarize yourself with the key conditions and requirements:
- Hens are birds. So, they can fly at least a little. In this regard, it is important to provide a minimum fence (about 2 meters), and best of all - to equip the roof.
- Chickens are hunted. Stray dogs, foxes, ferrets, martens, and even rats are potential chicken exterminators. The structure of the building should protect the birds from any intruders.
One ferret can destroy a family of 20 hens in a night. Therefore, barrage devices should not only be of high quality, but also as practical as possible. A good solid wooden fence or a fence from corrugated board will serve as good protection. Additionally, you can get a fence from the net, along which you need to plant a live dense hedge of tall bushes. Such an obstacle will protect birds not only from animals, but also from people.
- Shrubs. The presence of tall bushes along the makeshift chicken coop will protect the birds from sunlight and wind. Chickens love the shade in hot weather and do not mind eating leaves and insects that breed among last year's foliage under the plants. Thanks to the presence of insects and worms, the diet of chickens will expand, which is an additional plus.
- Purity. Where there are chickens, there is litter. The chicken coop should be created in such a way that it is easy to clean (folding walls / doors, the extendable bottom of the chicken coop, etc.). To prevent people from suffocating from these smells, it is recommended to build a chicken coop extremely remotely from residential buildings.
- Separately, ventilation should be mentioned: if there is no influx of fresh air, the chickens will die in a matter of days. But the ventilation protection should be at its best - predators are able to climb for prey anywhere.
- Winter season. If hens are kept in the premises year-round, then at the time of designing the chicken coop, serious waterproofing should be provided. Winter is ice, and ice is water, which means there will be increased dampness, which chickens fear at an instinctive level. Consequently, their productivity and egg production will decrease significantly . In addition, insulate the chicken coop and take care of the exclusion of drafts (wind gusts occur more often in winter).
- Necessary area and density. The design of the chicken coop should be based on the calculation of 1 square. m for 4 adults (15 chickens). However, if hens are not kept for breeding, but for the sake of eggs, then per 1 sq. Km. m should be no more than 2 individuals.
If a small chicken coop is being created, its minimum area should be at least 3 square meters. m
For a home-made chicken coop for 20 chickens (19 layers, 1 rooster), dimensions 2.5 x 6 m, that is, a total area of 15 square meters, are suitable. m. If the chicken coop is needed for 10 hens, then the size can be significantly reduced: 2.5 meters in width and 3 meters in length - the most optimal option.
For a large number of chickens, you can slightly reduce the total area of the chicken coop. The fact is that hens will fight for a "place in the sun", straying into small groups. This allows you to reduce the area, but only slightly, otherwise the chicken will begin to conflict, pecking the weaker.
Near the chicken coop there must be a cage for walking, with dimensions of at least 3 x 3 m. It is best that there are 2 square meters in the walking yard. m free space for 1 adult.
In order for the chicken coop to be as comfortable as possible for birds, it is necessary to provide shading, safety from predators and protection from the sun / wind. These are ideal conditions for keeping chickens in a makeshift chicken coop.
Before the very process of building a chicken coop, you should carefully consider every aspect of the actions and requirements. To start, design the future structure and determine the materials, location, shape and type of the chicken coop.
Determining the required area of the structure is key when drawing up a construction plan. Not only the chicken coop itself is taken into account, but also the area for walking the hens.
When developing a project, pay attention to the following points:
[tw_list no = "1 ″] Location of the structure [/ tw_list]
The place should in no case be in a lowland. There are many reasons for this:
- after rains, water will accumulate there;
- the place itself will always be damp and slowly dry (atmospheric moisture is concentrated there);
- in the lowland the morning fog lasts the longest, etc.
It is most reasonable to place the structure on a small hill.
[tw_list no = "2 ″] Coop area [/ tw_list]
Sizes are calculated individually. For every 5 laying hens, a minimum of 3 square meters should be allocated. m. Only in such conditions will the normal coexistence and development of individuals be ensured. That is, the total size of the chicken coop for 5 hens under these requirements will be equal to 1.5 x 2 m (excluding a walking yard).
If a chicken coop is being built for only 2-3 chickens, then the site may be even smaller. Premises in 1 square. m will be more than enough.
A platform for walking chickens should also be created taking into account the number of individuals. For the already mentioned 5 chickens, about 6-7 square meters are allocated. m of space for walking. The more mobile the way of life of chickens, the higher their egg production rate will be.
[tw_list no = "3 ″] Protection of a place for walking [/ tw_list]
For a walking area, wind protection should be provided. Ideally, the canopy installed above the aviary will cope with this task, which will also protect chickens from sunlight, rain and predators.
[tw_list no = "4 ″] Location Features [/ tw_list]
The coop is strictly recommended to be installed on a hill. You can create it using an embankment of layers of sand and gravel of medium fraction. In addition to the announced benefits of such an arrangement, this will also be an obstacle for predators. An additional protection will be laying a layer of clay mixed with broken glass on top of the embankment.
[tw_list no = "5 ″] Ceiling and windows [/ tw_list]
Windows or doors are natural daylight. A smart solution would be a glazed door, but you need to install all this on the southeast side of the chicken coop - from this side the sun will illuminate the building for the longest time.
If the window is separate from the door, it must be installed at a height of 1.1-1.2 m from the floor, and the size should not be less than 50 x 50 cm. The ceiling rises to a height of 2-2.2 m, so that there is a large amount of air space for chickens.
[tw_list no = "6 ″] Remote sockets [/ tw_list]
It is more reasonable to install extensions for nests outside the chicken coop so that they go beyond it and have a size of 40 x 40 cm (minimum). The lid should be easy to lift - so you don’t have to go inside the chicken house to pick up the eggs.
Chicken Coop Selection
To build a good building, you must be responsible for choosing a chicken coop. This process depends on the following factors:
[tw_list no = "1 ″] Breed of chickens [/ tw_list]
All hens are divided into 2 large groups: laying hens and meat. For layers, space, light, fresh air and the possibility of walking are important. Under such conditions, they will carry many eggs almost year-round.
But the meat breeds should be kept as closely as possible so that they could not once again walk around the chicken coop and lose weight. Such breeds are contained only during the warm season, which means that it will not be necessary to heat the chicken coop.
[tw_list no = "2 ″] Type of walking [/ tw_list]
Walking area can also be of two types: open and closed. What has already been mentioned is closed areas. They are good if the chicken coop itself is located in close proximity to the forest or fields. That is, where there is a danger of attack by predators.
With an open walk, the hen leaves the chicken coop and walks over a large area, pecking fresh grass. This will positively affect their comfort, but there is a risk of catching the disease or suffering from weasels, rodents and other predatory animals.
The choice of the chicken coop also depends on this, since the absence of a closed walk freezes the hands when creating a building. And its need, on the contrary, makes it more compact to design the future structure.
[tw_list no = "3 ″] Stock of chickens [/ tw_list]
The more chickens, the larger the chicken coop will be needed. Specialists in breeding and keeping chickens are advised to allocate 3 square meters for 5 chickens. m places. Accordingly, with the increase in the number of individuals, the size of the structure should also increase. Particular attention should be paid to this, since it is possible to remodel the roof or walls, but expanding the total area will be extremely problematic.
Each poultry breeder should remember that you never need to completely copy a finished chicken coop project, even if it is executed flawlessly. If you forget about at least one individual, but important factor, then the negative consequences will be significant.
Materials and Tools
As materials for a homemade chicken coop you will need:
- foam blocks;
- old window frames;
- crushed stone;
- cinder blocks or shell rocks.
Foam blocks are the best choice during construction due to ease of installation. They also retain heat very well, but their cost is significantly higher than other materials.
The most economical option would be the construction of a chicken coop made of wood. Moreover, the wooden structure with its appearance will fit perfectly into the countryside. Wooden chicken coops are extremely environmentally friendly.
Perches should be processed by grinding devices. Also, all wooden parts are treated with impregnations from fire, insects, mold and decay. To do this, use exclusively environmentally friendly liquids.
For the construction of the walls of the chicken coop, you can use a brick or cinder block. These materials will cost several times cheaper than foam blocks, and their strength and durability are quite satisfactory. The only negative is that the brick coop needs to provide additional insulation.
As for the roof, it can be made of:
- corrugated board;
- metal tiles.
Both for the chicken coop itself and for the chickens, the material of which the roof is made is absolutely unprincipled. Therefore, the most economical option should be selected, which will provide heat and not allow moisture to pass through. And for roof insulation you will need a roll insulation or expanded clay.
When building a chicken coop, you will need the most standard set of tools:
- nails / screws;
- Master OK;
All of the above are the main tools that are sure to come in handy. However, it is impossible to say with certainty whether all of this is enough, since each structure is built according to individual requests, drawings and requirements.
As additional materials may come in handy:
- construction rods;
- beams or boards for perches;
- lime for wall treatment;
- polystyrene and sawdust as a heater;
- roofing material for the foundation and roof;
- duct for ventilation;
- drawers for nests;
- nageli (wooden nails).
The requirements and conditions for the location of the chicken coop were detailed in detail earlier:
- on a hill;
- in a quiet and peaceful place;
- far from the road (literally as far as possible from the roadway);
- at a distance of over 3 meters from residential buildings.
Silence is very important for any chicken coop. Can a chicken efficiently hatch eggs with constant noise? Of course no. And no sound insulation will help, so during the preliminary preparation, choose a quiet place.
Step-by-step instructions for building a chicken coop
The first step is to draw up a drawing of the future chicken coop. Here is the structure for 10 goals:
The creation of the foundation under the chicken coop should be taken as responsibly as possible:
[tw_list no = "1 ″] Layout [/ tw_list]
On the site selected for construction, a zone under the foundation is marked. At the corners of the marking, steel rods are pounded into the ground, connected to each other by a rope. Measurements are made of the length of the sides and the diagonal between the corners, which will help to verify the correct layout.
Each of the corners should be straight, and the opposite sides and diagonals should be perfectly even. If everything matches, you should drive in the pegs that are the centers of the future pillars. The distance between the pegs is 1 meter.
[tw_list no = "2 ″] Digging a hole [/ tw_list]
A pit 50 cm deep is dug along a given perimeter. Sand is stamped on the bottom with a pillow. The larger it is, the better. Do not use dry sand, only wet.
[tw_list no = "3 ″] Concrete mortar [/ tw_list]
To prepare the solution, you need to divide it into 7 parts and add materials in certain proportions:
- crushed stone - 3 parts;
- sand - 2 parts;
- cement - 1 part;
- all this is mixed with water - 1 part.
The mixture is poured into the pit at ground level, leveled and left to dry for a couple of days (about 3 days).
[tw_list no = "4 ″] Upgrade [/ tw_list]
After the concrete has dried, you need to build up the columns with cement and bricks (20-30 cm high). The width of the pillars is determined individually, but for a distance of 50 cm, 2 bricks for each row will be enough. Evenness should be controlled by level (spirit level).
[tw_list no = "5 ″] Bookmark layer [/ tw_list]
After the foundation is finally laid, it will need to be covered with a waterproofing agent (for example, roofing material), on which the first row of the beam is placed. For a more durable connection in the corners are cuts. On this foundation can be considered ready.
Chicken coop walls
Once the foundation is ready, you should choose the material to create the walls. It would be wise to use wood, as has been noticed. But you can give preference to any other material that will also perform its functions well and meet key conditions.
First, 4 load-bearing beams are installed. They are mounted on the bars in the foundation with the help of separate ground beams with a cross section of 10 cm, the angle of which should be 45 degrees relative to the walls and floor.
The beams of the frame should be connected by bars and strengthened in the way mentioned.
The outer and inner parts of the chicken coop are covered with chipboard, fiberboard, plywood and boards, taking into account the space reserved for lighting and ventilation. Between the layers, you should lay some kind of insulation, for example, mineral wool. During upholstery, it is critical to eliminate any crevices and bumps so that the chicken coop is as airtight as possible.
After all the actions, the boards are processed with a special solution. In stores of the corresponding direction there is a fairly extensive selection of these products (for example, MDS mineral sealing solution).
Roof, ceiling and floor
Creating a roof begins with laying the ceiling beams on the supporting beams. Their distance from each other should be no more than 1 m. For this purpose, a beam with a section of 15 x 10 cm, which fits on the edge, is used. Immediately after that, they need to be covered with transverse boards and insulation.
The roof structure is recommended to create a gable. This will provide guaranteed protection against precipitation, even very strong.
When creating a gable roof:
- Take care of another vertical type of beams right in the center of the short side of the structure.
- Attach rafter holders to them. The angle should be 50 degrees and 35 degrees to create a slope for precipitation.
- Rafters are stacked on holders on each side.
- For roof equipment, you can use slate or similar material.
Floor laying is completely identical to the ceiling. The only difference is the use of a square beam with a cross section of 15 cm.
Further, it is recommended to lay a rubber coating on the floor (for tightness), which will prevent the formation of mold and the appearance of other infections.
Next, floorboards are laid, fastened to the bars with screws or nails (20-35 mm long). All cracks in the floor and near the walls are coated with a sealed solution, completely safe for chickens.
It may also be necessary to lay a heat-insulating layer in the floor so that in the winter season the heat of the chicken coop does not go into the ground. From the cold, chickens are much more likely to get foot arthritis and other colds.
Good ventilation will help control the temperature and humidity, however, in order to carry it out correctly, you need to determine the type of hood.
If the chicken coop is not designed for keeping chickens on an industrial scale, natural supply and exhaust ventilation is excellent:
- 2 pipes with a diameter of 19-22 cm and a length of 190-210 cm are needed.
- 2 holes are made in the roof. The air exhaust pipe must be placed above the perches. And the incoming, through which the street air will flow, is as far as possible from the hens.
- The exhaust pipe is installed much higher than the roof, somewhere by 1.5 m. Only a small part of it should remain inside the chicken coop - not more than 30 cm.
- The supply pipe is installed completely the opposite: most of it will be in the room, not more than 30 cm from the floor.
The principle of operation of such ventilation is comparable to “communicating vessels”, which are known from school physics lessons. Only instead of water is air, and as a result - high-quality and natural ventilation of the premises.
More serious ventilation methods are used only on large farms and are inappropriate when arranging a home-made chicken coop. The reason is the need to buy expensive fans with high energy consumption.
When growing meat breeds (broilers), the internal arrangement is not as important as for laying hens. Providing daylight, warming and competently made perches are the key goal of the chicken coop for the latter.
Agronomists recommend maintaining normal lighting in the chicken coop for at least 8-10 hours a day. If the daylight hours for chickens are provided for 11-12 hours, the number of eggs laid can be increased up to 25-30%.
The most relevant is the use of additional lighting, from November to March.
To save on electricity in the winter, you need to provide normal windows with shutters that are closed outside.
To illuminate the chicken coop, it is permissible to use various good lamps:
- luminescent (40 W);
- electric incandescent lamps (40-60 W);
- energy saving (15 W);
- LED (of various capacities, depending on needs).
One 60 W incandescent lamp can illuminate 6 square meters. m of the chicken coop (when placed at a height of 2 m from the floor). Thus, a good level of illumination is achieved (20 lux).
Inside the chicken coop there should never be a temperature below +15 degrees. If you do not comply with this requirement, chickens will begin to consume food twice as much, and the ability to carry eggs will drop sharply.
The stated condition applies to all common chicken breeds. However, some can relatively comfortably exist even at lower temperatures (for example, Kokhinhin or Brahma due to the dense lush plumage).
To maintain an adequate temperature in the chicken coop, the following conditions must be observed:
- capital walls with a minimum thickness of 15-20 cm (for winter chicken coops);
- external wall insulation;
- roof insulation;
- insulation of floors (concrete) or the use of wooden floors;
- take care of the absence of holes, crevices and rat passages;
- carry out the sealing of the chicken coop with absolute protection against drafts (for ventilation during the day it is worth taking care of the opening windows);
- have equipment for heating the premises during frosts.
To provide additional insulation, you can follow these recommendations:
- Place small stoves in the chicken coop, the chimney of which is brought out. Not the safest, but still effective option.
- Heat the room with fan heaters or electric radiators. The latter should be included during severe frosts or at night. The rest of the time they should be turned off (saving energy and increasing the life of the devices).
- It is also possible to heat with a furnace with a water boiler and a heating element (tubular electric heater). During frosts, the stove is heated with wood. Heated water from the furnace is supplied to heating radiators, which are located along the walls of the structure. Additionally, water can be heated by the aforementioned heating elements (up to 1.5 kW). Thus, during the day the stove runs on wood, and at night the heater turns on.
- You can also heat the chicken coop with infrared lamps. They emit soft and not too bright light, which will be comfortable for chickens.
An important condition is the installation of lamps so that they are out of the reach of birds. A fire in a small and wooden structure is dangerous not only for chickens, but also for people.
Perches are the most important place in the whole chicken coop. The chicken will spend the most time on them. Chickens sleep and rest on roosts, so the quality of these places should be impeccable:
- for 1 individual, 25 cm of the entire beam is provided (if there are more than 20 individuals, then the total length of perches should not be less than 5 m);
- perches are set by a ladder or completely horizontally (but in no case one above the other: the upper ones will dirty the lower ones);
- it is necessary to determine the place in the chicken coop - where it will be the easiest to clean up, there should be perches, because the main droppings will accumulate under them;
- beam width should be 3-5 cm;
- all faces are processed with a planer so that the chickens are comfortable and safe.
There should be nests in the chicken coop where the hens will hatch eggs. Nests can be budget: from an old basin covered with straw. But if the chicken coop is created with your own hands from scratch, then it is important to take care of the nests as responsibly as the entire structure as a whole:
- 4 nests need 1 nest (at least), that is, 5 nests or more are made for 20 individuals;
- at the exit from the nest, a high threshold is set: hens are not the most graceful animals and can easily roll an egg out of the nest;
- nests are allowed to be installed above the perches, so that the hens get there through them (no approach is necessary);
- when installing the nests separately from the perches (at least 40-50 cm from the floor), it is worth taking care of poles that provide the chickens with a convenient approach;
- lamps must be turned away from the nests - chickens like to lay eggs in a dark and quiet place;
- separate feeders and water should be installed for hatched egg laying hens next to the nests.
If the chicken coop area allows, you can install a small ash bath next to the nests. Chickens will use it to clean feathers and get rid of parasites, which, in turn, will increase their comfort and egg production.
The arrangement of feeders and drinking bowls is best organized around the perimeter of the chicken coop, so that there is more space for walking. Using ordinary bowls is also impractical.
It would be wiser to put together feeders from a tree or install a regular pipe with holes through which the chickens will peck the feed. Drinking bowls can be made of plastic bottles, drainpipes (by the same principle as with feeders), plastic buckets, etc.
If you can come up with many options with feeders, then with drinking bowls it is more difficult. This video shows a way to make a semi-automatic drinking bowl for chickens from a regular pipe:
DIY do-it-yourself chicken coop
If you wish, you can make a home-made chicken coop "on wheels." It has many advantages over stationary and only a few disadvantages. The most important of them is a small number of chickens that can be settled there.
The construction is created almost identical to the usual chicken coop, but much smaller and without the use of heavy materials:
- First, a drawing of a mobile chicken coop is made. If you start the creation right away, you can miss the key details, and the structure will collapse at the first load.
- Coop Formation:
- 2 triangular frames are created from a bar with a section of 2 x 4 cm;
- are connected with the help of cut boards (with handles to move the structure);
- side walls are made of slats with a section of 1.3 x 3 cm;
- a mesh is stretched between the walls;
- the overlap between the tiers can be arranged with plywood (a hole for chickens is created in it, where the staircase will be brought);
- one of the side walls should be removable (entrance to the chicken coop);
- the second wall is created from the lining.
- The lower tier is divided. The third part of the entire area is equipped with perches, and the rest is a space for birds to rest.
- The manufacture of the roof. It is made of plywood sheets so that at high temperature the lid can be lifted for ventilation.
A small part of the roof should be completely removable. This will allow you to easily clean the chicken coop if necessary.
- Final processing. The external part of the structure is treated with varnish. Thanks to its use, it will be possible to protect the wood from insects and excess moisture.
- Interior decoration. In a mobile chicken coop, the most important thing, in addition to perches and nests, is to organize lighting and ventilation. Access to sunlight can be provided through windows or using lamps, and for ventilation a conventional window will fit.
All other parts and devices are created completely identical to the previously mentioned scheme.
- Base. Due to the constant movement of the structure, there is no need to take care of the foundation, a simple but strong wooden floor will be enough.
Under it, however, you can organize metal beams and attach wheels. This eliminates the need to move the structure on hand.
If you treat the creation of the chicken coop extremely responsibly and use high-quality materials, then the chickens will feel comfortable, the main thing is to choose the best option. And this translates into good egg production and other benefits.