Small Chicken Coop Plans or Chicken Coop blueprints are readily available in DIY books and on the internet. Many plans are sold online and can be easily downloaded in PDF format so that you do not not have to wait for your plans to arrive by mail. By downloading them you get instant access and can start building right away. Our four favourite programs are listed below, if you need more information on each one they can be found here.
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IImportant Tips For Building A Chicken Coop
If you have decided not to buy a prefabricated ark but would rather learn how to build one yourself, there are a number of things that you should take into consideration before you rush out to source or purchase the plans.
Before you build your chicken house or start to keep chickens please make sure that you check with your municipality or town hall to ensure that it is legal for you to do so. I also recommend that you let you neighbours know so that you can address any concerns that they might have.
What Size Coop?
The word small is relative, what is small to a farmer with several acres might be a model and run that is perfect for forty or fifty chickens. I am assuming however that you are looking for something in which to keep between 2 and 6 chickens. Just a reminder that chickens like company so always keep at least two. Try to provide your chickens with minimum of 4 square feet each if they are medium sized hens, more space is of course better. If you are thinking of keeping bantams then I think a bit less than that is OK.
The type of hen house you want will depend upon the number of chickens you want to keep as well as the space you have available. If you have a limited garden area we suggest a portable model, if you have a much larger area in which to keep your chickens then you can of course build a more permanent house and run. A very important consideration is drainage. Make sure that your chicken house and pen is in an area that is well drained. Wet and muddy ground is not conducive for happy and healthy chickens.
Lighting is important to chickens. Try to position the coop in an area that does get some sun for part of the day. This will help to keep the house and nesting boxes dry. If you have really hot summers, then an area that provides some shade for the birds is also very important. If you have cold and damp winters then it is important to provide some artificial light which can also double as a heat lamp. You can also use infrared lamps. Just ensure that the lamp is properly installed.
Good ventilation is really important if you want to keep your chickens healthy. Good plans will take this into consideration. If you live in a windy area then you will want to ensure that your chickens get fresh air but not blasts of wind. You also want to make sure that the ventilation spaces are not large enough for small predators to get at your hens.
Comfortable and easily accessible nesting boxes are important. You want to provide your hens with enough room to comfortably lay their eggs, but they also need to feel secure as well. Having a few inches of space around them in the box will give them enough room to move around and settle down in, but will also help them to feel protected. Having a perch area available is also something that is important to them.
Easy to Clean
When you build your unit, I suggest that you use plans which are designed so that it can esily be cleaned. Easy access to the nesting boxes and to the rest of the coop is very important. the nesting material will need to be changed regularly. The droppings on the floor also have to be cleaned out on a regular basis as well. The easier it is for you to get into the hen house part itself the cleaner you will be able to keep it. A clean hen house will help to keep down the number of lice, mites and pests.
When you build your coop, take some time to consider what kinds of predators are likely to take an interest in your chickens. In the United Kingdom foxes and weasels can be a very troublesome predator. Where I live in Canada, the odd coyote and raccoon are the biggest concern. If you have predators that can climb or dig, take special precautions to prevent them from getting into the run. Wire mesh over the top will stop climbers. If you have “hunters” that dig, try a wire mesh skirt around the run held in place with paving stones. This is a particularly convenient way to give added protection to a chicken tractor.
There are several different resources for small plans. I particularly like some of the ones that are available online and that can be easily and instantly downloaded to your computer. Most of these are very reasonably priced. The problem is which one should you buy. Below are our favourite plans and blueprints.