Build a Chicken Coop: Location, Size and Equipment

If you want to keep chickens, you need a species-appropriate chicken coop in addition to a run in which the poultry feel comfortable all around. The chicken house should be in a dry, sheltered, and sunny place. The following guide will provide you with valuable tips for building a chicken coop.

Where Should the Chicken Coop Be Best?

Before you build a hen house with a run, you have to think carefully about the best location in the garden or yard. A perfect place for a chicken coop meets the following criteria:

  • Since chickens need a lot of light, the house should be set up with the windows facing south or southeast.
  • Chickens cannot tolerate drafts. A sheltered location is, therefore, an advantage.
  • The location should be dry.
  • Trees and/or bushes provide shade for the exercise area and the chicken coop in summer.

Whether you build the chicken house on a level surface, on a slope, directly on the ground, or on stilts, is a question of the local conditions and the chickens do not care. Make sure you build a winterproof chicken coop because chickens are outside all year round. The location should therefore also meet the criteria in the icy season.

If you are looking for a flexible solution, you can build a mobile chicken coop yourself. The chicken house on wheels can be moved depending on the season and offers your animals optimal conditions all year round.

How Big Does a Chicken Coop Have to Be?

The size of the house is an important prerequisite for keeping the chickens in a species-appropriate manner. A stable area of at least 2.5m2 is required. The stable should be 2 m high and accessible via a door. This makes cleaning the facility, mucking out, and looking after the animals easier. You shouldn’t keep more than three chickens per square meter of house space. If there is no run, the poultry needs at least twice as much space.

Building a Chicken Coop – Tips for Interior Design

When designing the interior of the barn, you should keep two aspects in mind: the comfort of the chickens and the keeper. The chicken coop should not only be species-appropriate but also make caring for the animals as easy as possible for you.

How Does the Chicken Coop Have to Be Equipped?

The chicken house is a place to sleep, a hatchery, a feeding place, and, in bad weather, also a place to stay for the chickens. In order for them to meet all of their needs, you should build the chicken coop interior so that it is designed with the following elements:

  • Perches at the same height: ideally, each chicken has about 25 cm of space on the perch.
  • Place the perches at least one meter high. The distance to the walls must be approx. 35 to 40 cm so that the hens have enough space.
  • Dung boards under the perches: This device protects the floor from dirt and prevents the scratching areas from being contaminated.
  • Laying nests: Not every chicken needs its own nest, because two to a maximum of five hens often share their resting places. The minimum dimensions for the laying nests are 30 x 30 x 30 cm and are placed in such a way that they are not exposed to direct sunlight. They should be installed next to each other at a height (between 80 and 100 cm from the floor).
  • Food and water bowls or dispensers for chickens: which feed and drinking system you choose depends on your circumstances. It is important that your poultry always have a fresh and clean feed and water available.
  • Sand bath: By rolling in the sand, chickens clean their plumage and rid it of mites. A vegetable box filled with quartz or play sand or a similar container with a rim can serve as a sand bath.

Most DIY chicken coops are made out of wood. When choosing the chicken coop kit or wood, consider that the floor, walls, and ceiling are easy to clean – especially if you are building a chicken coop out of pallets. The wood should also not offer any space for vermin to nest. In particular, the inner walls of the barn should be built from materials with a smooth, waterproof surface without cracks. These are easy to clean, which can also prevent mite infestation.

The Light Factor – Windows and Lighting

Light is very important for the welfare and laying performance of chickens, especially in winter. If the sun is rare in the cold season, it is advisable to install an artificial light source in the chicken coop. The lights should come on at the same time each day so that the biorhythm of the chickens does not get mixed up. A timer is therefore recommended. If the stable is well insulated, heating is usually not necessary.

In summer, on the other hand, large windows ensure sufficient sunlight. However, part of the barn should be in the shade so that the chickens can retreat there.

The more detailed and well-thought-out your planning, the more species-appropriate the keeping of the chickens and the care of the barn in the long term. So it’s worth investing a little time and money in the chicken house!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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