The perfect addition to a rural home is the chicken house. If you like the idea of raising a few chicken or ducks and collecting your own fresh eggs everyday then why not build your own coop? Chicken houses are available from many stores and specialist fowl retailers but building your own does not call for very advanced DIY skills. So long as you are competent with a hammer and a saw you should be able to construct your own simple chicken house without too much fuss.
The key to a successful design is having some knowledge about how the birds will use their home. By keeping your chicken house practical, even if you go for a stylised design, the birds will like it and be happy to produce eggs. Principally, a coop is there to provide some protection for your flock rather than keep them hemmed in. It should stop predators getting in, provide an area to exercise, offer shelter from the sun and the rain and afford warmth at night, in a roosting area.
Knocking up a chicken coop from recycled material is relatively easy. So long as you make a frame for your chicken house that sits neatly on the ground, so that predators cannot get in and the hens cannot get out, unless you want them to, you are half way there. As such, designating a space for your coop that is on flat ground can be helpful.
A concrete base will prevent predators from digging underneath the walls. If this is not possible, build your house on wooden stilts, from recycled lumber, so that the hens are off the ground at night time when they are in the house. Simple plywood is good for the walls of the house with old chicken wire for the run. Add a door to let the livestock in and out. A quick paint job will protect your chicken house from wet weather.
Make sure that there is a good sized run for the chickens to use during the day time. Removable panels are ideal so that you can gain access to clean. Chickens don’t like too much heat, so a cover that can provide shade over the run is a good idea. Ensure there is enough space in the run for the number of chickens you have. This varies depending on the breed, so consult an expert, but six square feet per chicken is a good rule of thumb. For the inside of the house, where the chickens will roost each night, ensure you have plenty of ventilation. Install vents in the side and the roof to ensure airflow since this will prevent diseases from being passed from one bird to another.
Once you have the basics of a chicken coop design, it is time to mull over more aesthetic considerations. A chicken or duck house should complement the rest of a garden’s design and fit in with it. Designing your house so that is has a similar look to the main residence is a good idea. A chicken house that sits next to an out building, constructed in the same material, is another good approach. Converting an old child’s play house will give you another design look that is more aesthetically pleasing than a simple chicken wire frame.
Moveable Chicken Houses.
If you have sufficiently large grounds, a coop that can be moved around is a real bonus. If your chicken house is mounted on a wheel, or casters, it can make it easier to shift about. This will allow ground under the chicken run to recover from its use and afford the birds a change of scene, which can keep the happier. Even if the roost is not moveable, because of its size, a transportable pen is great to use during the day.