10 Simple Tips To Help You Build A Better Chicken Coup

how to build a chicken coop

Raising backyard chickens is one of the most exciting things you'll ever do, and it's been increasing in popularity over the years. Not only will you have access to all the delicious eggs you want, but you'll also fall in love with your little pets.

Before you can get started you'll need to find out how to build a better chicken coop than any others you've come across, so we're going to look at 10 simple tips to get you started.

Follow all of the advice and you'll end up with an amazing coop that will look great in your garden.

1) Your Flock Must Have Shade

Your flock must have shade

You wouldn't appreciate being trapped outside in the height of summer without anywhere to go for refuge, so when you're deciding where to put your chicken coop you must take this into consideration.

If you have a tree in your garden it will offer your flock shade when it's too hot, but it will also benefit them in winter as the sunlight will be able to creep through the branches.

How To Do It:

  • Build your chicken coop near one of your trees
  • Buy a few trees if you don't have one already
  • Trim the branches in winter to let sunlight through

2) Raise Your Coop Off The Ground

raise your coop

We've already tackled the summer heat, and now we're going to look at another way to keep your flock as comfortable as possible.

You don't want them to have damp feet every time it rains, so you must raise your chicken coop a few feet off the ground to stop any water from getting in.

You'll also need to build a ramp to allow your chickens to enter and exit the coop as easily as possible.

How To Do It:

  • Use timber or bricks to raise the chicken coop off the ground
  • ​Make sure it's sitting at least 2-3 feet above ground level
  • Build a low-angled ramp to allow your chickens easy access
  • Don't build your run on a slope where the water will sit

3) Light Up The Inside Of Your Coop

using a brooder light

Can you imagine spending most of your life in the dark?

Of course you can't, and that is why we have lights.

But hanging a light inside your chicken coop will also ensure they keep producing eggs, as production will shut down if they're trapped in darkness.

If you want to make sure you keep enjoying eggs for breakfast during winter, brightening up the coop is a necessity.

How To Do It:

  • Hang your light well above the flock's heads
  • Make sure the light won't come into contact with water
  • Warm, soft bulbs are required for continual laying

4) Ensure Your Coop is Comfortable

ensure your coop is comfortable

If you want your chickens to provide you with lots of eggs, you need to make sure they're as comfortable as possible.

They will also need a place to sleep, which can be accomplished quite easily by installing a few wooden rods.

Maybe it's not your ideal level of comfort, but your flock will appreciate it and they'll repay you with lots of delicious eggs.

How To Do It:

  • Install wooden rods inside the coop for the chickens to sleep on
  • Hang wicker baskets filled with straw where they can lay their eggs
  • Make sure your chickens have easy access to everything
  • Lay straw on the ground so they're not always walking on a hard surface

5) Is Your Coop Predator Proof?

predator proof chicken coop

Some animals are going to see your chickens as easy prey, and they won't hesitate to attack them if given the opportunity. This will kill off your supply of eggs, but your chickens will also feel like pets and you won't want any harm to come to them.

To stop this from happening you need to turn your coop into a predator-proof fortress.

How To Do It:

  • Use a steel bolt for your coop door
  • Lock your chickens in at night
  • Check for any other possible entry points

6) Provide A Safe Place To Play Around Outside

play with your chicks

​Throughout the day your chickens will want to play around, but this can cause problems if you don't keep them trapped inside an enclosed space.

We've already talked about how easily your chickens can be taken out by predators, plus you don't want them ruining your beautiful garden you've worked so hard to create.

Also, if you're introducing new chickens, it is important for them to socialize, and you need to make sure it's in a safe environment.

The easiest solution is to build a screened-in run with plenty of space.

How To Do It:

  • Your run must be large enough to accommodate the size of your flock
  • ​​Use wire fencing to allow sunlight in while keeping predators out
  • Build it onto the side of your coop so your chickens can always go back inside
  • Don't forget it must have a roof to stop anything from getting in

7) Your Chicken Coop Must Have Vents

chicken coop ventilation

​Breathing in the same air all the time isn't going to do your chickens any favors, so you must allow the air inside your coop to circulate or else it could damage their health.

Your chickens will stay as healthy as possible if you build vents into your coop, and it's as easy as installing some wire mesh that will give them all the fresh air they need.

How To Do It:

  • The vents must be high enough to prevent your flock from enduring uncomfortable drafts
  • Build a slanted coop roof and you can use wire mesh to plug in the gaps
  • The wire mesh shouldn't have big enough gaps to let anything except air inside

8) Easy Access = An Easy Life (For You)

easy access into coop

Looking after chickens is hard work, so don't expect them to get on with their lives while you completely ignore them. Just like any other animals, they'll need to be given fresh water and food on a daily basis.

If you'd like to know how you can keep chicken water from freezing, check out our article here.

You'll also need to clean out the coop regularly, so make sure the door is large enough for you to access without too much bother and keep a stash of important things inside the coop.

How To Do It:

  • The door to the coop should be big enough for you to enter without any trouble
  • Keep a steel bin inside the coop where you will have easy access to food
  • You can have a separate steel bin to store some of your cleaning tools
  • ​​Don't leave any sharp tools lying out in the open

9) Consider This Shortcut - Using An Old Shed

using an old shed

​Do you have an old shed in your garden that is sitting gathering dust?

Well if you wipe away the dust, you could easily re-purpose it and you wouldn't need to build a coop from scratch.

As long as it's feasible to turn it into a coop it could save you money and time, but it obviously needs to fit in with the guidelines we've talked about so far.

​Don't Forget:

  • You still need to have easy access to the inside of it
  • There must be enough space for your flock to live comfortably
  • You will need to build vents into it if they're not already there
  • It must be predator-proof so your chickens don't get attacked
  • Make sure the wood isn't coated with dangerous chemicals

10) Don't Ignore Aesthetics

looking good chicken coop

If you browse the internet you'll realize some chicken coops look awful, even if they're perfectly suitable for the chickens to live in.

But you have to keep in mind, the coop is going to be sitting on your property and you'll have to look at it every day.

It shouldn't ruin the look of your backyard, but don't worry because there are plenty of ways to make it look more attractive.

​​Making It Look Nice:

  • Use tiles on the roof of your coop
  • Paint it a nice color using non-toxic paint (i.e. use a water based paint, NOT an oil based paint!)
  • Plant flowers around the outside of your coop and run
  • Take advantage of hanging flower baskets
playing with chickens

​11) Have Fun Raising Your Backyard Chickens!

11) Have Fun Raising Your Backyard Chickens

Now you know how to build a better chicken coop than you could ever have imagined, so now all that's left to do is get started. You'll have a huge amount of fun raising your backyard chickens, even if it might sound a little tough to get started.

Visit Ecopeanut.com for more urban sustainability tips!​

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