Let’s say you are more of a do-it-yourself-er, and you think store-bought coops are all well and good, but you want to craft the perfect coop from scratch with your own two hands. I applaud your decision, and I want you to be aware of a few considerations your coop will need to account for.
Things your coop can’t go without:
The size of your coop will depend on how many chickens you want and whether you actually have space for a larger-sized coop. Now, bantam chickens don’t need as much space as standard or giant breeds and thus work better if you don’t have a lot of space for a coop. Bantams have a minimum space requirement of 2 square feet per bird in the coop and 4 square feet per bird in the run. Standard birds require a minimum of 4 square feet per bird in the coop and 8 square feet per bird in the run. Giant chicken breeds require a minimum of 6 square feet per bird in the coop and at least 10 square feet per bird in the run to stay happy and healthy. If you can go bigger, I would definitely recommend it.
If there are predators in your area, such as your old, faithful but curmudgeonly dog Hank, you will need to make sure your coop is strong enough to keep them out. Chicken wire is usually not ideal on its own to protect your flock, so consider something like wire mesh to make your coop’s defense stronger.
A draft-free, but well-ventilated coop is vital for chicken health. Ventilation holes allow warm, stale air to escape. This prevents the coop from becoming overly hot in summer and limits condensation inside the coop in winter. Condensation is the main cause of cold, sick chickens in winter, so make sure your coop is well ventilated and there are no drafts.
A coop should protect your chickens from the elements. It should be sufficiently insulated to keep your flock warm in winter and cool in summer. The coop should also be draft-free to give your chickens a break from harsh weather conditions.
It is very important to have a coop that is easy to keep clean. I’d like to say this again. Make your coop easy to clean. Nobody wants to struggle for hours just to have a coop that doesn’t stink up the whole property.
Besides the actual coop, your chickens also need a few things inside both the coop and run to keep them comfortable. These include perches, nesting boxes, feeders, drinkers, and dust baths. Each of these can easily be found online and added into your current coop with ease.
If you’re ready to start building your own coop, here are my top recommendations for finding detailed coop plans: