So you think you want to start raising chickens? If you were like me, you wanted to make sure your food source for meat and eggs would be clean, organic and fresh. Having chickens in your backyard insures you get all of this plus the health benefits these birds can bring. However, my experience has been that if you jump the gun and get the chickens first, you may be in for a surprise. I ended up building a new coop after buying my first one because I didn’t properly estimate how much room they needed. So, with this in mind, I would suggest you check out chicken coops plans first as well as the variety of coops you can purchase before you start the entire chicken raising process. Be sure you are ready to make the commitment and investment to raise healthy and happy chickens.
While I chose chickens for both eggs and meat, you might want to raise the birds as pets or just for the meat or eggs. You will need to decide what you intend on using your flock for? Believe it or not, this will make a difference when deciding the type of chicken coop you intend on building or purchasing. If you are going to raise laying hens then you will need nesting boxes. These aren’t necessary if you are raising birds for meat or just as pets. You want to be as prepared as possible before you start buying materials, or buying chicks.
Since most areas have regulations on what you can build or put in your location or backyard you will want to first check with your building or codes department to make sure you can legally build or place the structure you are intending to. It is also important to make sure you can legally raise livestock where you live, as many areas have strict regulations on this. You want to be sure you are within the legal confines of your neighborhood before you purchase chickens, and before you install your chicken coop.
Again, I can’t stress this enough that you must decide on the size of your flock before you can decide the size coop you plan on building or purchasing. Take note; if you are raising chicks for egg production, you will likely need a bigger coop then if you plan on having a smaller flock to keep as pets. If you plan on raising birds for meat the coop can be smaller but you will need a good sized run. If you plan on pasturing your chickens, you will not need as big a coop then if they were going to live in the dwelling and run full time.
Location is also another important consideration of chicken coop plans. You want to be sure your coop gets plenty of sunshine, but you also do not want your nesting boxes to be in direct sunlight, as chickens do not like to lay eggs in this type of environment. To avoid a predator problem, keep your coop out of direct wind, so no predatory creatures get a whiff of your chickens and decide to make an unwanted visit.
Whether you build your own coop, or decide to buy a pre-manufactured dwelling for your flock you have a lot of great options. Use whatever material you have handy, even if it is secondhand. Make a list of the necessary materials and make sure you have everything handy BEFORE you start building to avoid unnecessary interruptions when you have to pick up more supplies. Pre-fabricated coops come in a variety of sizes and at many different price points, so you will not have a difficult time finding one that suits your needs.
If appropriate, let your children help. If they are old enough, get them interested in helping you build or assemble the coop. This is a great way to teach them about livestock, and about the responsibility of owning and taking care of animals. Once the chickens are in their new habitat, let your children help feed them and collect their eggs each day. At our house we have made it quit a game to get out and gather the eggs. Raising chicks is a great learning opportunity your entire family can take advantage of as long as you do it with the end in mind.
Make sure you get the best chicken coops plans before you start raising flocks of chickens in your backyard.