You may have read up on anything you could find to teach yourself everything you need to know about raising chickens for eggs, meat or fertilizer, but do you have any idea how to get started building a chicken coop? No doubt you know the basics such as you need wood and chicken wire, but if that is all you know you may end up with a chicken coop that is not as sturdy or safe as it could be.
Building materials are an important part of building a chicken coop, but you don’t need to break the bank to build a quality home for your chickens.
Wood is the most important part of a chicken coop because it makes up the frame which makes the coop sturdy. There are many different types of wood available from which you can choose including redwood and oak, which both have a reputation for being solid and durable. It is highly possible to spend too much on the lumber you use to build your chicken coop, but you can also use recycle or repurposed wood as long as it is in good condition. If the wood isn’t warped, splintered or molded it might be a candidate for your chicken coop.
The wood will have to be treated at least a little to protect it against the elements, but if you treat raw wood rather than purchase pre-treated wood, be sure you give it time for the odor to go away before introducing the chickens to their new home.
Mesh wire is essential for any chicken house because it is the best way to keep the chickens contained, ventilated and safe from predators. Don’t make the mistake many newbies make and get large gapped chicken wire because not only will your chickens be able to get out, but other creatures will be able to get in.
We often think of most animals as being incapable of cold, especially those with tons of feathers, but that is far from the truth. You should consider different insulation materials for the walls and ceiling of your chicken coop. This is incredibly important if you live in a place with long harsh winters such as the Midwest or Northeast, where the winters tend to start early and stay a long time.
You can use Styrofoam or commercial insulation materials, but be careful because they each come with their own set of problems. Chickens tend to try to eat Styrofoam but loose insulation draws the rodents.
To keep the floors warm in cold weather you can use wood shavings or hay. Many chicken coop designers opt for hay or straw because they also use it for the nesting boxes, but the choice is yours. Straw flooring keeps moisture so it has to be cleaned more often and checked for moisture frequently particularly during wet and humid seasons.
Wood shavings may be a better option but there are a few things to consider for the safety of your chickens. Some wood shavings contain toxins including glue and other chemicals that can affect the health of your chickens. But you need larger shavings because fine shavings or sawdust will lead to respiratory problems for your chickens.