Keeping Chicken – The Do-It-Yourself Chicken House
Building chicken houses from prefab is a good idea to many. For one thing, it will definitely
save time. For others though, the cheaper route is better as every cost incurred when raising chicken will always
add to the cost of every head of chicken produced. Besides, there is really a definite satisfaction when you build
and design your own chicken house. If the do-it-yourself chicken house is the route for you, the following will be
The Layout - The key point is that chicken houses are places of shelter. As chicken are creatures of habit, the
chicken coop must be a permanent safe retreat for chickens where they can roost, nest, feed, and stay healthy
safely. A chicken coop will also need a chicken run. Chicken runs are the area outside of the coop where the
chicken could roam about, forage for additional nutrition, play, and have dirt baths. The chicken run will depend
much on the available space or local regulations. Generally, rural area regulations are relaxed followed by urban
areas with strong farming backgrounds. Whether the dirt run is free range, confined, or fenced will vary on the
type of predators that are in the area.
The Design - Typically, a chicken will need about four square feet of space and three hens could share a nest.
Each hen will also need a perch about 9" long. The design should also include a hatchway, storage area,
ventilation, lighting and a feeder system. For a cleaner and healthier environment, design the floor to accommodate
deep litter. This is normally done by piling three to four inches of wood shavings under the floor. Most people
will design or make allowances for a feeder and water container and supply system, often though it is convenient to
purchase the system in a local farm supply store.
The Materials - You will need 4x4 wood for corner posts/studs and skids
• For boundary and floor joist, framing for walls and roofs you need 4x2's.
• 2x3 will be needed for perch support and perch and a 2x2 for the nesting perch.
• Plywood will be needed in building wall cladding, flooring, cladding battens, doorstops, parts of nest boxes,
roofing and litter boards, and tarpaper for under roofing.
• Feeder system
Tips for Building the Chicken House
Chickens have virtually no defense against predators. Due to this, the do-it-yourself chicken house must be
built in such a way that even when there are boards or planks for flooring, it will still be wise to add chicken
wires under the floor to discourage rodents from entering the coop as they could easily chew through the wood.
Possible weak points and entry points should be wrapped with chicken wire as well.
The perimeter fence of the chicken run must be constructed in a manner that the fence goes deep into the ground
(about 10") to discourage predators from digging. The height of the fence must be about five feet in height to
prevent foxes from jumping over.