Chicken coops can easily be sourced and there are lots of great ones out there for reasonable prices but there is also the option to build your own chicken coop, not only is it interesting and satisfying, it can be relatively simple.  There is also the option to build a chicken hutch which is smaller than the average chicken coop, these are ideal if you are planning on keeping a few chickens and they are also very popular with chickens.  Chicken hutches are ideal for placing in any positions in your garden and easier to move than the more complex shaped chicken coops. The door will need to be a good size in order to allow the chicken’s easy access in and out.  It is always a good idea to raise the chicken hutch off the floor because if it is simply placed on the floor, the wood will become damp and begin to disintegrate. The chickens can easily access the hutch by a small ramp or ladder. The top of your chicken hutch should also be a lift off lid, this allows for easy cleaning and collection of eggs.

When keeping a larger flock of birds, you will need to build a larger chicken coop and there is also no reason why the cost cannot be kept low with some careful planning.  The first priority is deciding the best place for your chicken coop and making sure that the area is cleared and flat.  Measuring how big the chicken coop is going to be is the next step and you need to remember that chickens need at least 2 square feet per bird to be comfortable once they are in the chicken coop. You will then be ready to purchase your timber in relation to your measurements.  It may also be a good idea to sketch out the plan for your chicken coop before you start and it is vital that you include at least one window in your chicken coop. Windows provide ventilation and light and are important. The door also needs to be big enough for the chickens to enter and if it is made too small, the chickens will be reluctant to go into the coop. Nesting boxes also need to be present and there should be 1 nest box per 4 chickens.

If possible try and raise your chicken coop above ground level, this stops the wood from becoming wet and making the chickens coop damp and cold,  especially in the winter months.  Remember also that you will need access to the chicken coop in order to collect eggs and clean them out regularly and so it is important that you decide before construction where you are going to place your door.

ukchickens offer a wide variety of chicken breeds and also offer advice and information on keeping chickens.

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