Designing a chicken coop is very simple–if you can answer these two questions. What are the basic needs of chickens and what do I want my chicken coop to accomplish?

Number one, the basic needs of chickens are very much like the basic needs of any livestock or pet for that matter. Chickens need a hen house that will protect them from all types of predators—flying, climbing, and digging. Predators come in all shapes and sizes and they are looking for a quick meal, be it chicken, eggs or both.

The coop must provide shelter from snow, sleet, rain, wind, cold and excessive heat. Then you need to be concerned about how much space each chickens has–about three square feet is needed.A shortage of space and the more aggressive birds will attack and harass the more docile in the flock–sometimes to the point of death.

Other questions that need to be answered are: “What do you want the coop to do?” That of course refers to the type of habitat you wish to create. Do you want chickens to provide poultry meat? If so you will need to approach the design of the coop from that aspect.

Are the chickens going to be primarily for providing fresh eggs? If that is the case then they are certain other attributes your chicken house will need.

Things like; nesting boxes—a place for the hens to lay their eggs–and those nesting boxes need to be attractive to the birds. If you build nesting boxes the wrong way and the hens refuse to nest there, you windup wasting time, money and effort. Chickens will nest where they feel most comfortable. So you need to provide the conditions that make their choice the one you want.

At the same time you don’t want the nesting areas to be so comfortable and attractive that the birds choose to roost there. You will want to make sure they lay their eggs there, but go elsewhere to sleep.

What are the steps you need to take to protect your costly chicken feed from being raided by sparrows and squirrels? Are you making sure the waterier won’t freeze over in cold weather? Are the birds getting the proper amount of natural light? Is the bedding easy to clean out and replace?

See how it can be a little bit of a balancing act?

The most important step you can take when designing a chicken coop is to use a good set of plans. Quality plans will cover off these and many other areas that need to be addressed.

In conclusion your goal is to create a functional chicken coop that houses and protects your birds and allows them to thrive, but at the same time is easy to maintain with minimal effort. The best place to start? with quality building plans.

For more information about designing a chicken coop visit Jasper White’s website at Chicken Coop Center.Com for generous guidance on the–planning, building, and maintenance of chicken coops.