I never thought I would be designing a Chicken Coop, but when my daughter’s daycare decided they were going to get chickens, I couldn’t resist the challenge. Now I don’t know the first thing about chickens, but after some inspiration photos, research, and creative thinking, I came up with a pretty cool design (if I do say so myself). Below is the draft of my design and some things to keep in mind if you plan on housing chickens some day.
Why have chickens?
Although not allowed in some residential areas, chickens are becoming more and more popular to have, even in city locations. On average, one chicken can produce between 3-7 eggs per week, and they require very little (food, water, and shelter). According to CityGirlFarming.com, chickens also provide a natural fertilizer for your garden and they eat the bugs that tend to eat your garden. Chickens also stay small, have fun personalities, and are typically very gentle, making them the perfect family addition if you have kids. (Check out this article for more reasons to have chickens.)
Chickens have Needs
Each chicken needs 3-4 sq ft of living space inside the coop and 3-4 sq ft outside the coop. Inside the coop, chickens need individual private areas to nest and a raised place to roost. The chicken run is important because it allows the chickens to get fresh air and daylight, which both help with egg production. In the chicken run it is also important to provide a shaded area so the chickens can escape the sun on a warm day. Chickens also have lots of natural predators that would love to have a free meal (many of which can dig), so make sure your coop has a solid floor or a deep foundation to prevent digging under.
Humans also have Needs
Beyond the chickens’ needs, you have to think of your own needs as well. In caring for chickens, you need a chicken coop that is easy to clean and easy to collect eggs from. Depending on where your coop is located, you probably don’t want your coop to be an eyesore, so take some time to pick out a style that you won’t mind looking at. Lastly, money doesn’t come free for us humans, so make sure to keep a realistic budget.
The coop I am designing is intended to house up to 4 chickens, although it will only house 3 chickens for now (Mary, Nate, Ed …….get it?). Since the coop is being designed for a daycare, I wanted to make it fun and safe for the children. The coop should cost less than $200 to build (mostly wood and chicken wire), and most of the materials will hopefully come through donations from other parents. The coop itself will have a 4’x4′ footprint, and the chicken run will be 4’x8′ for a total footprint of 12’x4′. The run will have a gate at the end, and the coop will have double doors on the backside for easy cleaning and feeding. To make the coop fun, steps and a window will be built on one side of the coop so the children can step up and take a look inside. Four nests will reside directly under the large step, and the top of the step will lift up for easy egg collection. To keep the coop dry inside (from ground moisture), it will be lifted off the ground a few inches and placed on some floating 2x4s.
Construction should be underway soon, so make sure you check back later to see the final result!
Follow up: The chicken coop is done! Check out Building a Chicken Coop to see the finished product.