Small Chicken Coop Plans
Congratulations! You’ve decided to purchase your first flock of chickens. You probably can already taste those fresh eggs, and you’re excited to meet your new little friends. Before you get too excited, you need to have a place for your birds to live. A small chicken house is the ideal choice to keep your fowl safe. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right small hen house. While you can purchase coops already made, it’s often better to build your own and ensure you get exactly what you want.
Reasons Why You Need a Small Chicken Coop
Before you think about small chicken coop ideas, you should understand why you need a coop. Many owners like to let their chickens free range so they can get rid of bugs and hunt for their own food. While this may be the dream, it’s not always practical. Sometimes a small backyard chicken coop is the best option for your new birds.
A chicken house will keep your birds safe from predators. Even if you live in town, you can face situations which wouldn’t be safe for your fowl. Some cities allow chickens, but it’s expected that they will stay on your property. Unless you have a fenced-in yard, they may roam farther than you would like. Even a fence isn’t always a deterrent for an ambitious chicken which can fly over it to see if the grass is greener on the other side.
Chickens that venture outside of your yard can get hit by cars or attacked by dogs. If you live in the country, you have to worry about foxes and coyotes. And of course, there’s always the hawk who is circling around looking for food.
Another reason to keep your birds contained in their own coop is so you can find the eggs. If left to roam, hens will often find the most secret, out-of-the-way places to lay. You will lose out on the benefit of owning chickens if you can’t find their nests. And if you happen to have a rooster with them, you could end up with a whole new flock that you didn’t plan on when the eggs hatch.
These are just a few of the reasons why you want to consider buying or building a chicken coop for your new flock. Coops are a practical way to keep track of your birds with less work.
What to Consider When Shopping for Small Chicken Coop Plans
When shopping for chicken coop kits for your small flock, you’ll want to consider your options. Compare the different kits to find the one that best suits your preferences and meets your chickens’ needs. The right coop is one of the most important decisions to make regarding your flock.
First, you’ll want to choose a kit that lets you build a coop for the number of birds you’re buying. Small chicken coops are ideal for the beginner who will only have 4 or 5 chickens. They are compact enough to fit in even the smallest back yard while providing ample space for a few hens. The exact number will depend on the size of the breed. Smaller breeds will take up less space, allowing up to 6 or 7 chickens.
The coop should include a built-in run for your chickens. This allows them to have access to fresh air and sunshine without letting them roam free. You can even open it up so they can go out under supervision.
Your coop should come with plenty of nest boxes to give your hens a nice place to lay. While the recommended rule for nest boxes is one per three birds, it’s nice to have plenty of space even in a small coop. Plans like Eggshire Farm have three nesting boxes in a coop designed for up to four chickens.
Whatever coop design you choose, it should include perches for your birds for sleeping. Chickens don’t like to be on the ground, so a perch for your fowl is a nice convenience. Many of these small coop plans include a house on top of the run. It takes up less space if you don’t have a big back yard. You would need to build a ladder to make it easy for your chickens to go to roost at night.
Your coop should also have a door by the nests where you can easily grab the eggs without disturbing the ladies. It’s ideal if the nests are removable because it makes them easier to clean. There may be other windows or just air vents, but these small spaces need ventilation so the air can circulate, which also helps ensure you have healthy birds.
You may want to select a coop design with a slanted roof, which helps keep snow and rain off of the house. Just like with your home, slanted roofs prevent standing water which can cause other issues. The design of the coop will help it last for many years for long-term use.
Once you have narrowed down your choices for coops that offer the features you consider most important, you can make your final decision based on the beauty of the coop. Keep in mind that you decide paint color and other decorative elements. However, some coops will come with a planter box which enhances the design. Others may feature more trim, which allows you to use a contrasting or complimentary color.
Other Considerations in Caring for Your Flock
When preparing for your flock, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready for them before they arrive. You’ll want to choose a waterer and feeder with enough room for everyone. It should fit nicely in the coop you select without taking up too much space. Some of these products even hang on the side of the run so the chickens still have plenty of ground space.
You will want to put clean straw in the nest boxes to give your hens a soft place to lay. Wood shavings may be added to the floor, which can easily be swept out when you need to clean the coop. You will need to access the coop and the run where you place the food and water so you can keep it filled.
Don’t forget to place your coop where the chickens can enjoy both sun and shade. Some designs allow the house to provide shade over the run to keep them cool in hot weather. At the same time, you want to ensure your birds can enjoy some sunshine. These small chicken coops are easy to move around, which allows your birds to have fresh grass and be on the hunt for tasty insects. It also prevents the grass from dying out, leaving a bare spot later on.
Small chicken coops are an ideal option if you have six or fewer birds. Choose a kit and build your own so you can create the perfect house which suits your needs and meets your personal style preference. These kits are easy to follow with materials listed so you know what you need before you get started. In just one or two weekends, you can have a home ready for your new chickens and be prepared to welcome them into your family.