Raising your own chicks and hens can be huge fun given that you know how to care for them too. If you are not chicken about this pursuit, then having a hen house should be the next most important thing on your mind. After all, those stories about wily foxes, stealthy rats and wicked snakes sneaking into the hen house to steal eggs and gobble up the chooks were not just written to amuse us. When raising hens in your own yard, their security and safety should be your utmost concern. And there comes the need of having a safe retreat for your fowl friend. While buying a chicken coop can almost burn a big hole in your pocket, knowing how to erect one on your own in your yard will not only spell fun but also save you loads of bucks. Agreed, building a chook house can be hard work, more so if you are clueless about the task. But acquainting yourself with the basics of building a hen house should ease your apprehension. Before you get on with your nails and hammer, read the following guidelines on building a hen house and save yourself a lot of unnecessary fretting.
Building A Hen House
- Building a hen house may not sound the easiest of all tasks but is indeed well worth every effort. If you are planning to build a house for your biddy buddy, deciding on the layout in advance will help. Remember, you aren’t building any chicken mansion here. So planning a modest coop to accommodate your hens would be fine. A 6-square-foot-by-4-inch tall walk-in hen house should accommodate nearly 6-8 hens. It’s best to decide on the style and size before taking your task to the next level.
- Once the blueprint is ready, you can move on to find the perfect location for your chicken coop. Choose a location that offers maximum ventilation and light as well as a safe haven for your chicken friends. And yes, remember to put up your chicken house on an elevated platform lest you want your hen house to be one big puddle of misery during a heavy storm or rains.
- Next you will need to roll up the basic building materials to construct your hen house. Wood is indeed the best bet for building a strong sturdy chicken coop. Not only is it easy to work with wood, it is also a material relatively easy to cut and assemble. You can also use scrap lumber, plywood and even an old shed to serve your need. Refrain from using cheap material to build your hen house as it won’t last long and will yield unhappy chicks. Also keep the feeders, wate bowls and straw handy at all times.
- Once you have the design and the materials ready, you can get on with building your hen house. Begin by planting 4-by-4 skids on the ground. Dig out deep holes in the ground and place four posts inside it. This should support your hen house.
- After you have planted the skids, get on with building the floor. Erect the floor frame on top of the skids and then support your structure with beams. You can place the beams 24 inches from the outer edge of the frame. Two beams should be enough to support a modest hen house. After you have placed the support beams in place, nail down ¾th inch plywood on the floor.
- Once your floor is ready, you can start erecting the walls. How tall your walls will be would depend on the blueprint you have prepared. You can use 2x4s (boards) for the wall. Nail the corners of these 2x4s to the floor studs and support it with beams. Keep room for nest boxes, doors, windows or any other features you would like to include. Once your support beams are in place, nail them to your roof supports.
- Next step is building the rooftops. However, before you go around adding a roof to your hen house, have your nest boxes ready. Arrange the nest boxes inside your chicken coop and cover them with waterproof canvas and plywood.
- Take plywood planks and nail them to the wall studs. Lay the roof in a slope and layer it with shingles. Cut out windows and doors. You can install sliding glass windows if you wish to add more light and ventilation to your chicken house. Don’t forget to add a latch to the door to secure your hens from predators and stop them from running away, too.
- Lastly, fence the entire area with chicken wire or other feasible fencing options. Your fence should be at least 4 feet high and 12 inches deep. You can also plant tall grasses or millet around your hen house to keep predators from sneaking in.