Building a Hen House

Written by michael duty
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There are a number of different styles and sizes of hen houses you can build. They vary from so-called "chicken mansions" to small hen houses that only house a few hens and that you reach into as opposed to walking in. Buildieazy.com features a 6-square-foot-by- 74-inch tall, walk-in hen house that can comfortably house eight hens. Decide on which size and style of hen house you want and find level, firm ground to start on. When it comes to deciding on size, demesne. info and buildeazy.com each recommend between 4 and 4 1/2 feet of space per chicken. When you have the right place to build, along with the style and size of hen house you want, set some elevation to keep the hen house floor from sitting directly on the ground. The modest-sized hen house at buildeazy.com, for example, started by placing two 72-inch long, 4-by-4 skids on the ground 6 feet apart and then attaching the floor frame to the skids. For a smaller, reach-in hen house, like the one at pratie.blogspot.com, some people dig holes and place four posts in the ground that elevate the hen house a few feet off the ground.

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The Floor

Once you know how big your hen house is going to be, start by building the floor frame out of 2x4s. Build the floor frame on top of your skids or posts. Once you have the square shape, place support beams evenly spaced throughout the floor. The one at buildeazy.com calls for two support beams placed 24 inches from the outer part of the frame. Most hen houses will only require two support beams. Once the support beams are in place, nail down 3/4-inch plywood for the floor. Make sure all joins meet over a stud (support beam).

Framing Up the Walls

How tall your walls are will depend on the size of the hen house you wish to build. Cut 2x4s to length for the wall studs. Nail the corner boards in place. Some plans may call for a floor plate to nail the wall studs into place. Other plans may have you nail directly into the floor. Once your corner studs are in place, nail support beams evenly spaced onto floor. Be sure to nail into the floor studs. Also, follow your plan for stud placement. Make places for doors, windows, nest boxes or any other features you wish to add. After you have all of your support beams in place, nail on your roof supports.

Placing the Nest Boxes

Build your nest boxes and put them into place before you start putting up your walls and rooftop. Also, put waterproofing (canvas) around the nest boxes before covering them with plywood.

Finish the Job

Nail plywood to the wall studs, put the roof on and cover with shingles. Cut openings for windows hatchways and access areas into the hen house. Paint the walls.

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